Revitalizing Your Living Room

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Once those holiday decorations are taken down and stored away, your living room might feel a little bare and bleak. I’ve found that it is really helpful to have a few small ideas ready to infuse some color and texture into your living room this time of year.

Revitalizing Your Living Room

Re-arrange your existing furniture.

This is a great time to re-configure your furniture layout, giving your room a whole new look. Start with your largest piece of furniture and place it differently in the space, then re-arrange the smaller pieces, until the perfect arrangement falls into place. Maybe it is time to pull that sofa out from the wall, depending on your space and the size of your furniture, this could work to create a more inviting arrangement. Some simple changes could be very effective and could really improve your furniture arrangement.

Add fresh flowers

I love using fresh flowers this time of year. I try to bring highly fragrant varieties of flowers into my home, a single bloom can look very modern and sculptural. A beautiful winter flower arrangement made with a mix of flowers and greens could last for a few weeks and will give your home a beautiful splash of color during the cold first few weeks of the new year.

New accent pillows.

New accent pillows.

This is a great time to try out a new color combination. Bright bold colors with highly textured fabrics can add a warm feel to your space for the remainder of the long winter months. Another option is to try a variety of highly textured neutral pillows. The texture creates a warm and inviting feel for your room.

New accessories.

If you’ve packed up and stored some of your accessories while displaying your Christmas decorations, then unpack and use these accessories in a different location. Create some new groupings mixing in a few, well-chosen, new accessories with existing pieces. This can give your accessories a whole new look.

Add lighting.

This is a great time to add some ambiance with lighting. New table lamps can be a great design element while providing additional lighting. As an example I have a great collection of candle holders and decorative lanterns that I group and create interesting displays to enjoy during the winter months. This is a great time to enjoy the glow of candlelight in your home.

Add or change out your area rug.

Adding a new area rug can do wonders to define any living space. This is a great way to add color and pattern to your living room

Custom window treatments.

During the cold and windy winter months, you might be feeling the need for a heavier more energy-efficient window treatment. With hundreds of fabric samples to choose from, we can certainly design, selective the perfect fabric, fabricate and install window treatments for your living room or your entire home.

Consider a complete living room design.

Maybe you’ve moved your existing furniture pieces around and still can’t achieve a living room space that you love. It might be time to seek professional help. Having a professionally designed living room space will be sure that everything is well planned and thought out to achieve an exact loo. This will prevent wasting money on random purchases that may or may not work for your space.

Until Next Time,

Gia

Add or change out your area rug.

From The Blog

How To Store Christmas Decorations

How To Store Christmas Decorations

After the holiday season, you might be ready to start packing up those holiday decorations so you can start freshening up your home. By taking some time to organize your decorations before storing them things will go a lot smoother when you pull out those holiday decorations for next Christmas.
How To Store Christmas Decorations

1. Send a note

The first thing that I like to do before removing decorations is to make myself some holiday notes. I make some notes and schedule the note to be delivered to my inbox next year just before I start to decorate. I also make notes about anything I want to remember about my holiday card list, etc. I include thoughts about things that I might need for next year. For instance, if I need a new tree stand or if I used 15 feet of garland on a banister and next year I want to use 17 feet. I will be aware of that before I start decorating. When that note to myself arrives in my inbox the following year, I’m always happy that I took the time to write these thoughts down as I may have forgotten these things by the following year. Another idea is to take advantage of the after-holiday sales going on now and get a head start for next year!  By picking up those missing items now  you can store them for next year.

2. Removal of the ornaments

Always remove tree ornaments in the reverse order from how they were installed. For instance, if you put garland or beads on the tree last, take it off the tree first. This will keep things from getting tangled up. 

Sort and store

3. Sort and store

Sort and store ornaments so you can find things easily next year. Use a system that makes sense to you. For me, I change things around a bit every year so I sort things by color. I use clear plastic bins and sort all like-colored ornaments together.

I don’t use fancy ornament bins or holders as I have a lot to store and I need to keep things as condensed and easy to pack as possible. I use clear rectangular plastic bins. ornaments are packed in on top of a layer of bubble wrap. Glass ornaments might be packed in smaller shoe boxes or small plastic shows bins then packed in the larger bins for an extra layer of protection. 

