Common Mistakes Renovating Older Homes

Many owners of older homes mistakenly believe that they can be their own designer, general contractor and trade specialists. HGTV, the DYI network, Houzz.com and other media outlets make the renovation process look effortless. Anyone who has undertaken a significant renovation knows it’s not, even if the project just involves adding a new coat of paint to your kitchen, bath or any other room in the house. If your home was built before 1978, there is a possibility that you have paint layers containing lead. Special care must be used to strip older paint. Simply painting over an existing surface is a relatively easy job, but other cosmetic improvements that require replacing existing finishes, expanding the foot print of the space, reconfiguring electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation should be left to a professional.

How difficult can it be to replace a faucet in an older bath or kitchen? That depends. If your faucets are older, there’s a chance that the cutouts in the surface for the faucet and knobs were sized for a different era. Today’s faucets may not accommodate those older dimensions. Our showroom knows how to address sizing issues regardless of the age of your fixtures and home, and we’ll direct you to products that meet both the functional and aesthetic requirements of your home.

Another common mistake that we see is efforts to refinish or replace decorative elements such as woodwork with reproductions. Too often, the newer versions are out of place and lack the quality, look, feel and staying power of the originals. Refinishing wood floors is a perfect example. If you have 50, 75 or 100 year or older wood floors, stripping them and bringing them to 21st century looks often results in the loss of character and the floor will appear out of place with the rest of your home.

Window replacement is another job that you will be best served by obtaining professional guidance. Older homes’ windows typically are not energy efficient. Windows can create drafts, so it is only natural to consider a window replacement. It’s easy to gravitate to modern vinyl or aluminum windows. They are plentiful and generally cost-effective, but they may not be the best choice for older homes. Wooden replacements, although costlier, will last longer and perform equally well or better. We have the expertise to evaluate your ability to weatherize what currently exists or to find a replacement that fits with the age of your home.

Taking advantage of smart home devices can be a challenge in older homes. Installation of smart thermostats, lighting, doorbells, security and other systems that require rewiring should be performed by licensed professionals. There are a number of manufacturers that are making smart devices with historic looks. We can help direct you to motif appropriate light fixtures, switch plates, hardware and other components. Plus there is no reason why you have to have an exposed smart thermostat. You can place the thermostat in a closet, pantry or cabinet.

Many owners of older homes come to our showroom wanting to renovate to create an open floor plan kitchen. When we receive an open floor plan request, we evaluate the spatial design and flow and determine whether the original house had a kitchen or if it was added at a later date. If the latter is the case, there are prime opportunities to create an open floor plan that maintains the historic character of the house, but offers all of the modern look, feel and conveniences of the 21st century.

If you own an older home and would like to discuss how to modernize it without losing the original character, please give us a call at 208-658-8888 or visit our showroom at 1185 W. Grove St., Boise, ID 83702.