Older homes are full of charm. As times change the standard features of older homes like custom molding and trim become special and rare.
If you own an older home eventually you will have to decide how to restore or replace historic features. The good news is you have several options for how to update your home while acknowledging its history.
Each option requires research to confidently assess and then match the home’s original design. Below we will outline the difference between historic restoration, renovation, and preservation.
Is Historic Restoration the Same as Renovation?
Some sources use the phrases “historic restoration” and “historic renovation” interchangeably, but they are actually different processes. It’s important to be sure what your historic project goal is and to be on the same page with your contractors.
What is Historic Restoration?
Historic restoration seeks to restore a building to its original design. The home or site becomes a time capsule that preserves how the structure once stood.
For example, imagine the home of a historical figure turned into a museum like the Abraham Lincoln home site. The museum curators work to restore the house back to how it was when Lincoln lived there. That is a historic restoration.
What is Historic Renovation?
Consider the historical figure’s home example above, if the businesses in the town also remodeled their decor and facade to fit the period when that person lived, that would be an example of historic renovation.
A historic home renovation incorporates historical styles while maintaining modern elements. Rather than matching a specific blueprint, these buildings or homes use historic designs for inspiration while not strictly adhering to the designs and limitations of the time period.
Historic Restoration vs. Preservation
While historic restoration embraces how a property stood at a specific point in time, another approach, historic preservation, retains all of the updates made to a building in different time periods.
Let’s go back to the example of Lincoln’s house turning into a museum. Another building down the street was built at the same time but was upgraded a hundred years ago. The owner of that property decides to turn it into a second historical site. But instead of restoring it to how it was originally built, he preserves all of the changes made during the building’s history.
Historical preservation shows how multiple people decided to build and change the structure over different time periods providing a fuller picture of a building’s history.
Historic Restoration vs. Rehabilitation
The last way to treat historic property is called rehabilitation. This approach adds modern amenities to the property while keeping its history in mind as inspiration. In our example of the house, consider what happens if it remains private property.
The owners appreciate its history, but they want a comfortable place to live. They add things like central heating and cooling and a modern electrical system. But they keep as much of the original design and style as possible. The home is rehabilitated to meet the family’s needs while still showcasing its history.
Be Confident in Your Restoration
The majority of historic homeowners will prefer historical rehabilitation projects or renovation projects. Few historic homeowners look to restore their home to how it was over 200 years ago and still live in it!
Explore the vast variety of styles or contact our experts for your home renovation project.
At Mouldings One, we have an entire online library of architectural history to help ensure that you can accurately match your home’s crown molding, trim, or baseboard features for any home project.Historical Millwork Online Museum