Our design philosophy is to preserve the characteristics of an existing home by highlighting the charm of the past while integrating modern enhancements that complement today’s lifestyle.


Challenges to Renovating a Historic Home

When you choose to renovate a historic home, it’s important to be aware of the difficulties that come with living in a renovation zone. Staying mindful of the challenges and preparing yourself ahead of time can prevent renovation stress or even renovation failure.

For instance, there is no “rule” for how to adapt old homes to meet today’s building code standards. It’s often possible to do so without damaging the historic value but this does require extra effort during the planning stages. If renovation plans are not made carefully, they might exclude any consideration of historic style, or the home could even be damaged beyond repair.

Another renovation challenge is making your renovations blend seamlessly into others completed on neighboring properties or finding ones matching the era and architectural style of your own house. In renovation, you often must work with what you’re given, but some renovation experts recommend partnering with a renovation specialist or working from a historic renovation manual that tells you what kind of renovation your house is likely to need.

Finally, renovation-related stress can be exacerbated by permitting difficulties and even by neighbors who feel threatened by a long-neglected house being brought back to life. These hurdles might seem insurmountable at times but it’s important not to give up. Renovations are a marathon – not a sprint. In the end, all those renovations will come together as the best updates for your home.

An old house is a renovation project waiting to happen, but not every renovation has the luxury of time on its side. Here are five renovation challenges that can plague folks who want to add some modern conveniences and comforts to homes with historic elements:

Old houses were built by hand [and sometimes carried on past eras]

The brick and mortar of New England’s historic homes was laid by human hands, many years ago. While we appreciate the craftsmanship and attention to detail, renovation projects today require workers who know how to deal with mechanical advances such as wiring, plumbing and heating systems. Without re-wiring or replumbing an entire home (which may not even be possible), renovation can get expensive when more labor is required.

Old houses were built for their time [and that means they don’t always meet renovation needs]

Cape Cod homes may have simply been designed to keep out the bitter New England winter, but renovation projects in historic homes require a little more knowledge about the house’s original function. If you’re adding a master bathroom to your home with an indoor bathroom from another century, it might take some research to get things right. Renovating a historic home requires constant study of its architectural history and renovation goals. It can be difficult for renovation novices, so consulting a renovation professional is a great idea.

Renovating historic homes presents unique challenges, but the end result is often well worth renovation efforts. If you want your home renovation project done right (and with peace of mind), using an experienced renovation professional like Hill Harbor can make renovation success more likely for your historic home.

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