Redoing classic homes affordable, fun

By Stephan Sardone

Lately, while always happy to build new additions or improve outdoor entertainment areas, we have been asked to consider renovations of older properties. Some classic homes require major work, but others can be impacted positively with a few cosmetic changes.

There are quite a few things to consider, and they don’t all have to be done at once, but many of these modifications aren’t expensive and will add enjoyment and value to your home. Some of these projects you may even want to take on yourself.

As always, you want to consider the help of a fully trained, licensed contractor or specialist, especially when encountering two of the biggest renovation projects as highlighted below.  

Electrical wiring. It just makes sense these days when looking at upgrading an older home that you closely examine all electrical wiring. It can become aged or damaged and cause serious issues. This is where using a professional is best suited.

Also, these days you will want to make sure that you have accessibility to all of the modern communication options that are available. You can maintain the integrity of your older property but still add modern conveniences.

A flat screen television mounted on a wall or above a mantel or a set of quality surround sound speakers recessed will enhance your entertainment experience without detracting from style. But you will want to make sure that all wiring is ready to support the latest technology.     

That goes for improving air conditioning, kitchen appliances, water heaters or adding ceiling fans. Make sure that you have the right power sources to maximize your experience and not cause undue strain on older electrical units.

Modernizing the bathroom. This may be the single biggest project that is on the minds of homeowners who acquire older properties. There is something rather cozy about a bathroom that may have been stylized in the 1940s or 1950s, but after decades of use have probably become worn. Consider changes that modernize yet maintain the integrity of the original plan.

Replace the commode. New ones are sleek and will save you water, but not look out of place if trying to keep some of the old school charm.

Reconsider all fixtures, from towel racks to hinges to drawer knobs to faucets. These days, fixture upgrades look more retro than the originals. Depending on your taste, brass or stainless steel (or brushed silver) upgrades never go out of fashion and can blend in with some of the original features.     

Keeping the original tile in your bathroom maintains its charm and lowers the redo costs.
Photo courtesy of Evan Sklar/”This Old House”

Keep the tile, or at least replace/repair it to look in keeping with the original. This could mean simply replacing tile grout. Moisture and the aforementioned wear and tear can take a toll on bathrooms, especially ones used by children, guests and those not adjacent to the master bedroom.

Paint the room a neutral color. This not only improves the look of the bathroom, but helps fend off elements that can age the room. Wallpaper could be a nice addition as well, setting the mood for whatever genre you want the bathroom to reflect.

The bottom line is you want to keep that classic design and style, but still benefit from the modern conveniences now afforded us. It can be done, and now it is affordable.