Restoring An Old House Without Losing Its Character

Restoring An Old House Without Losing Its Character

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Period properties will eventually start to fall into disrepair. Some modern touches are likely to be needed, but too many modern touches could cause your old home to lose its character. Finding the right balance between new and traditional is needed. Here are a few features that you should consider when doing up an older property.

Know its period

It’s important to match the architecture of the period. Knowing the style of your home could allow you to make fitting choices when picking out furnishings and materials. It’s worth researching styles such as art deco and art nouveau in order to get ideas on paint schemes and types of plaster. Some periods were known for specific embellishments when it comes to features as simple as skirting boards and taps.

Choose timber over plastic

UPVC may not be the most fitting choice for a period property when looking at door frames and window frames. Timber is still a reliable material to this day that can offer durability and insulation when sourced and installed correctly. There are many companies such as Reddish Joinery that can install timber fittings for you. Such companies may also be able to advise you on the best types of wood for the job.

Invest in insulation

Old homes traditionally had poor insulation. Those with large rooms could often get drafts and were harder to heat up in winter. Insulating your property’s loft can be a good place to start as a lot of heat can be lost through an uninsulated roof. The next step could be to install double-glazing as your old windows are likely to be losing a lot of heat too. Other insulation methods that can have you reaching for the thermostat less include cavity wall insulation, pipe insulation and underfloor insulation. You should also keep an eye out for cracks in walls – blocking these up with caulk will stop drafts from creeping in.

Do you need fireplaces?

A working fireplace can make an old home cosy, but fireplaces are also messy and difficult to maintain. They also let out a lot of heat and can let in drafts, not to mention being nesting places for birds. Blocking them up could be a way of further insulating your property. Companies such as Flue Systems specialise in this process and can ensure that it’s done effectively (simply blocking off the chimney breast doesn’t work). There are lots of electric fireplaces that could still provide the aesthetics of having a fireplace without the mess for those that don’t want to lose this feature.

Freshen up your fixtures

Some of your home’s fixtures may need updating. Bathtubs, toilets and sinks can last as long as 70 years, although may be eyesore after this period. Consider replacing these with fresh fixtures. You can still buy brand new fixtures in many classic designs, such as freestanding baths. Meanwhile in the kitchen, your oven may possibly need updating. Old gas ovens use up a lot of energy compared to most modern ones. The same applies to fridges and washing machines – buying appliances with an Energy Star rating could dramatically decrease your electric bills.

Strip away the carpets

Carpets are no longer in vogue. Most modern homeowners want floorboards, going to great lengths to buy imitation floorboards that look aged. In an older property, you don’t have to bother with imitation floorboards as you have the real thing under your feet. Stripping the carpets is a cheap and easy job. Be wary that some old floorboards may be starting to rot and wear – these may need to be replaced, which could prevent you from keeping that old traditional look. Woods like mahogany have long been popular in period properties, but this dark red wood is also notoriously expensive. Shop around for similar toned woods like Ipe and Sapele as these can often be cheaper.

Try tiles

Ceramic tiles can often be a nice touch in a period property, either on a kitchen or bathroom wall. They’re easy to clean and can help to hide old marked plaster in these rooms. Companies such as Criterion Tiles specialise in tiles with a classic appearance. You could even consider tiled patterns for a unique touch.

Naomi Isted
Editor in Chief, Naomi Isted is known as The Ultimate Lifestylist to her readers and viewers. She is a TV Presenter and Columnist. Ranked in the Top 100 LFW Social Media Influencers AW14 & SS15, Brand Ambassador for Pears Soap UK. Her Celebrity beauty TV Series currently airs to 27million homes on Physique TV in UAE, previously on Wedding TV in the UK. She brings fashion and beauty advice to her readers and viewers on a daily basis. She is Fashion and Beauty Columnist for Herald Scotland and has a Fashion and Beauty Bridal Blog for HELLO. She can usually be found attending celebrity fashion and beauty events in and around London and sharing the latest fashion and beauty trends with her readers.

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