4. Wreath storage

I store wreaths wrapped in plastic hung on the wall in my storage area. Larger more delicate wreaths are stored wrapped and placed on shelves to stack.

5. Artificial trees

I don’t use special tree storage holders or bags. I find them too frustrating and limiting with the size trees I am using. Depending on the type of tree that you have and how it is put together, I might adjust things as needed. After years of trying different things every artificial tree now gets treated the same way. I keep the whole tree together in one piece, lay it flat in the middle of a large piece of heavy-duty plastic and wrap it tightly with the branches folded up, then wrap with duct tape. The whole tree is then carried into the storage area where it will stand straight up leaning against the wall until it gets carried out next year. Trust me this works best with 2 people. Depending on where you store your decorations and how you access that area, you might have to make some adjustments to these suggestions. Small trees can be stored in bins wrapped and standing straight up in the bin.

6. Lights

Because I deal with a large amount of Christmas lights for work and I handle them often, I have my way of slightly folding them into a plastic bin so that they never get tangled. But the easiest way to wrap lights around an old cardboard paper towel roll. This prevents them

from getting tangled. This works well for ribbon beads and small garlands. I store all Christmas lights in a bin with all of the needed extension cords.

7. Bin storage

I store all of my decorations in the same sized plastic bins then all of these bins are stored on shelves in a designated area in my basement. I will never admit to the number of bins that it takes to store all my decorations but let’s just say that there are a lot of bins. A few years ago I added several shelving units and moved everything into bins that fit these units perfectly. So now everything is labeling and orderly with everything having a specific place.

Even if you have just a few decorations in your collection to store, I’m hoping that some of these tips will come to be helpful when dismantling your Christmas decor and keeping everything stored safely for next year.

Unit next time,

Gia

Artificial trees

From The Blog

Wrapping A Christmas Gift

Wrapping A Christmas Gift

It might seem like a small task, but the way a Christmas gift is wrapped can add to the excitement of receiving the gift. I have to admit, wrapping gifts is not my favorite Christmas project, I would much rather be decking the halls. But I have developed a few tips that help me to stay on task, stay organized, and keep my interest when it comes to gift wrapping.

Wrapping A Christmas Gift

Set the stage.

1. Set up a gift wrapping area and leave it set up for the Christmas season. Depending on where you live this could be a small table in a room or a tray or basket with supplies that can be tucked away in a closet. In the case of one of my former projects, an entire gift-wrapping room, which was quite a luxury for my gift-giving client. The important thing is to gather everything needed so you are ready for a last-minute quick gift or a wrapping marathon.

Get Creative

2. Start by choosing a color scheme for your gifts every year. I coordinate mine to my tree’s decor. This allows me to gather paper, ribbon, etc. early on, knowing what colors I am looking for. It also allows me to shop these items after Christmas since I rotate some of my colors and decor. You might decide to color code your gift so you know who they are for or where you are bringing them. However, you decide to do it, having a system helps.

Add rich color.

Get Creative.

3. Get creative with wrapping. A few ideas that I have tried hand-painted paper, stamped paper, and using solid paper and decorating each box with metallic markers. I’ve also used extra fabric and wallpaper to wrap gifts. In the last few years, I’ve been using solid colored boxes or wrapping paper and spending most of my efforts on bows and embellishing. I’ve used live greens, painted greens, raffia, ornaments, and other Christmas baubles, satin and taffeta ribbon, I’ve even embellished gifts with sewing trim and tassels. each year it’s a little bit different depending on my Christmas decor and what remnants I have in my design studio that find their way onto a Christmas gift. I also like to make unique gift tags, but depending on the time I keep some pre-made gift tags in my wrapping area.

4. Think “out of the box”. Gift bags can be a great alternative to wrapping paper. But instead of the standard pre-printed bag, purchase bags in solid colors try to personalize it by adding trim, ribbon, metallic markers will allow you to create a unique design and could be a fun project for your kids. Coordinate colored tissue to create a finished look. A simple gift bag with a satin ribbon is quick and easy, but very pretty.

5. Keep a list of what gifts you have purchased. If you do start wrapping early you will still remember what you’ve purchased and wrapped early.

Happy Wrapping!

