Owning a traditional property is definitely a privilege. Inevitably you will need to do some work on the property, but that is where it becomes an opportunity. A period home offers you scope to make it truly unique, and to tailor it to your tastes and requirements. This can often become a major project but certainly something to get stuck into, but whether you are creating more space, creating different space, making the space more efficient, or simply looking to boost the value of the property, there are different ways to approach this with a traditional home.
On the face of it, a traditional property has very distinct features, and offers a sense of style and grandeur, but it still needs to be functional, homely and liveable. So here are some tips to help you approach a traditional property renovation in the right way.
- Use skilled craftsmen
Renovating a traditional property requires specific skills and an appreciation of different styles, materials and features. It may be tempting to cut costs by appointing a regular builder, and this may work in some properties, but you need to ensure you are working with people who appreciate the nature of the features in your home. They also need to have the skills to work with different features and avoid damage, to bring out the best qualities of features that can be restored and to not rush jobs that require that little bit of extra attention.
Typically there will be a lot of detail that goes into certain features in a traditional property, and so some jobs that would normally be fairly routine require a little more time and attention. In order to achieve an end result that is exactly what you want, communication is critical. This could be in discussing the type of finish you want on skirtings or architrave, how colours will flow from room-to-room or how a feature can be restored to fit in with your overall design. In essence, keep talking and don’t assume people will always be on the same wavelength as you.
- Plan meticulously
Depending on the size of your renovation project you may need to appoint a number of key people. These could be designers, architects, builders and possibly even surveyors if there is significant structural work to do. This means that you need to lay down some detailed plans in order to work out budgets and what is physically possible. You also need to ensure that all your appointed partners can work together in a practical way.
- Don’t panic and be prepared for surprises
Your property could be over 100 years old, and so it is likely that you will uncover some problems during the renovation. It is important that you don’t panic in these situations and that you build in some contingencies in terms of budget and timescales. On the flipside, you may also uncover some nice surprises, such as discovering some beautiful parquet flooring under some lino, or finding a feature chimney breast you didn’t know existed.
- Your home might not be perfect
The very nature of traditional homes mean they were not built in the same way as modern homes. So be prepared for walls and floors that are not straight, rooms that have already been badly converted, poor use of space, pipework that has been boxed in and is difficult to access or fireplaces that have been removed. These do create problems but in some cases are features that are worth the time and effort to work with.
- You can add ‘traditional’ features such as skirtings and architrave
Skirtings and architrave are a staple feature of most traditional houses, and immediately offer a sense of style and period elegance. However, in many homes that require renovation, these can be damaged or in need of replacement. It is possible to replace these features with new skirtings and architraves, and bring a room back to life with beautifully crafted features that fit the style of your home and finish a room off perfectly. Such mouldings can be supplied in many period styles, such as Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian.
When renovating a traditional property there are always ways to get exactly what you want. Time and patience is often required, but you have a unique situation, and you should follow these steps to ensure you don’t waste it.