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Maintain the Charm While Renovating Historic DC Homes

It’s easy to fall in love with the architecture and details of Washington DC’s historic homes. If you’re already in one of these charming old homes or you’re looking for the perfect house from days gone by to call your own, make sure you consider functionality and safety as well as the value of mixing the old with the new when renovating.

Safety is the first consideration with any home. In particular, older homes should be checked for updated electric, plumbing and structural stability. But, before you make the decision to gut the house and completely change the look and feel of the space, it’s important to live there for a while. Take some time to remember and enjoy what it is about each room which made you adore the space to begin with. Is there a fireplace mantel which has hand-carved details? Are there arched entry ways and details in tile work which caught your eye? Many historic homes have irreplaceable architecture, hardware or woodwork. Unless safety is a concern, consider restoration before replacement.

Do you want to do a complete renovation or merely upgrade the spaces in your home? Cost is a consideration with many complete remodeling projects. Do your research to make sure the money you’re putting into the renovations you’re considering will increase the value of your home. More importantly, make sure you don’t decrease the value of your property by removing or changing it so drastically that the charm is lost.

Another benefit of living in your historic home before you decide to renovate, is how much you may surprise yourself about the pros of the original fixtures. Perhaps the built-in bookcases seemed too narrow, and then you realize they hold a large number of books anyway. Design elements such as exposed brick walls or antique chandeliers may have seemed out of touch with your modern sense of style, but once everything is in the house together, it could look quite attractive or add to the cozy atmosphere you were hoping for. In other words, give the original elements of your older home a chance to grow on you before you remove and renovate.

While you may decide to retain original aspects of your house and restore what you can, complete restoration is rarely warranted unless your old home is on a historic register or has some documented historic significance. So again, live in the space, focus on the safety and functionality and what feels right for you and your family and your design taste. Plan your budget, make a timeline and approach one project at a time. For more information on what to do and not to do in home renovation, check out this great piece from Curbed DC.

If you’re looking for a home to renovate, choose a team of Realtors® who understand what to look for and who know the historical architecture of Washington, DC neighborhoods. ADMC Realty Group is pleased to serve the communities in and around the Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia areas. We’re ready to put our expertise to work for you from start to finish. Give us a call at (202)596-8101 or email us at [email protected].

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