More people are choosing to renovate their homes than ever before and experts at The White Kitchen Company have put together some advice on the period features that you should consider optimising instead of replacing in your renovations:
For many, social media is a great source of renovation inspiration however there have been a lot of home transformations circulating online recently that produce a lovely, modern finish but take away the existing character of the property.
While it’s refreshing to give your home an update, there are many valuable and beautiful period features that you’ll want to keep and make the most of throughout your property, that could even raise the value of your home.
Restore wooden flooring
If your home has its original — or just vintage — wooden flooring, then it’s well worth sprucing it up rather than replacing it with another material. These floors give a home a warm, eclectic atmosphere and, if varnished the right way, they offer plenty of unique character that can be a selling point for those viewing your property. Not only this, but they are easy to incorporate into plenty of more modern décor aesthetics: a delicate, neutral colour scheme can be set off excellently by a wooden floor, and you can choose a varnish that makes your wall paint colours and furniture pop.
So, rather than pulling up or covering your wooden floor, check how high quality it is. Oak was very popular during Victorian times and offers a beautiful, expensive-looking finish, and a wooden floor kept in good condition can have a stunning aged look. If your flooring is good quality, take the time to restore it by choosing a varnish that goes with the rest of your décor and sanding it down where needed. Then, keep the floor bare to accentuate the unique feature, and add a simple accent rug.
Spruce up fireplaces and radiators
Another great feature that you can keep and incorporate into your modernisations is any original fireplaces. While they can take up a lot of space in a room, fireplaces bring a unique atmosphere to any property and offer a real selling point to many prospective buyers. If your fireplace needs restoring to make it workable, this is well worth doing: renovate the fireplace itself during your overhaul so that it can be used for burning logs and provide a cosy feel to the room. Consider emphasising your fireplace by using an accent colour on the wall it is inset into, and make sure to take the time to clean and varnish any ornate trimmings to really make the fireplace itself look as good as possible.
You might know that fireplaces can be a selling point, but did you know that cast iron radiators bring the same benefit? If you have a vintage radiator, try getting it checked over by a plumber to make sure it is working perfectly, and clean and restore it. These radiators often look more ornate and aesthetically pleasing than modern ones, and replacing them can be expensive and take away unique character from your property.
Varnish traditional front doors
Original, wood panelled front doors are a desirable feature too. So, if your house has a Victorian front door or another period door, consider sanding it down and varnishing it to get it looking its best. Pick a varnish that works with the door’s wood type, and bring out the existing design of the door by varnishing it instead of painting, which can cover up any period details.
Extra details such as keyholes, hinges, or other ornate additions can only add to the vintage feel, so spruce these up too with a clean and a polish where necessary. If needed, these extra details can often be replaced with new ones that mimic the period designs, and this is well worth doing as an alternative to adding modern finishings.
Repair timber windows
While it’s tempting to completely replace your windows if they are framed with timber, this can actually be a large and somewhat unnecessary cost. Many people prefer the period detail of timber window frames, and so it can be much more cost effective to repair these features rather than compromising the character of the building by take them out and replacing them.
It is however important to maximise the insulation within your property, so try to do this by installing double or triple glazing in combination with restoring the timber frames. This gives a good compromise between practicality and preserving the aesthetic of a period building. Not only this, but timber window frames tend to have a longer lifespan than PVC ones.
Keep period features matching
While optimising period features is a great way to minimise your renovation costs while maintaining the quality of your older building, there are some cases where you should get rid of some features. If any of your period features are mismatched and from different time periods, then you shouldn’t be afraid to alter them.
The aim is to preserve the character of the property by including some original features from the same time period. If your property has been altered over the years, it’s usually advisable to get rid of the later features and restore the older ones, such as those built in the Victorian era as this time period has many characteristic styles. Having a mismatch of different period details in your home can be confusing and disturb any coherent modernisation or redesign you’re trying to carry out.
“Renovating your property is a fantastic way of raising its value and making it more enjoyable to live in too. But it’s well worth taking the time to plan which period features you’ll keep, and which need to go. It’s tempting to get carried away when renovating and replace everything to give a polished, updated look, but bringing your existing features into the renovation can both be more cost effective and more lucrative in the long-run.
“Combine your vintage features with a clean, bright renovation that prioritises neutral tones that can offset the darker finishes of the older aspects of your property. While fireplaces and old wooden doors can appear clunky in homes that haven’t been renovated, they can really pop amongst white, off-white, or pastel décor and modern kitchen setups.”- Nicholas Smith, Marketing Manager at The White Kitchen Company