Part of history

If you have the good fortune of owning a fine old home with history and character, you might wonder whether you should renovate, remodel, or restore. Each has its benefits and its issues.

 If you decide to remodel, it usually means you’re planning a look or a particular purpose in one part of the house. You might be changing a bedroom into a library, for instance, or opening up the kitchen for more space and light.

 If you’re thinking about renovating, this is generally a bigger project that changes and modernizes one or more rooms or the exterior of your house. It might also mean a new addition. Your renovation could involve the whole house or just some of its rooms such as a bathroom or kitchen.

But if your house is rich in history, you might be thinking about a heritage restoration. You might be updating the house systems to modern times behind the walls, but in the part everyone sees, you’re restoring the house to its former style and glory. You’ll literally be peeling back the years and bringing another era into the light. It can be incredibly beautiful, but it can also be costly.

 If you’re restoring an old house, the first and most important thing you’ll want to do is to find a specialist in restoration, and ideally one who carries the RenoMark™ logo. It should be someone who has a passion for restoration as well as intricate knowledge about old buildings. It’s not something you should tackle yourself or to give to someone who doesn’t understand the delicate work of heritage restoration.

Your heritage specialist will know what to do if your home has already been designated as a heritage building ‒ what you can do and what you can’t, what needs to be approved, and so on.

You will probably learn the virtue of patience in this exercise, because it can take time to locate authentic materials and specialized craftsmen. It can also take more time to complete the detailed carpentry, stonemasonry and other specialized trade’s work that will be needed. You might also need to do things in stages, as budget allows. Heritage restorations are almost always significantly more expensive than “regular” renovations.

Your old home may need structural, electrical and mechanical work first, before any of the “pretty” restoration begins. This, too, will take patience, because it’s work that is often hidden.

It may take time, but your heritage home is a piece of history, and you are part of that, of its ongoing history and the stories it could tell.

You really can’t put a price on that.


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