Until next time,

Gia

From The Blog

A Peek Inside My Holiday House Project

A Peek Inside My Holiday House Project

Every year the Concord Museum in Concord, Massachusetts holds it’s holiday house tour event. Several house are chosen to be on the tour and interior designers are asked to participate by decorating one of the the homes for the event. This year I was honored to be invited to design one of these beautiful homes on the tour.

Have you ever heard the phrase “Visions of sugarplums dancing in your head”? Well, that’s kind of what it’s like when you’re decorating a holiday house.

A Peek Inside My Holiday House Project

The Creative Spark.

You have free reign as a designer to put your stamp on a beautiful home. The designer selects, provides and installs all decorations and you have a very small time window in which to do it. You must work swiftly and very creatively to reach the finish line under these circumstances, allowing for any creative pivots along the way.

The incredible home that I chose for the tour, yes sometimes you can choose from the participating houses, already had beautiful architecture as it is one on Concord’s best examples of pedimented, colonnaded classic Greek revival style homes. It was recently renovated and it’s larger sized rooms allowed for the perfect environment to greet holiday house tour guests.

The next step was to meet the homeowner as all of the homes on the tour are private residences.

The beginning.

The homeowner was a beautiful woman who’s smile lit up her home even before I added a single Christmas light. She graciously allowed me to use her beautiful home as my blank palette giving me free rein to create a Christmas Wonderland for the holiday house tour. This lovely homeowner also welcomed me into her home with coffee and breakfast on those 6 AM tree decorating sessions needed to make up for the schedule changes since 2 or the 3 days planned to decorate became days a major snowstorm.

At least the snow was fluffy and white, which worked perfectly with the decor!

The homeowner also allowed me to incorporate some of her beautiful things into the Decor design and volunteered to be an extra set of hands as my assistant throughout the process.

The entry hall provided a beautiful staircase and a gorgeous full-length mirror which I adorned with sparkling white magnolias and gold ornaments. A large vase at the end of the curves entryway directed tour attendees through the living room. The living room was decorated with a rich mix of jewel tones. The glistening of mercury glass and gold antique Christmas trees greet you as a series of festooned garlands hang cheerfully throughout the space. We also get a great view of the dining room where the table is set for Christmas dinner in green velvet and metallic gold. I used a multitude of complementary greens, a harlequin patterned plate and deep rich red accents complement the adjoining living space.

The smell of pine and peppermint draws you into the kitchen where the decor is all about icy pastels. I used homemade custom candy canes and old fashioned candy from Priscilla’s Candy Shop (Located in Concord and Gardner, MA) give this kitchen the feel of a dreamy sugar-coated Christmas. I am so grateful that Priscilla’s was happy to help me by providing candy in the colors I needed for the space. (how lucky am I that I have a client that owns a candy shop?)

The tree was adorned with color and organic elements giving it a fresh but nostalgic feel. The table is set and awaiting a Christmas breakfast and the island allows the perfect place to display a pastel gingerbread house.

Fresh pine wreaths align the far wall, green ribbon sparkles when the morning sun shines through it. This parade of wreaths leads your eye to the back family room. The beautiful blush pink is complemented by changing glass trees and blush pink ornaments. White snow adorns the family room tree for a fresh peaceful space.

People usually think that doing Christmas decorating professionally must be “fun”, although it has its jolly moments, in reality, it’s more like a tactical Defcon mission. In my 20+ years of experience, this must be approached with the precision of a sharpshooter, the stamina of a marathon runner, the shopping strategies of a black Friday shopper, and the ability to visualize and create numerous things at once while being highly productive at the tasks following those creative ideas.

You must also have a great ability to improvise, hang from frozen ladders in the cold, tie perfect bows quickly and efficiently in mid-air, and with a great amount of patience. In the end, it is something that I have a passion for doing.

This year’s Holiday House project was enjoyed by approximately 1,000 guests and I really enjoyed meeting all of them.

In year’s past, I have completed large commercial Christmas decorating projects including one which put me in Boston’s government center decorating Santa’s house through the night, in the rain and high winds for an upcoming event.  In recent years, I focus on only a few select Residential Christmas decorating projects per year, as the time window is small. Usually, this service is reserved for former design clients. We do book these projects in the early fall for the upcoming holiday season.

