How to Restore a Period Property


how to restore a period property

There’s something magical about period properties, and if you’re a fan of them you’ll certainly be of the belief, ‘they don't make them like they used to.’ While an older house can come along with problems, there’s also so much charm, history and a feel to them that you simply won't find in those that have been more recently built. If you’ve bought a period property and want to do it justice with a proper renovation, here are some things to consider.

Coving and Woodwork

Original coving on ceilings can really stand out as a signature of architectural beauty. It was often adorned with intricate plasterwork which can add to the overall aesthetic appeal of a home and show the time period it was built in. When you’re restoring coving, pay attention to detail making sure that the patterns match the historical design. If you’re replacing damaged coving, look for companies that do copies of the originals so you can match and replace any damaged areas, or refit coving that was previously removed. Woodwork is one of the things that can really define older homes too, and sadly isn’t something we see as standard in modern built properties. Things like ceiling beams, wooden staircases, wooden doors and sills. You’ll usually find these things have been covered up with years worth of paint, but there are ways to restore them. Doors for example can be sent off to professional companies who can acid dip and remove all layers of paint. Paint remover can be used on things like bannisters, skirting boards etc but be aware it’s a terrible job! It’s really time consuming and messy, but the finished result is so worth it. 

Windows and Shutters

Windows on old houses will no longer be fit for purpose, these days modern windows keep out houses much warmer and more secure so you’ll need to update them. But you can still go with styles that matched the originals, for example Victorian terraced houses often had sash windows which you can still get modern versions of today. Shutters are another thing, these add so much aesthetic appeal to a home. Chances are the shutters have rotted or been removed from your period property, but do some research. Hopefully you can find what they originally looked like so you can replace them with something similar and restore the look of your home. 

Sympathetic Decor

Sympathetic decor doesn't mean you need to feel like you’re in a time warp of old fashioned wallpaper and colors. It involves selecting colors, patterns, and furnishings that align with the era in which the house was built, you can still put a modern, fresh twist on everything. Research historical color palettes and design trends, and go with materials and textiles that resonate with the period. This allows each room to tell a story while contributing to the overall narrative of the house's history. When you’re modernizing elements like lighting or fixtures, pay attention to detail and go for designs that complement the overall aesthetic. For instance, sleek and minimalistic fixtures can seamlessly integrate with both traditional and contemporary settings, ensuring a cohesive look throughout your renovated space. Introducing modern elements can still respect the original features, so try to strive for a harmonious balance between the old and the new. For example, you could integrate contemporary lighting fixtures or smart home technologies with period-appropriate furniture and decor. You could have a heater repair company fix up the fireplace while modernizing the heating system by hooking it up with smart technology. Practical tips for blending styles include repurposing antique furniture alongside modern pieces, creating a harmonious fusion. Additionally, strategically placing modern artwork on walls adorned with original woodwork or coving can create a visually pleasing contrast, highlighting both the vintage and contemporary elements.

Balancing Originality with Functionality

It’s crucial to ensure that your home meets modern functional needs, and many older properties simply don't allow this. In today's world we prefer larger, open spaces rather than lots of smaller rooms, so opening up the walls might be a good idea. In years gone by, kitchens would be smaller as they were almost seen as ‘backstage’ areas whereas today, we like to entertain and cook together and so open plan layouts are often best. 

Get Professional Help

If your renovation journey is focused on preserving original features, it can really benefit you to get professional guidance. Achitects, designers and craftsmen with experience in historical renovations can provide you with valuable insights, making sure that your vision aligns with practical considerations for a successful and authentic restoration. 

Research Yourself

There’s plenty you can do yourself too when it comes to understanding your property and the time period. There are forums of others in a similar position giving advice, as well as plenty of videos and articles online you can inform yourself with. When you have a good understanding of the time period, the materials, colours and styles you’re much more likely to do your renovation justice and avoid making mistakes. 

Your home should be personal to you, and you should love the way it looks. You don't have to be perfect, and you can make any changes you like to suit you and your family. But if you want to do justice to the time period your home was built in, hopefully these tips help!