By Candis Meredith
Renovating old houses is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life (besides marrying Andy and raising our kids together). I’ve learned a few things along the way that have helped me become a better general contractor and manager, and I’ve found that there are a few renovation details that always make our projects better. These are the kinds of things that impress buyers and result in a more beautiful and functional house.
New Windows Are Almost Always Worth It
If you’re renovating a newer house, it will probably have double-paned windows with caulking and insulation around them to help keep the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Older houses don’t have those details, and some restoration experts will tell you to keep the windows as is. I’m not one of them. Your buyers are going to be more interested in having an attractive, energy-efficient house than in having historically accurate windows.
Install Insulation Wherever You Can
Along those same lines, a lot of old homes have little to no insulation, and that can wreak havoc on energy bills. It’s not always possible to install insulation when renovating an old home, but if you can, it can really improve the property’s market value. It’ll always impress the buyer when you tell them that they can live in this gorgeous, historic home without spending a fortune to heat and cool it every year.
Updated Bathroom Fixtures
Speaking of things that’ll make your buyer happy, as interesting as old bathrooms are, no one actually wants one in their house. Your buyers don’t have servants heating and hauling water for them, and they don’t want to waste a lot of water every time they flush the toilet. They want modern amenities in their bathrooms such as low-flow toilets, large tubs, and waterfall showerheads. The more you make the bathroom a luxurious place to bathe and get ready for work in the morning, the more your buyers are going to fall in love with the house.
Real Tile, Wood, or Stone Flooring
While laminate and porcelain have come a long way, if you’re installing new flooring material in an old house, don’t go with a look-alike such as faux stone porcelain tiles in the bathroom or linoleum or laminate flooring in the kitchen and the rest of the house. Spending a little bit of extra cash on higher quality materials will always pay off with your flooring in a historic restoration.
Choose Appliances That Work with Your Home’s Style
Finally, if you’re renovating a nineteenth century house, do you think that a white refrigerator is going to look appropriate in the kitchen? Depending on the style of your renovation, you may want to go with flat black or polished stainless steel appliances, or perhaps appliances with facades that look like your cabinets and drawers. The key here is to choose appliances that work with the style of the house instead of trying to jam in just anything for your updates.
Whenever you renovate an old home, you should always think of its style first. You won’t be doing a museum-grade restoration, but if you pay attention to the details that matter most and you work with the home’s design instead of against it, you’ll have a much easier time creating the best renovations possible.