Provides Tips to New Homeowners to Give an Old House a New Look

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To bring back the beauty of a forsaken house, new homeowners can apply the basic rules of renovating.

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Often, as soon as the new home owners begin to poke around the old structure they fall in love with what they’ve bought.

Often, when house hunters first see their dream property set in the perfect neighborhood, they barely notice the condition of the house. A house built in the 20th c. of a distinct style often will have a modern addition; it may also have badly weathered windows; and the sagging interior walls should be gutted to the framing. Other house hunters in the area may have considered it a teardown, possibly even the new owner, who may already have grand ideas for a new home on the dream lot. But often, as soon as the new home owners begin to poke around the old structure they fall in love with what they’ve bought.

With newfound enchantment, it is the time for the new owners to take measurements, draw up floor plans, and began experimenting with different room configurations. By taking these steps, the project will then completely draw them into this old house. The structure’s potential to become a very comfortable home as well as an attractive house will begin to show. Before long, the plans for a new house are put on hold and the ideas for restoring the forlorn structure begin to multiply.

The first steps to take when poking around a newly purchased old home are to check the condition of the original woodwork, flooring, plumbing and electrical, if these amenities have not already been stripped from the house. Evaluating the home’s original components is a process similar to a forensic science. A careful review of the structure can save the new owners thousands of dollars before they implement their design ideas. One feature discovered maybe hard wood floors buried for decades under paint or linoleum. The wood floors could become a focal point throughout the home. But does it make sense to spend weeks scraping paint or linoleum from the wood before sanding and staining the surface anew? This question is a part of the evaluation process. Should replacement wood moldings for the doorways and windows, or new wood flooring, be installed? Or should this restoration project include the labor to restore the original door and floor treatments? An existing wood ceiling may also require hours of scraping, sanding, caulking, and staining to look good again. Personal labor is an investment of time that can save personal finances for new electrical or plumbing that must be made.

Outside, the condition of the roof must be investigated. For example, replacing an asphalt shingle roof with cedar shakes may be more appropriate to the home’s original style and it may also be a more attractive option. But if the roof is still intact, it doesn’t make sense to make such a large expenditure at the outset of this project.

Next, the house must be prepared for contemporary living. Should walls be moved to enlarge an old kitchen or bedroom? Is an expansive new living or family room desired over the need for additional bathrooms? Will an existing fireplace be in the way of a reconfiguration of the floor plan? Do all of the windows in the house need to be replaced? If not, which windows should be new thermal ones? Before custom cabinets, modern sinks, or marble counters can be selected, these practical needs must be considered.

Since complete renovations are a labor of love through months/years of construction, it is important to know the direction each room’s interior design will take. Reviewing design publications and visiting websites devoted to the home can help shape the interior design renovation through visualization. One such website,, is an online furniture and decor retailer that can inspire the ideas needed for a successful completion to this home project.

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Susan Gizdich

Susan Gizdich
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