How much do you try to restore your older house?
January 16, 2014 in Design Dilemma
I swear, the more I look around this house, the more I see I want to do. For example, right now there's a mixture of trim types and the stuff that looks original - window and door trim and baseboards in a few places - is really nice to my eye. So I keep pondering trying to duplicate it and replace the trim in the whole house, which would not be a small project. But my gut says it would look so much nicer. (The existing stuff that is newer is mostly in okay condition, it's just boring and not in keeping with the age of the house.)

Likewise, we will be redoing the kitchen in a couple of years and I'm trying to get an idea now of if we're going to try to do something sympathetic to the age of the house (1930) or just go with whatever we like. Mostly important now because there's a sort of modified open plan (not wide open like modern builds that are open plan, but you can see from the living room through the dining room into the kitchen pretty easily) and I don't want to spend time and money getting the living room and dining room just so only to find it looks awful with the new kitchen, you know?

So with an older house, how much effort do you make in terms of keeping or restoring older features? Does it make a difference to you what the value of the house is?
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It's your house. Decide how you want to live in it, and how you want it to look. Make yourself happy.
1 Like   Thanked by PirateFoxy    January 16, 2014 at 8:12PM
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Hi, PirateFoxy. If I had an older home like yours, 1930s, and I had the $$ I would want to take the home back to its roots. But, and this is a big but, I would want it modern enough to be very functional. Kitchen all up to speed with modern appliances that still might fit the era in design, maybe knock out a wall or two to open up the space a bit. I do not think there is anything wrong with doing fixes like that. You want to maintain the aesthetics but you don't want a wringer washer out on the back porch. Well, maybe you would just for fun!

I think you can have "new old" as far as design pieces go if that makes any sense. Reproductions would be a good term to use. If you like the one wood trim over the other and your gut is saying you should, then you probably should do just that. Otherwise you will always have that nagging feeling of why didn't I do this or that.

I am trying to remember your floor plan a bit from when you did the dilemma for a dog bed and placement. Hope you are the right person! Sometimes I mix people up a bit on here. :))
1 Like   Thanked by PirateFoxy    January 16, 2014 at 8:50PM
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I live in an older home, built in 1928. It's small, 1500 sq ft and has a few features I would want to keep, wide trim, transom window, fluted exterior door trim, but honestly, if I could break down these walls and open it up, I would do it tomorrow. It's not financially feasible
to do so as I would have to hire the help. For me, it's always been about personal preferences that reflect style and comfort. Do what makes you happy.
2 Likes   January 16, 2014 at 8:59PM
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I have a really old house. +120 and kicking. I kick it back often. Although I have owned newer houses 1960+ and 99% of the reno work I do is on homes of that age or newer I felt I was up to the challenge of this monster.

We lucked out. It had been unbastardized for the most part. The 10" oak floor molding was intact throughout and the original doors and pocket doors in great shape. The other thing we lucked out on is in this city we have many great architectural salvage houses with tons of what nots in buckets and boxes and piles to sort through.

Now the kitchen was another story. It was renoed in the 1950's The cabinet doors were hollow core pretendy wood...painted over a 100 times ending with a zombie blood red and the bases were painted day old mustard. A friend sanded and primed them the day we took possession. The floor was a place and press wood grain that was loose in 100 places. The doorways were all wrong, the rear entry to the kitchen held a massive freezer on top of an indoor/outdoor green rug which was on top of a indoor/outdoor blue rug which was on top of puke green tile which was on top of an "interesting" bright orange and grey speckled vinyl asbestos floor (oh don't get me started on that one) which was on top of the real oak 3/4" flooring that is in in the rest of the house. YAY. Sometimes you just have to dig.

All the molding in the kitchen had been changed to big box clamshell.

We spent a fortune purchasing this house because I fell in love with my new "breakfast room" and the claw foot tubs. Leftover money went to the electrical upgrade from knob and tube and central air. Did I mention it also has a beautiful hand carved oak staircase?

So my DH said to me... How much to do the kitchen not counting the appliances? I said I bet I can do it under $1000.00 "if you help". Key words was my exit clause because I was already hearing the voices in my head shouting single words like FARMHOUSESINK - COPPER - BRONZE - CHICKENWIREDOORS - HOOSIER - PIECUPBOARD and envisioning things like a functioning well pump at the sink hooked to city water as a lark. Mostly I don't want any super modern appliances to show except what I have to.

Now this was a challenge. I wanted to restore the early charm and not spend to much really nothing. Luckily I have a saw. And a router. And a miter saw. Not so lucky a husband that does not rally to the cause well. A challenge like this takes time and patience, stuff goes in and comes out in stages. Did I mention the mess?

Below you will see a picture of my pipe's still in the thinking stages also of the side of the kitchen that is coming along. So far I have spent ~$120 which includes paint.

I was given an old Hoosier cabinet that will hold the microwave after some reworking. That had 100 coats of paint and the last layer was a dark boat green color. I'm just about done sanding the outside of the beast then I will remove the back and add another foot to the depth. The microwave will be happy in the old tambor door area.

So restoring older features? On the main floor and the baths? I think it's essential. BUT you need to make it your own. You don't have to go back to when they read by oil light but adding some structural aspects of that is great.

My counter tops are temporary. The back splash is waiting for the other side of the kitchen to be ready. I plan to put "legs" on all the lower cabinets and get great old style cabinet latches and recessed pulls. In the end it will cost more then $1000.00. But that's for my 2nd "upgrade" I still finishing the first.

As far as the rooms themselves you can let things slide a bit.

It's well worth the effort and an exciting and self-fulfilling endeavor.
1 Like   Thanked by PirateFoxy    January 16, 2014 at 11:19PM
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@lucidos, you are a very brave woman to be taking on such challenges in such an old house. Kudos to you and your hubby.

How satisfying it must be to see these pipe dreams come true over the course of time.

I am amazed at the work ethic you young people have with such an endeavor. And I am assuming you are young solely by the child in the photo. The amount of planning and money that goes into these older homes is daunting to say the least, Good luck with your beautiful home.
0 Likes   Thanked by PirateFoxy    January 17, 2014 at 1:29AM
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Hey, PirateFoxy! Hope you see this post today. Someone is looking for help with 1930s kitchen cabinets. Any way you or anyone else could give a listen? I cannot post a link but here is the name and design dilemma name. Thanks so much!

vdidenmoore. Original 1930s Cabinets- What To Do ??
0 Likes   January 17, 2014 at 2:09PM
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