Strategies for Preserving Historic Character During Renovations

So you’ve decided to take on a mammoth renovation project? Renovating a historical home requires a lot of passion and just a little bit of madness. Some people start a renovation project with a clear end date in mind, while others take their time and allow it to become a perpetual work in progress.

Whatever your renovation style, we have some helpful hints and tips to help you preserve historic character and your sanity during home renovation projects.

Understand the era

Understanding the era the home was built in doesn’t have to restrict your choices in any way, but it can help to inform them. It might help you to understand the limitations of your project to know more about construction methods of the time. It will also help you to understand which parts of the project you can DIY and which parts will need outside help.

You can also learn more about the building style from your neighbours. If you know anyone else in the area is in the middle of a renovation, it could be worth asking if you can see their progress and ask questions about what they have uncovered so far. Obviously, not every home will be the same, but it’s good to have some background knowledge of what might lie ahead.

preserving historic character with yellow door

Immerse yourself in design options

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of renovation accounts on social media to help get the inspiration flowing. Before you determine your own style and decide what design choices are right for you, take a look at what other people are doing.

Thankfully, there’s very little gatekeeping in the home decor sector, so all of the information you need about design choices is likely no more than a DM away. It’s common for social media design influencers to share things like paint colours and key design elements, but don’t be afraid to ask if you can’t find the information you need.

“Period” is not a style and there are design choices to be made. You could introduce industrial elements, explore a minimalist Japandi style, or keep things more traditional. It’s also possible to explore different styles throughout your home, allowing the multiple facets of your personality to shine through.

These are just some of the interior design accounts we love:

Stick to authentic materials

An important part of preserving historic character is to work with authentic materials that were available at the time. The original features in your home might be worn out or on their last legs, in which case you can look for authentic reproductions of your favourite items.

There are also restoration techniques you can learn to help preserve and restore original features. Restoring old tiled floors, for example, is an incredibly satisfying DIY task that will leave you with an incredible sense of achievement.

preserving historic character with floor tiles

Replace or restore?

Original doors can often be stripped back to the bare wood and then refinished, but you might also consider replacing them, particularly if there is woodworm damage or signs of rot. Save yourself the headache and replace badly damaged items with new. You can always repurpose the undamage portions of the wood for another upcycling project.

Vintage door knobs are a great example of something you can afford to replace. And this simple design choice can help to elevate a space with minimal effort.

preserving historic character with beehive door knobs

Original door hardware is likely to be heavily worn and unreliable, which can be hazardous, particularly with young children in the home. Thankfully, we stock a wide range of authentic reproductions that will allow you to achieve a sympathetic restoration.

Know your DIY limits

It’s common to bite off more than you can chew when it comes to DIY projects. Remember that there’s no shame in outsourcing the messy, dangerous or potentially risky projects to a professional.

Examples of this could include changes to the interior layout, such as taking down walls. Working at height is also a common task that homeowners will outsource. If in doubt, call in a professional for a second opinion as you could be risking damage to your home or injury to yourself.

Budget for unforeseen discoveries

During your renovation project, you might make incredible discoveries. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to find stunning original features hidden beneath layers of cheap flooring, paint or plasterboard. However, the flip side of this is that you could also make discoveries that are less than ideal.

When taking on a renovation project, you should always hope for the best but prepare for the worst. This means your budget needs to be able to extend to more expensive repairs that might only come to light once you get started.

Ready to start your renovation?

If you’re on the verge of starting your renovation, we have the hardware and hinges to help get you started. Small projects such as replacing your door knobs can have a huge impact on the overall design, and this can be the catalyst for bigger and bolder projects.

Want to know more about period renovations and what you might uncover? We recently shared our favourite period features on our blog. You can also learn our budget friendly renovation tips for further inspiration. And finally, make sure you’re following us on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date with the latest from the Vintage Door Knob Centre.

Keep In Touch

Sign up to our mailing list for the latest news, offers and Rad inspiration. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Shop Securely

Contact Us

Vintage Door Knob Centre
c/o Cast Iron Radiator Centre
241 Torrington Avenue
(Corner of Padstow Road)

Coventry, West Midlands
0808 196 3733 / 024 7526 0860
Contact Form
facebook Google My Business
Info:  Ireland Deliveries & Returns/Collections