Post by Stacey Walker. Stacey mostly works behind the scenes for Walker Woodworking, managing day to day operations, and marketing. Stacey has helped many clients create their dream space.

How to Redesign an Old Home

We love old homes, we love the history held inside and the unique beauty each possesses. Preserving these dwellings is something we enjoy having a part in because it is a chance to protect the past while making a few modifications that make it more convenient for today’s owners. There are many things that should be taken into consideration with such a special project including being aware of any regulations that could apply to the property, knowing what you want the end goal to be, and are there materials that can be incorporated into the new design. Updating the past into the present takes a little extra love but the payout is well worth it. Playing a part in taking something old and transforming it into something new is a wonderful accomplishment and one that can result in a project like no other. Knowing where to begin can be a challenge and what areas should be updated is also important. Let’s talk about how to go about bridging the gap between then and now.

Understand your goal

Planning is everything when it comes to doing a project as it will guide everything from the budget to the design choices. A good plan begins with understanding what you want to accomplish with your historic renovation. 

  • Are you wanting to preserve as much history as possible? 
  • Are there certain areas in need of a serious upgrade? 
  • Do you want the layout to remain the same? 
  • Is this a permanent home or vacation? 
  • What things will you need this space to accomplish such as working from home? 
  • Will there be small children or pets? 

These are important questions because they provide the necessary information to form a good plan. If you want to preserve the history of the home, look for items that can be reused or recycled such as old floor boards, windows, and even things like the sink. Designers can often find a way to incorporate these items into the new design. If you want to preserve the original layout of the home be sure to tell your designer as they can follow it while making improvements to the space such as creative storage and a few modern conveniences. If you work from home your space will need to meet certain requirements such as a good internet connection and the ability to handle multiple electronics such as computers and a printer meaning you might need to upgrade the electrical wiring. If you still have small children or even pets, both can be a little hard on their surroundings which might require some creative thinking when it comes to protecting older items on the property and making it safe for everyone. Bringing an old home up-to-date means taking a little extra time to think through and understand the ultimate goal you want to achieve but this will help you form a great plan with stunning results.

Take a closer look

Have you heard that old makes new again? Old homes have many valuable materials and products that can be turned into something amazing. As we mentioned, some of it includes:

  • Old wood
  • Window panes
  • Furniture pieces
  • Bricks
  • Sinks

The popular term would be “repurposed” which can be defined as “adapt for a different purpose” which is something many designers are familiar and even excel at. There are so many ways you can do this with an older home. Old window panes that are no longer up to code can be turned into works of art or even a vintage dry erase board for the home office or kitchen. Reclaimed wood is one of the more popular ways to repurpose an old home’s materials and offers a wide variety of options. Old wood beams can be incorporated into your kitchen island design by laying the planks around it making it a gorgeous statement piece for guests to enjoy. If there is a sufficient supply you can use it to build something else, perhaps some kitchen cabinets like one of our clients did in their farmhouse rehabilitation. Old bricks make wonderful pavers for an outdoor walkway, maybe letting the kids paint them or even build a firepit for the family to enjoy on Summer nights. Some people even use them to build the outdoor steps for the home which is a beautiful way to merge old and new together. Did your home come with an amazing old sink that has its own unique character that would give such a nice touch to your new kitchen? As long as it is not rusted or has any chips you should be able to clean it up and reuse it. Giving those old items a second life is not only eco-friendly but a way to weave the past with the present in an elegant way.

Weaving it all together

Sometimes the greatest challenge can be weaving it all together into a design that is functional and stylish. Going back to your plan, know what items have to be replaced and select options that will work well with what already exists in the space. If you decide to keep the old wood floors in your home opt for furniture that won’t scratch or harm it. You can also pick vintage pieces found at antique stores or maybe you have a few original ones that can be repurposed or reupholstered to function beautifully in this space. With an older style home designers tend to recommend a more neutral color palette as it works well with the look and feel of the architecture. Weaving authentic pieces into the kitchen or living room can be just what is needed to bring it to life again. Built-ins and farm sinks often make great choices. When upgrading the cabinets consider an older style hardware such as glass or simple metal design. This gives you the functional storage you need but with a touch of charm. Incorporate some old decor pieces like vintage books on the shelf, artwork you discover at an antique shop, or even some classic dishes that can be showcased in a glass hutch. Weaving it all together can be a fun and inspiring part of the design so make sure to think outside the box and enjoy yourself.

The past and the present

Breathing new life into something that may have once been considered a thing of the past is something to be proud of and when you transform an old house into a functional one this is nothing short of amazing. Just because a house is old doesn’t mean it has to be boring or be tossed aside to make way for the new. Taking the time to look a little closer can allow you to see the potential hidden just inside and make way for the creation of a home that is perfect for you. Our dedicated team has helped many clients take an old and even historic house at times and design a new home that is filled with the charm and character of the past pairing it with a few modern conveniences that resulted in a one-of-a-kind homes where their family could make new memories of their own. Connect with us and let’s get started on making some history together.