Lots of people buy older homes because they have character. They aren’t the sterile, white walled, suburban sprawl home that looks like a cookie cutter cut out of the neighboring houses. You might have walked into your older home and immediately felt the cosiness, hominess, and comfort that an older home can often bring.
The problem with buying an older home, however, is that some of those modern comforts of a newer home won’t be available to you. You might think that old plumbing and small kitchen is just something you have to live with. We’re here to tell you that you can have it all, however, with the right kind of renovations to help modernise your home.
Below are some of the main renovations you can do that will help turn your older home into a perfect mix of old and new, and include all the comforts of modern homes.
Plumbing is something you don’t really think about when you buy an older home. Again, you might just be buying it because of a superb location, big yard with old trees, or that lovely style that isn’t built anymore. You might see the older style basins in the house as quaint, and that clawfoot tub as a centrepiece of the bathroom. The problem with older plumbing, however, is that it can often break down and cause a big issue down the line, like some of these common problems.
Another big problem with older plumbing is not being able to locate things like your toilet or bathtub where you want. This is a great reason to get your local Bay of Plenty plumbers in and help plan out a more modern layout and plumbing fittings.
By far one of an older home’s biggest flaws is the kitchen. From the kitchen design in a Tauranga home to the kitchen cabinets in a Christchurch home, older kitchens are rarely something the homeowners actually prefer because of the layout, the space, storage, and older appliances and outdated technology. It’s absolutely worth renovating your kitchen if you’ve got the time and manpower to incorporate some of the modern kitchen technology available, as well as making the space you need, as older kitchens tend to be tighter on space.
One larger renovation to modernise the kitchen is creating new custom joinery for that Christchurch home. Cabinets and joinery in older kitchens are often dark and don’t make sense spacewise, so replace them if you can. If you can’t, a fresh coat of paint can often help. Adding new countertops will also seriously change the look of your kitchen, along with removing any extra walls that aren’t load bearing walls to open up the space. If space is your main issue, consider open style shelving. Don’t forget pest control while you’re renovating your kitchen, as many older kitchens are a haven for them.
Another big problem with older homes is their temperature control. Older homes tend to have draftier doors and windows, as the technology like sealed windows weren’t available yet. The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to warm up your home and keep it cool in the summer.
In NZ, try retrofit double glazed windows to start. One of the main benefits is they help keep your temperature more steady, as the space in between the two panels of glass acts as a barrier to heat and cold. They’ll also help your home sell for more if you eventually move.
If your home lacks proper insulation, the cost to insulate may feel overwhelming, but will be so worth it in the end during the cold winters. Insulation is a cost effective, super practical and fairly simple way to help you stay warmer. Insulators can simply inject it into your existing walls without having to take anything down.
If you aren’t wanting to spend much money to keep your older home warm, try adding a few easy fixes like blocking drafts from your doorways, or sealing up windows with plastic. Think about air flow in your home as well, and make sure there isn’t furniture, rugs, or any obstacles in front heating apparatuses. Add some heavy drapes to your windows to help keep leaking air from entering your home, especially in the evenings. Here are some additional ideas for cheaply warming up your home.
One thing to keep in mind with modernising an older home is making sure you aren’t compromising the style of the home. Older homes often have special features that aren’t in new homes anymore, like pressed ceilings, or crown molding, and should really be preserved and fit in with any renovation work. Consider painting instead of removing, or leaving it and building your home’s style around the features.
One problem with any renovations or updates in the home is that you might not be able to find a replacement for things like joinery or cabinets. Keep that in mind when you’re renovating, as you might want to be careful to preserve what you really like and replace it later on. Things like light fixtures and door handles, however, are easy swaps for something more modern, without hurting the general feel of the home.
Unexpected paint colours in more traditional homes will provide a fun pop and help a room stand out. Bright paint, coupled with lots of white as well, will help open up small and dim rooms that older homes often have. Decorating with new artwork and modern furniture, even in an older style home, will create a really nice contrast as well.
After all is said and done, that lovely older home you purchased can truly be the home of your dreams with just a few modernising renovations. Take the time to do these for the home you love, and you’ll have a home that you can enjoy for years to come.