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Worst house but in the best street!

So you have bought a real charmer! The worst house but in a great location. I guess the real question is do you knock it down and start again or renovate it and keep some of the charming heritage features.

Key Questions to ask

1. Floor plan – is the floor plan easily adjusted to suit your needs.Older homes may be beautiful, but they aren’t designed for modern living. The floor plan of a Victorian house can seem cluttered and convoluted. Instead of open spaces, you may find a series of small rooms connected by a maze of hallways and doors.

2. Are there key walls that are load bearing ? Many interior walls in older homes are load-bearing. That is, they are necessary to support the weight of the upper floors. Builders in Victorian days did not have the capacity to easily span large spaces, so the numerous walls really were essential. If these walls are removed, the floors above will begin to sag.

Fortunately, there are ways to update an older home while preserving its structure and maintaining its ambiance. Be creative in the ways you use the space you do have. Can you for example Instead, cut openings or archways. Leave a partial wall or decorative columns to provide structural support.

3. Can you re-use the space you might have?Door handle

  • Convert the area beneath the main stairway into a closet.
  • Optimize space in narrow closets by placing poles sideways for easier access to hanging clothes.
  • Install built-in bookcases and cabinets around doors and windows.
  • Use wardrobes and armoires for additional storage.
  • In keeping with the historic exterior, create bay-type window areas for more nooks and crannies.


4. Check the Plans for Your Old-house Addition

Is the new addition too large? Does it seem to overwhelm the original house?
Is the new addition too small? Does it appear to be tacked on to the house like an afterthought?
Does the new addition harmonize with the original house? Does it use the same materials and styling?
Is the new addition in keeping with the size and character of other homes in the neighborhood?
Does the new addition make your home seem awkward or lopsided? Listen to your gut… and consider asking an architect for advice. An architect will always have opinions and ideas about proportion and space.

5.Reuse existing materials.

  • Keep historic moldings and hardware. Wire gas lamps for electricity.
  • Keep distinctive examples of craftsmanship. Restore marbling, stenciling, and carvings.
  • Don’t try to undo long-ago renovations. Most buildings change over time, and alterations to your house may have historic significance in their own right.
  • Whenever possible, repair rather than replace. Don’t throw away that old claw foot bathtub – have it reglazed. Fix damaged doors, refinish old cabinets, patch cracking plaster.

6. Costs. Many of these can be hidden until you get into a job. It is worth noting that electrical, plumbing and re-stumping are big hidden costs that often are part of revamping an older property. It is worth considering whether it is worth starting again with a pull down if the structure of the home is not in good condition. Always ask an architect about the costs of pull down Vs restore. You still might want to keep the charm but it is better to know upfront the different in costs.



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