Owners of old houses frequently face the challenge of how to upgrade without losing the charm of historic features. Old brick row houses are a prominent feature of the Washington DC area’s oldest and most architecturally diverse neighborhoods. These 100-year old historic homes are a good example of how to make decisions about upgrades.Washington DC's historic neighborhoods are full of ongoing renovation and repair projects to both interior and exterior structures. Restoration of brick row houses tend to fall into one of four categories:
1. Upgrade or Renovate the Basic Structure
Common-sense upgrades to the basic structures bring the property up to the standards of the neighborhood and protect its value. Roofs, gutters and downspouts and chimneys that function well and protect basement and interior walls from water damage are necessary repairs. A good furnace and electrical system, solid floors, and walls that are in good repair are evidence of a well-maintained home.
2. Enhance the Curb Appeal
Historic homes in the Washington DC area feature exterior brickwork that conveys a rich sense of history. When these homes are well maintained, the resulting curb appeal increases their value, as well as that of the entire neighborhood. Classic entry ways, sturdy retaining walls, and well-tended shrubs and flowers define style - elegant to chic - and hint of well-designed and maintained interiors. Brick restoration in DC neighborhoods of steps, walkways and retaining walls preserve their charm for generations.
3. Meet Lifestyle Needs and Preferences
A historic residence is not just a classic old house; it's a home. Owners who intend to live there for many years to come, make the renovations that accommodate changes in family composition, activities and use of space. Converting basements and attics, upgrading bathrooms and kitchens, and adding patios are common projects that support growing and aging families.
4. Add Value for Resale
Owners who intend to sell historic homes look for renovation projects that increase the value of the real estate. They quickly realize that not all home improvement projects get the same cost-to-value results. A very useful resource is the Cost vs. Value 2014 Report that gives data on job cost, resale value, and costs recouped for specific remodeling projects in the Washington DC area.
Renovation of an old house, especially inside an historic district - can be an intimidating process. For information on permitting and architectural styles and material, contact the Capitol Hill Restoration Society.
Renaissance Development,a leader in brick restoration and historic preservation, specializes in the repair and restoration of historic DC brick buildings. We love old homes and are committed to preserving their historic charm and value. If your renovation plan includes masonry or brick repair, contact us for a free site visit and project quote.