I hope you enjoy a peek into my holiday house project!

Until next time,
Gia

From The Blog

How To Choose A Christmas Tree

How To Choose A Christmas Tree

Choosing your Christmas tree is perhaps the most important Christmas decorating task of the season. If you decide to use a live tree this year, it is important to do a little preparation before you head out to search for the perfect tree.

How To Choose A Christmas Tree

Prepare.

  • First, measure your ceiling height, take measurements to be sure you know how tall of a tree you will need.
  • Leave room for tree toppers and for tilting the tree to an upright position when installing, also allow for your tree stand and tree trunk.
  • Even the most beautifully shaped tree could look like a mess after having to cut half of the tree branches off to stand it in place.
  • Check your measurements!
  • Check your doorways, hallways, and stairways, be sure you have a clear path to your final destination.
  • Be sure the length of your tree will make all the turns that it needs to make to enter your room.
  • Of course, you also want to be sure you have a vehicle that can transport your tree back to your home, with plenty of cords or rope for securing your tree to your car.
  • Always aim the bottom of the tree toward the front of the car so the wind doesn’t break and branches during transport.
How To Choose A Christmas Tree

From My Experience.

I purchase my tree from a local tree farm here in Massachusetts, where choosing the perfect tree involves a long hike, down a path, into the woods, through the snow, down past a stream, and up a hill in the cold. Once you reach the peak of this hill, you can see a valley of beautifully tended live trees, all sparkling in the sunshine, and all hoping to be chosen as my Christmas tree. This makes the journey worthwhile.

Once you are deep in the woods, it can become very hard to judge the height of these beautiful trees, luckily my favorite tree farmer comes equipped with a tree measuring stick, a saw, and a pick-up truck to haul my perfect tree back to civilization. If you are fortunate enough to visit a tree farm, ask your tree farmer about the different variety of trees and about what to expect regarding longevity, fragrance, and durability of the needles and branches as this varies with each variety of tree.

Your local Christmas tree lot can also be a great place to purchase a live tree, this involves less hiking, less time, and you could also be helping to support a local cause with your purchase. Even the smallest live tree will look spectacular in Christmas lights! Once you get your Christmas tree back to your home, be sure that your tree trunk has a fresh cut before installing. A fresh cut allows the tree to continue absorbing water, after installing, fill your tree stand with water immediately, and continue daily watering.

As much as I love the fragrance and the all-day pilgrimage of finding and installing a live tree, artificial trees offer plenty of benefits. No constant dropping of needles, no daily watering, and much sturdier branches that can hold up decorations that most live trees cannot support. For someone who puts up their decorations early, an artificial tree allows much more longevity. You can also find artificial trees in every shape and size, and variety that you could get in a live tree. A quality artificial tree will look very authentic and will last many years if properly stored.

I hope you enjoy choosing your Christmas Tree!

Until next time,
Gia

From The Blog

How To Prepare Your Home For Holiday Entertaining Even When Your Space Isn’t Ideal

How To Prepare Your Home For Holiday Entertaining Even When Your Space Isn’t Ideal

The holidays are here, which means it’s time to entertain family and friends.

Maybe you are opening your home up to numerous party guests, or just a few family members, it’s nice to make everything in your home feel a little more festive.

How To Prepare Your Home For Holiday Entertaining Even When Your Space Isn’t Ideal

It’s not always easy.

Just remember your home doesn’t have to be perfect to start, some well placed holiday decor can still create a beautiful environment for entertaining. I remember one Christmas many years ago, my own home was in the middle of a massive kitchen renovation during the holiday season. I was still determined to have my holiday party, even though my rough demolished horsehair plastered walls and exposed lathe in my circa 1700’s home were the only things in my kitchen space. I busied myself behind the scenes in an adjacent room, creating a series of decorated trees mounted on wheels like a stage set. When construction ended on Friday afternoon, I draped the entire space with white fabric and white lights, from the ceiling I hung a multitude of icicles, then I wheeled in a parade of Christmas trees to camouflage the room. When the sun set that evening, the glistening of white lights turned on and candlelight illuminated through the entire space.
My tented icy wonderland room was beautiful and somehow the rough textured walls only enhanced the look. Guests loved the look and had no idea that just hours before the party, trees were being rolled around the house.

