Past and Present: Remodeling Your Historic Home

There’s a special charm to living in an historic home, a connection to the past and the joy of architectural details that are far less common today. Embracing a historic home helps to preserve a community’s character and save the original design approach for future generations to appreciate. At the same time, historic homes can be challenging for modern lifestyles. Smaller, darker rooms, narrow doorways and stairways, and dated kitchens and bathrooms can make even the most beautiful home feel uncomfortable for family life and entertaining.

Here are some considerations when it’s time to remodel your historic home:

Check the paperwork. If you’re living in a historic district, strict guidelines typically dictate the type and extent of remodeling you can contract for. Before consulting with a remodeling contractor, it’s a good idea to get the application and evaluation process underway with your district. This home on San Diego’s historic registry was originally built in 1928 in a neighborhood of homes designed by architects of the time in an “Eclectic Mediterranean” style inspired by Old Hollywood. 

Choose what to keep and what to change. If you’ve already made the decision to buy a historic home, you probably agree that it’s important not to fully strip any home of its history during a remodel. So, what stays and what goes? Spend some time living in your home before embarking on a major remodel and pay attention to which elements you truly love and which elements make daily life more difficult. Get to know the history of your home and the period it was built in to gain a deeper understanding of your surroundings. Start thinking about what can be preserved, what can be restored, and what needs to be removed and added. In this Mid-Century home, the clients loved the original front door designed by the architect and decided to keep it intact with some loving restoration.

Work with experts in remodeling historical homes. It’s a common understanding when remodeling historic homes that surprises will arise – it’s part of the unique process of renovating a home built many decades ago. And the approach to updating a historic home for today’s living requires a high level of knowledge and skill to also align with regulations and respect the character of the original design. That’s why it’s so important to work with architects and designers who are experienced in historic home remodels. 

Building new memories in a home that has stood on its site for decades is an honor and a unique experience. Our expert team of architects, designers and construction professionals can guide you every step of the way to bring your living space into today’s expectations while retaining the beautiful characteristics you treasure.