A House for All Seasons
A lot of older homes don’t have great heating and cooling systems. In fact, some of the most primitive forms of air conditioning were not invented until 1902, and central air conditioning wasn’t common in residential homes until the late 1960s. Natural gas wasn’t a common form of heating homes until the late 1920s. To compound the problem, older home construction and insulation practices generally don’t allow homes to maintain their temperatures, as hot and cool air escapes through drafty windows and other areas.
That means that Bostonians with older homes are subject to high heating and cooling bills (assuming they even have cooling systems installed) and/or uncomfortable summers and winters, possibly with poor indoor air quality.
The good news is that these systems can be retrofitted and the original construction adjusted to create highly energy-efficient homes with comfortable temperatures and excellent air quality, no matter how old the home is. HVAC systems are a common request from our clients who seek more comfortable living spaces.
Old School Features to Consider Updating
Planning a historic home remodel in Boston can feel daunting for more than one reason: not only can the sheer amount of necessary repair work feel overwhelming, but you’ll also need to decide what to reconfigure and replace without detracting from the home’s period allure. You may be tempted to tackle individual maintenance projects first since they’re the most obvious. However, it’s smart to look at your remodel holistically so that you can make long-term changes to your home and maximize your budget. To help you determine where to begin, we’ve created a list of five of our clients’ most commonly requested historic home updates:
- Remove walls to create a more open floor plan.
- Refinish wood flooring and replace damaged linoleum, tiling, etc.
- Update kitchen cabinetry, countertops, appliances, and lighting.
- Reconfigure floor plan to create sufficient storage space in closets and beyond.
- Gut remodel bathroom to update fixtures, plumbing, and layout.
Classic Meets Modern: The Perfect Aesthetic
Individual home features aside, you may be wondering how to modernize your home within a coherent aesthetic without sacrificing the character and charm of older home features. It’s an excellent question to consider, and striking the right balance takes both expertise and creativity, as every home is different and every homeowner’s style and preferences are nuanced. Finding the right aesthetic looks different for everyone, but the marriage between classic and modern can create a strikingly attractive effect.
As an example, our South End home remodel integrated the client’s minimalist style with the home’s original woodwork, from floors and crown molding to casing and wainscoting. Since the home was built with Victorian-era ornamental details that didn’t cohere with the client’s style, we removed extraneous ornamentation and introduced a contemporary feel in the kitchen, pantry, master bathroom, and nursery without altering the original architectural detailing.
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