Illuminate the entire space.
Focus your efforts on your table setting.

The passion.

Yes, I am a professional designer who has an extreme passion for Holiday decor and a drive for entertaining. But with a few simple steps, any space can be ready for holiday entertaining.

1. Use what you have.

Use your holiday decor to distract from the least appealing features in your home and highlight the best features of your home. If you have a beautiful fireplace, great!  If it’s not so great, use draped garlands and decor to have it complement the holiday space.

2. Illuminate the entire space.

White lights have a way of making everything look magical and pulled together. Stick with little white lights if you are trying to make a space look cohesive and pulled together. Even with minimal ornaments, white lights look great for your holiday decor.

3. Set up a buffet table.

Especially if your kitchen space is not ideal, lead your guests to another area where a buffet table can be set up. If you don’t have the perfect furniture piece for this use a folding table or even a plywood table. Once covered with tablecloths and decor this option will work great for a serving buffet.

4. Appeal to all the senses.

Your guests will always feel welcomed when they walk into a space filled with holiday music and the scents of pine or cinnamon.

5. Focus your efforts on your table setting.

Whether I am designing holiday decor for a small space or a full-scaled holiday show house or house tour, the table is always a focal point. I focus a lot of time and planning on the holiday table.

Think about what you are doing with your table setting early on in the planning process so that you can have the items that you are using cleaned, prepared and ready to go.

I have created a special holiday table setting guide for you that will help you create your own unique holiday table. Be sure to download it below.

Wishing all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving and a Festive Holiday Season!

Until Next Time,
Gia

From The Blog

Preparing Your Kitchen For Holiday Baking

Preparing Your Kitchen For Holiday Baking

As we see the last colorful leaves of fall hit the ground and the temperatures dropping along with them, we know that the holiday baking will soon begin. Whether or not you have recently renovated your kitchen or you have not quite gotten around to committing to a newly designed and renovated kitchen, holiday baking and cooking will be a lot easier with a well-organized kitchen space. Here are a few tips for preparing your current kitchen for the holiday baking season:
Preparing Your Kitchen For Holiday Baking

Start your holiday off right, aware and organized.

Deep clean your kitchen
Your kitchen will soon be covered with flour and filled with the scents that come along with holiday baking. However, if you give your kitchen a thorough deep cleaning before the holiday baking marathon begins, this will make for a quicker cleaning up after baking or cooking and will certainly make entertaining prep time a little shorter.

Make your holiday baking list
Make a list of all of the recipes and goodies that you will be baking. Compile a list of now perishable ingredients list and stock the kitchen now to avoid all those last-minute dashed to the grocery store. This is also a great time to organize your holiday recipes, over the last few years I have been photographing my old recipe cards and organizing them in digital folders for easy access. I use Evernote, but you could also use other cloud storage so you can retrieve them from any device and share them with family members easily.

Sort through your pantry or cabinets
Remove everything and wipe out the pantry, then sort and re-stock everything. Discard any expired items and make a list of any items needed. Those opened boxes of baking soda and baking powder should be replaced before you start baking. Be sure your sugar, flour and brown sugar are fresh by restocking these items if needed.

Dive in.

Organize your bakeware
While you are cleaning things out, organize all your bakeware. Figure out what pieces you will be using and be sure they are easily accessible. You might want to update your cookie sheets or add a few more to your collection to speed up the baking process. Find that special tart pan now before you are in a hurry to start baking.

Organize and refresh your spices
Whether your spices are stored in a cabinet, pantry, or drawer, it’s likely this area needs some attention. Discard any spices that are not fresh and update with what is needed for the season. You don’t want to run short on ginger while baking those gingerbread cookies.

Clean off your kitchen countertops
This is a great time to clean off those kitchen countertops eliminating any unnecessary items (holiday decor is considered a necessary item) and give yourself some space for baking. If you keep your mixer stored, this might be a great time to keep it out on the countertops where it might be getting a lot of use.

Clean out your refrigerator
Give yourself the added storage space that you might need for your holiday baking supplies and for extra food storage, give your refrigerator a quick cleanout. This is also a great time to stock up on food storage containers for those baked goods and any holiday leftovers.

