That Old House You Saw in the Real Estate Listings: Here’s How You Need to Update It
The real estate listings in Quebec City are full of period homes, and that shouldn’t be surprising in a UNESCO World Heritage city with historic buildings, cobblestone streets, and 400 years of history. But you should at least figure out how to update it a bit to be more conducive for modern living. While a 19th-century look can certainly be charming, the 19th-century lifestyle is a bit behind the times.
You need upgrades to that old home you’re planning to buy or have just bought, so you can actually live comfortably. However, you need to do your upgrades carefully, or else you may cancel the charm that made you want to buy the house in the first place. You also don’t want to have a negative effect on your future return of investment when you do decide to sell the place after a few years. When you have a charming old house full of modern day amenities, you’ll certainly get lots of interested buyers.
So how do you start with your modern upgrades? Try to keep the following rules in mind:
Keep Everything in Proper Proportion
Many well-built houses were carefully made with proper proportions, and this means that the elements of the home were designed to fit properly with each other. It may not be obvious, but when the proportions are right the whole thing looks great. When the proportions are wrong, things somehow feel a bit off. This is something that your subconscious can detect more quickly, before your mind can identify what’s really wrong.
This means that if you’re upgrading a porch with a railing, you better take the houses window height into account. Nowadays the standard railing height is about 3 feet, but that only works with modern windows. Windows in older houses tend to sit somewhat lower.
Maintain the Same Look When You’re Putting in Additional Structures
The same rule about proportion goes when you’re adding another structure to the home. You have to seam in that addition flawlessly, so that it feels like it also belongs there. You should incorporate a particular design element in the original structure into the addition. You can repeat a simpler version of the molding, or you can use the same window style in the original structure.
Don’t Replace the Windows
Replacing the windows of an older home is probably one of the worst changes you can make. The result makes things worse, and in terms of investment, it just doesn’t make any sort of sense.
It’s true that you probably need better energy efficiency for these homes, but you can do that with new technology instead of new windows. All you really need to do is to find a contractor who can help you find modern heating and cooling systems that can work with the walls of your old house. Usually, you need something less invasive with a smaller duct system and vents that can blend in with the wall so they don’t look out of place.
Keep the Hardwood Flooring
It doesn’t matter if they seem to look somewhat worn down. Seriously, these older hardwood floors are excellent even though they’re several decades old. They sure don’t make modern floors like they did back then.
You can simply have it sanded down and then you can give it a new finish to make it look great again. Then you can just maintain and clean your hardwood floor properly and you’re good to go. The only time you need to consider tearing out the hardwood flooring is if the nail heads are now visible because the floors have been sanded too many times.
Just keep in mind that upgrading is different from a total makeover. If you’re going to modernize everything, then you shouldn’t buy an older house in the first place!