You've just purchased an old DC brick house, and have lots of ideas about what you want to do with it. You can look beyond the neglect to see restored plaster walls, reproduction wall paper and period antiques. An actual renovation is messy and challenging. Here are some tips for getting started.
Historic Home Renovation Requires Professional Help
You may be able to manage lots of the renovation and repairs, but there are some tasks that homeowners just shouldn’t attempt on their own. Start by consulting restoration experts for advice and recommendations for appropriate contractors.
Give Clear Instructions to Contractors. When you hire contractors for a specific job, you have a vision of what you want. Redos add expenses and time to the project. Avoid communication mix-ups with clearly written instructions, drawings or pictures, and regular follow-up throughout the job.
Plan for the Mess. Those who can live somewhere else can take the whole-house approach to restoration. The alternative, the one-room at a time method, means that you will be living in the chaos of remodeling. You can control the mess and the cleanup time by moving the destruction activities from one common space to another, and finishing one of those rooms at a time.
If your old house is brick and in need of repairs, work with your masonry contractor to minimize the messy process of tuckpointing.
Your Approach to Renovating a Historic Home
Practice Patience and Flexibility. Your renovation will most likely take longer than its original plan. Using creativity - moving living or bed rooms from one space to another as they are completed - and having limited furnishings can help. Be prepared for surprises and unanticipated costs - you may have to take on extra work to meet your goals.
Be Realistic. Setting a reasonable pace for the work you do is critical for maintaining your sanity. If you take on too much you risk continual stress and exhaustion. Take regular stock of your accomplishments and overall progress. When needed, be prepared to change the timeline and adjust your expectations.
Take Breaks. It can be easy to get caught up in the restoration to the exclusion of everything else. Avoid restoration burnout by taking breaks away from the project. Schedule time off to do the things that give you pleasure and come back refreshed and ready to keep going.
Renaissance Development, is a leader in historic home renovation in the DC area. We love old homes and are committed to preserving their historic charm and value. If your renovation project includes brick repair, contact us for a free site visit and project quote.