Check your appliances
Be sure that all of your appliances are in working order, arrange for any necessary repairs. Don’t wait until for the last minute to call for appliance service, this is a busy time of year for servicing.

As you are going through the holiday baking season, make some notes of how you can set things up differently making things easier for next year. Knowing the limitations of your current kitchen can be helpful when preparing for next year or for when you decide to redesign and renovate your kitchen space.

Happy Baking!

​Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

I’m Dreaming Of A White Kitchen

I'm Dreaming Of A White Kitchen

The holidays are upon us and soon we will be preparing for a season of entertaining as we welcome our family and friends into our homes. A season for baking, cooking, decorating as well as entertaining, no other room in the home is called upon to meet the needs of the holiday season as much as the kitchen.

For one of my recent clients, their dreams of a light bright fully functioning kitchen space where they can gather with family and friends this holiday season have come true when we recently designed and completely renovated their kitchen.

10 Ways To Cozy Up Your Home For Fall

Mix it up.

Like many clients, these clients called me when they started considering a new design for their kitchen. Their older appliances started to fail which made sizing and matching difficult, so considering their desire for a fully functioning space with an improved layout and upgraded appliances, this was indeed a great time to design and renovate the entire space.

Upon my first visit with these lovely clients, I knew that I could make major improvements in the layout and function of their kitchen as well as the look and feel of the space. So we discussed their needs and desires and I went to work designing their new kitchen.

One of the biggest changes in the design of the space was the location of the refrigerator and range. The new Thermador range is now a focal point in the new kitchen, with plenty of workspace and storage on either side. The new integrated refrigerator melds in perfectly in its new location. Our expanded sized new island houses a speed oven, plenty of storage, seating and an enormous amount of uninterrupted counter space.

Add rich color.

Recycle what you have.

CLICK and scroll through some BEFORE and AFTER Photos!

We eliminated the soffits using cabinetry that now goes right to the ceiling and is fully customized to our client’s storage needs.
Our beautiful granite countertops inspired the soft dreamlike color scheme using whites, grey and soft cool greens. Even our porcelain tile floor met with the approval of our homeowner’s dog Molly, who soon became a vital member of our construction crew with her stash of tools.

The homeowner’s original table and chairs were reupholstered with fabric that coordinates with the new custom window treatments in the new design. The warm wood tones echoed the wood tones from the adjacent rooms, joining this newly designed space seamlessly to the rest of the home’s warm wood flooring. The result is a soft dreamy white kitchen that I know my clients will enjoy for many years to come.​

Until Next Time,

Gia

From The Blog

How to Avoid Design Decision Overwhelm

How to Avoid Design Decision Overwhelm

The Pandora’s Box of Design Choices.

Today homeowners have access to so many different design elements, from design television shows, design apps, and internet access to design resources all over the world. Homeowners often start out their design and renovation projects very confident that they can design their space themselves since the have so many design and shopping resources.

The Pandora’s Box of Design Choices.

Shopping, Shopping and more Shopping!

Homeowners immediately start their project by shopping, shopping, and more shopping sometimes purchasing items randomly that may or may not work for their home, but in many cases the endless options and even the most resourceful homeowners end up falling into a rabbit hole of design shopping, endlessly scrolling and changing directions based on products and resources they are finding on their random shopping searches. Then upon reaching a state of complete overwhelm homeowners either pause their project before it begins, continue to randomly search products sometimes for years or confidently make random purchases and find a way to make all of these items work in their space never really realizing how great a well designed could really have been.

With endless quick and easy design solutions available it is easy to see how homeowners are lead to believe that this is the best way to design a space and get professional results.

Have a well thought out plan.

Have a well thought out plan.

However, professional design is not that quick and easy, it involves thorough planning, and much more thought than shopping. A professional designer uses their experience to develop a well thought out plan, many hours of planning are done before the shopping phase.

Once a professional design plan is created, a designer knows exactly what items are needed, the look or feel of the space and where to quickly and easily source these items. Sourcing is done from a combination of readily available resources but also ”trade only ” resources knowing which manufacture has the best products for the particular design plan.

