Historic Home Remodel in Orange County – Do’s and Dont’s

When you’re thinking about remodeling your Orange County home, there are a lot of decisions to make. This is doubly true when you have a century home, as remodeling must preserve the unique character of your historic home. Learn the do’s and don’ts of a historic home remodel.

Foyer with staircaseDo’s of a Historic Home Remodel

  • DO enhance performance and energy efficiency – Old homes have a reputation for being drafty. All those air leaks lead to high home heating and cooling costs. By upgrading to modern, performance-enhancing features, you can save money every month, reduce your environmental impact, and increase your comfort. We widely recommend upgrading old windows to energy-efficient windows (really a must with New York’s chilly winters and humid summers) and adding in a central AC unit. When budget allows, we recommend custom windows that mimic the look and feel of the historic windows).
  • DO maintain the home’s narrative – We believe that your old home’s layout, design, and details tell a rich story. It’s a shame when old homes get redone so completely that their relationship with history becomes lost. Whether you are remodeling or adding an addition, your historic home should flow, so the floor plan looks as if it were always that way. We strive to maintain those old features and natural materials, reusing whenever possible and reproducing when it is not feasible to reuse the historic material.
  • DO update the electric – Especially in the Hudson Valley, many old homes feature outdated and potentially dangerous wiring. Have an electrician update the electric while you are remodeling your home to reduce your risk of a house fire.

Don’ts of a Historic Home Remodel

  • DON’T chase trends – We believe in embracing your home’s history, not trying to force a modern trend on an old home. Modern homes often feature open kitchens or great rooms that allow homeowners to entertain and cook in one huge area. As convenient as this trend is, we don’t recommend implementing it in historic homes. Your home will retain more value if you celebrate it for what it is rather than follow trends in remodeling.
  • DON’T hire contractors with no expertise for a historic homes remodel – Not all contractors understand how to work with historic homes and the old materials they contain. Old homes tend to reveal surprises when you start renovating, and not all contractors understand how to handle these surprises. When you interview contractors, ask about their experience with historic houses like yours. An inexperienced contractor may do more harm than good when renovating your historic house in Orange County.

Front exterior of home

At Kehoe Kustom, we enjoy the challenge of restoring the many historic houses in the Hudson Valley. To learn more about our remodeling services or our experience working in historic homes, please contact us.

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