Top 5 Things To Consider When Modernizing A Historic House

Historic House

Bringing a historic house back to life in the modern age is a joy, keeping it standing for generations to come. But renovating older buildings isn’t always a straightforward proposition, with many elements that aren’t an issue in recent builds. Aging and damaged structures, outdated materials, and extensive replacement needs crop up unexpectedly, while the character of the house demands showcasing.


There are so many unpredictable variables the older a building gets, so it’s essential to factor unforeseen issues into the budget. Timbers joists hidden away in the walls may be quietly rotting, only to be found when the work is well underway. Or pulling up old lino may reveal a beautiful parquet floor in the kitchen. Deciding to restore it or not may come down to the cost if there’s no wiggle room in the budget.


At some point in their lives, most older houses have been modernized with electrical wiring, but many electrics are now outdated and not fit for purpose. Completely rewiring is costly and time-consuming but worthwhile when fixing existing wires is needed frequently. Replacing the wiring will make appliances run efficiently and reduce the fire risk. As well as replacing the wiring within the structure of the building, upgrade the circuit breaker system with an affordable federal pacific breaker.

Removal Of Materials

Older houses often contain materials that are now known to be unsafe and must be dealt with by professionals. If the old paint is in good condition, without chips and flakes, applying a fresh coat of modern paint yourself is okay. Where it’s in poor condition or requiring removal, call in professionals to ensure all traces of lead paint are safely removed. Similarly, if there are any traces of asbestos, it needs to be dealt with by a licensed removal company.


Modernizing houses includes making them more environmentally friendly and efficient. Updating the windows is essential for this, but it must be done sensitively in old houses to keep the look consistent. Existing sash windows may only need new putty or reproduction wood framed windows with double glazing. Working with a glazier specializing in old buildings is the best way to ensure the best result.

Original Features

Bringing an old building into the twenty-first century doesn’t mean wiping out its past, but being sympathetic to it. Retaining original features and incorporating them into an updated décor scheme showcases the home’s character. Try not to be tempted into replacing features with modern reproductions, either, as the freshness of the replacements won’t match the historic beauty of the originals.

Modernizing and restoring a historic home isn’t for the faint-hearted or those who prefer a wholly modern-looking home. But for those who have the time and funds to take on such a project, it’s gratifying to take an aging rundown building and bring it back to a condition, so it’ll last many more years. And not just last many more years, but be a comfortable and current home.


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Franck Wang
Franck Wang

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