Even if you are not working with a designer having a well thought out plan before any searching or shopping is the best way to avoid design decision overwhelm and stay on task looking only at items needed for your project

Until next time,

Gia

 

From The Blog

Renovating An Older Home? 5 Things To Consider

Renovating An Older Home? 5 Things To Consider.

Out with the old. In with the new?

Living in the Northeast I am privileged to be able to experience living amongst some of the most beautiful older style homes in the United States. From beautiful antique colonial homes, stately Greek Revival beauties with their magnificent woodwork and elaborate winding staircases to the 1920’s era English tutor homes, there is nothing like the architecture of an older home. However, renovating one of these stately homes can present numerous challenges. Whoever is renovating an older home must understand the unique challenges that are involved with this type of renovation.

Renovating An Older Home? 5 Things To Consider

1. Design your renovated space skillfully and carefully.

A newly renovated area should be designed so it seamlessly flows with the architecture of your home. For instance, a kitchen or bathroom renovation can certainly have all of the modern conveniences and features of a newly designed and renovated space but certain architectural elements should tie it into the rest of the house, so it doesn’t look out of place in the home.

Update plumbing and hire for craftsmanship

2. Plan on updating all of your systems: plumbing, electrical, and heating.

Often the systems in an older home have only been partially updated if at all. When renovating to create a new kitchen or bathroom allow the extra time and cost of updating or replacing these systems. This is often required during an extensive renovation by the local building codes. This is always the best to do all of this work since walls will be opened up for easier access to wiring and plumbing. Also, your new design will most likely have some floor plan changes which will require moving electrical and plumbing anyway.

3. Older craftsmanship can be expensive to replicate.

One of the biggest benefits of living in an older home is the incredible old molding and woodwork that is sometimes still intact. Often novice renovators strip out the beautiful craftsmanship contained in these older homes, sometimes regretting it later. The best renovations happen when the original architecture of the home is honored when creating a new design for the space. That beautiful crown molding in your older home might have been made differently than what is easily available today. It certainly can be replicated by skilled craftsman, but it might take a little more time and money to fabricate matching moldings or trim.

4. Hire a pro for any wall work.

Many of the older homes have walls that were done with the old lathe and plaster method. Narrow strips of rough thin wood were stacked up and down the walls and then a plaster mixture (sometimes made with horses hair for reinforcement ) was applied, plaster oozed between the strips to which helped hold the plaster to the wall. So when repairing old plaster walls, it’s never as simple as a quick patch like you would do on a sheetrock wall. Locate someone who knows how to properly repair horsehair plastery. Many times the plaster is in such disrepair or will start crumbling when you do try and make a repair that competitive skimming or removal of the plaster must be done. Wall work in these older homes is best left to professionals as DIY repairs often make the issues worse, so when a professional finally is brought in to correct the issue, it is an even bigger job.

5. Assess the flooring.

The flooring in an older home can either be your biggest asset or your biggest disappointment. Sometimes one of the most exciting moments in renovating an older home might be the discovery of beautiful wood floors conceals and protected by wall to wall carpet. In which case with the proper sanding and finishing, you end up with the most beautiful hardwood floor, sometimes even more beautiful than the newer hardwood floors available today. I was lucky with this in my own home, a 1920 era Tudor, under the old carpet revealed the most beautiful white oak flooring, an older species of white oak flooring with unique coloration. Once several hundred carpet tacks were removed and proper sanding and finishing were completed by my crew, I now have gleaming hardwood flooring that is very unique throughout this home. This was not the case throughout my former home, a colonial home from the 1700s. Each room’s floors had to be accessed carefully. Sometimes old carpet, tile, or vinyl flooring was installed in these homes over existing wood flooring, but floors might have been glued or mortared directly to the wood flooring in some cases making it unsalvageable. As a pro who has designed and renovated numerous older homes, I will say that you have to assess some older floors as to whether or not they are worth salvaging. Of course, we want to save them all, but there are some instances when you have to be able to predict the best possible outcome for that individual floor to see whether the results will be worth the time and cost.

Renovating an older home involves a deeper level of commitment and skill because of all of the unique challenges that come along with it. When an older home is designed and renovated properly with professionals that regularly renovate older homes, the results can be magnificent.

Until Next Time,

Gia

Have floor access and hire a pro!

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