Historic Home Renovations and Remodeling Trends for 2022

The floor creaks. There's not a square corner to be found. And that's part of the charm! You bought a historic home because you care about character and details. If you're interested in remodeling parts of your older home, you already know you aren't in for a cookie-cutter project. Historic homes are often passion projects and labors of love because they require extra effort, care, and sometimes special permission when renovations are required. 

At Creative Building Concepts, our service area of Harrisburg, York, and Carlisle, Pennsylvania includes a host of beautiful historic homes. We've had the pleasure of many unique historic home remodels and renovations. We're happy to use our years of experience to help you plan your next remodeling project, no matter where you live. If you're interested in custom upgrades and renovations for your historic home in Central Pennsylvania, we'd love to hear from you!

Historic home with chairs

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What Is a Historic Home?

Although all older homes meet with some of the challenges we are about to review, a few homes in our service area are officially designated as a historic home, due to their architectural or historical significance. If you are planning renovations on a home with a historic designation, your plans will need to be reviewed by the Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) in Pennsylvania. This borough-specific group consists of an architect, real-estate agent, and other city-council-appointed experts and historical stakeholders. HARB reviews new construction and planned renovations in order to preserve the integrity of street view for important historical structures.

 

What Can You Change on a Historic Home?

If your home is in a designated historic district or on National Registration for Historic Places, it is best to run all changes through HARB especially if you aren't sure. Historic homes need HARB review for exterior changes and any changes that would be visible from the street. Any changes to the doors, windows, masonwork, columns, or structural exterior require HARB approval. You will likely need to keep your update within the same style, even if you are changing materials.

Often, small changes such as adding flower boxes also require HARB approval. If your home's unique features like windows or brickwork have led to its historic designation you will not be able to change them. You are not likely to receive approval to expand your building's footprint.

Luckily, many boroughs do not have a HARB and many historic districts are limited to small areas of downtown. Even if you own a very old home, it is unlikely that your home will need to go through this process.

 

Historic Home Remodel Trends

Many fantastic historic home remodeling ideas honor your older home's character and bring your house into the modern world. Here are some of our absolute favorite historic home remodeling trends for 2022.

  1. Repurpose: Can you move trim or light fixtures, old exterior doors, built-ins? Can you upcycle old windows? 
  2. Let there be light: Many older homes skimped on the lighting. Many of our interior remodels include a significant increase in light fixtures and light output.
  3. It's electric: We're asking a lot more of our home electrical systems than many past engineers ever expected. Old wiring, circuit breakers, and outlets frustrate everyone who experiences them in 2022.  
  4. Color me wild: Many older homes feature color schemes that play it safe. Why not add some vivid green or royal plum? 
  5. Energy efficiency:  Adding insulation or using modern materials will increase energy efficiency in an older home.

Historic Home Remodel Mistakes 

We've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. We know that historic homes come with unique challenges and unique sets of common mistakes at every budget. Here are some of the common mistakes that come with remodeling historic homes:

    1. Expecting standard measurements: The common sizes for modern fixtures do not fit spaces in many older homes.
    2. Mis-matching modern and vintage: A completely modern kitchen can look out of place in a nineteenth-century farmhouse. Incorporating an existing style can tie a contemporary space into an older home.
    3. Assuming the walls are square: Historical homes get their character from their imperfections, which means floors aren't level, ceilings are bowed, and walls are rarely flat. A skilled designer can work around these challenges before they become a problem.
    4. Ignoring signs of water damage: Water damage may have occurred long before you discovered it, but small signs of moisture in an area in a structure can indicate much larger trouble lurking underneath.

 

Historic Kitchen Remodel Ideas

  1. Historic kitchen remodels can be tricky. Gleaming modern appliances must be made at home near more period-authentic details to keep the harmony of the home aesthetic. 

    1. Fix the layout: Your kitchen may be designed for a workflow that no longer works. The modern kitchen lives differently than prep spaces of days past; you may feel limited by counter space or layout. 
    2. Open up your space: Many older kitchens are walled off from the rest of the house. Kitchen renovations in historic houses often include the removal of at least one interior wall. 
    3. Update your storage: Many historic homeowners need more storage than they have. Custom kitchen cabinets can solve many old house storage problems.

 

Historic Bathroom Remodel Ideas

There are many ways to keep a bathroom classic while inviting in the best that modern design offers. Current trends for historic bathroom renovations in 2022 include the following:

  1. Ditch the soaker tub: Many clients swap an old tub for a walk-in shower. They are simply more convenient and accessible. 
  2. Antique fixtures and faucets: Fixtures and faucets are great for a vintage touch. 
  3. Period tilework: Leave a nod to your home's dawning era in your tilework. Try subway tile or patterned ceramic.

 

Historic Home Elements to Highlight 

Some features of historic homes are classic for a reason. If these elements are in good shape or can be restored, we recommend that you keep these historic home elements to preserve the best your historic home has to offer.

  1. Wood Floors: Consider refinishing old wood floors for a beautiful new feel.
  2. Staircase: Many staircases show off the architectural flavor of the period in which they were built. Keeping your original staircase will honor your home's character.
  3. Fireplace: Many fireplaces need a little facelift, but the TLC is worth it. Old fireplaces are gorgeous centerpieces for any common area.
  4. Masonry: We just don't do brick and stonework like we used to. Highlight your quality historic masonry to pay homage to your home's roots.  

Talk to the Remodeling Experts in Central Pennsylvania 

We’re honored to have earned Central Pennsylvania’s trust with their historic home remodeling projects. Creative Building Concepts is excited to leverage our expertise to celebrate and elevate your historic home. Our craftsmanship and experience make us the perfect remodeler for both your delicate and detailed projects and massive overhauls. Reach out today to get started!

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