Best renovation strategies – or how to start a controversy

Based on this article which ran a while ago (although it was published in February so it’s even older than that) –  this makes for a fantastic discussion among re-modelers and preservationists. If you read the article in the link, they did research and then tried to make the remodel look progressive.

In preservation, we’ve certainly run into a lot of this on the road with mid-century motels where they have to keep it looking clean and modern but still keep the look of the motel. Not that easy to do really. Most often they end up gutting and remodeling the rooms so they’re “typical” motel rooms.

So, to take issue with a bunch of their bullet points (and not with others). Renovating a house is different if you plan on staying there forever, but I think there are different issues for potential resellers. The Mid-Century market has heated up – but what are realtors seeing? Do you still have to remodel? Should you try to retain a pristine time capsule? Is mid-century cool if it’s NOT modern?

On top of that – they present the following guidelines – comments are after their headings – if you want to read their comments under the titles in the original article  – check out their article here.

Renovation Strategies for Historic Buildings

Don’t ignore color
Agreed, although perhaps don’t’ follow 50′s color – go with what you like. Dick Van Dyke and other stylish programs of the time were in black and white and if you pick up books about the period they were VERY experimental with color (sometimes in my humble opinion not tastefully). You can follow current trends or make up  your own. The 50′s were NOT black and white.

Do your research
Fantastic idea – old pictures are awesome but what do you do if the house has been re-muddled? Does anyone have experience with this? Most of us have “normal” houses, so no famous architects or fabulous history – what do you do then?

Don’t be a slave to the past
By trying to preserve, but move forward, we’ve ended up “updating” our kitchen and our bathroom – trying to keep the same style and feel, but upgrading the fixtures. What did you do with your remodel? Did you try to keep completely with the period? Pam’s “Save the pink bathrooms” is a fantastic example, but is it always practical?

Read the architect’s mind

Again, fantastic if you have an architect – but what suggestions are there for people who own period tract homes or don’t know the architect?

Embrace the project’s DNA
Why totally change the footprint/style of the house – if you really hate it, but another house – the great part of this is you’re preserving your neighborhood as well. Thoughts? Is adding on for more room ok?  The reality is that a lot of 50′s homes are small. Does this destroy the home?

Preservation and modernization is a tough subject – do you think they have to be at odds?


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