Buying an older home has its benefits and drawbacks. Many people prefer older homes because they're unique and not as cookie cutter as many of the homes built in recent years. Still, homeowners love the character that older homes offer. Character is defined as unique architectural features and styles that make a home stand out from others, says Real Estate Agent. These features are often sought after, so when planning a renovation of these homes, you have to have a plan.
Dave and Jenny Marrs from HGTV's "Fixer to Fabulous" have the process of restoring old homes down to a science. In their series, they take old homes and transform them into contemporary spaces while still keeping the architectural features that drew the homeowners to the house in the first place. Over many renovations, the couple has formed a strategy to renovate and not lose character, which they recently shared on a Better Homes & Gardens podcast.
For many homeowners, the home's style is the first thing that makes them love the home. So, of course, losing that style would be unfortunate. But Dave and Jenny Marrs warn about buying a home without considering the architectural style. Dave says making an older home ultra modern is incredibly difficult. If your goal is to have an ultra-modern home, the couple suggests purchasing that style of home. Buying a classic home and wanting to change everything about it is a dealbreaker for the couple to work on the home.
Instead, embrace the character that your home has and consider restoring some of those features rather than getting rid of them. For example, Italianate homes are often identified by their ornate windows, doorways, cornices, and porches, according to Curtis Park. Don't remove these details for a more modern facade or interior. Instead, make them a featured part of the design. You can paint them in a more modern color scheme to fit your style. But if the goal is to have a modern home, the Marrs' say to seek that out before buying.
You've bought a home with character, and now you want to update the space with a renovation. Before swinging any hammers, Dave and Jenny Marrs suggest making a list of what you want to keep in the home. The couple says that bathrooms and kitchens often date the house; this is a good place to start with finding character pieces to keep. But don't sacrifice function for historic charm. The couple tends to update these places to make the spaces work better for the homeowners. But that doesn't mean you have to create a super modern space. Consider adding charm even with newer materials.
Living rooms and dining rooms may also have some original architecture worth investing in. Look for details like original woodwork, including crown molding and built-ins; original hardware and flooring are all common features that homeowners tend to want to preserve during a remodel, says CRD Design Build. You should also see which of these features is in good enough condition to be kept. Listing what items are a must-keep and what is a nice-to-keep can help you make decisions on what to restore and what you can replace.