written by:
July 18, 2014
The most successful historic home renovation is the one planned in detail. Having a plan identifies the work to be done at the approved cost and at the expected quality level. Click through the slideshow for tips on how best to prepare for your historic home overhaul. This article originally appeared on Porch.com.

As the Client, Where Do I Start?

Describe the finished historic home renovation. What will the renovated house look like? This can be based on photos, renderings, ideas, existing buildings, or other model. The “final product” usually changes several times during the planning process as possible ideas are integrated into the design.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Modern Victorian House Preservation in Oakland
1 / 6
Matali Crasset, yellow, concrete, living room

Identify what to keep. What should be retained as an historic artifact, functional structure or interesting feature? Does the item need to be protected during the historic home renovation, can it be removed during renovation for safety reasons and later replaced, or does it need to be renovated or duplicated off-site?

At the same time, identify what to remove. What materials, wiring, pipes and structures need to be (or can be) permanently removed during the historic home renovation? Removal reasons include technical obsolescence, deterioration of materials or redesign of the house to a different floor plan.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Matali Crasset Renovates Monory Farmhouse
2 / 6
Modern living room with 620 Chair Programme by Dieter Rams

Identify what will be changed. Does the historic home renovation require new walls, doors or windows? Will there be new wiring, piping and HVAC ducts? Will there be new stairs, baths or a kitchen? What about garage space, a patio or a roof deck? All of this information will be used to develop the budget and schedule documents.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Hillside Mid-Century Home Renovation in Texas
3 / 6
New residential buildings are few and far between in England, so architects like Phillips have increasingly been charged with creating groundbreaking modern environments within the shells of historic houses. “People just find it easier to work within exis

Does the Budget Match the Funding?

Most people use a spreadsheet to generate a preliminary budget for their historic home renovation, which is based on previous or current costs from manufacturers, local artisans, or retailers. Using item-by-item costs will create the most accurate budget, but that process also requires the longest time to finish. Using a previous project similar in size and scope can quickly provide approximate budget amounts, which can be adjusted for unique aspects of the new project. Many projects get stalled at this point due to calculated costs exceeding the funds available. Costs may be reduced by using lower priced materials or making fewer repairs during the historic home renovation.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Victorian Secrets
4 / 6
Australian living room

Develop a Sequenced Schedule

A schedule is a list of work activities in logical sequence with a duration, a begin date, and a finish date. To minimize the risk of delays for your historic home renovation, task durations should not be longer than two weeks. Large tasks spanning more than two weeks can be broken down into two week sub-task packages.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in An Airy Renovation in Sydney
5 / 6
Amsterdam apartment living room

Planning Saves Time and Money

For small projects (<$15,000), a seat-of-the-pants decision style may be appropriate. However, experience has shown that medium to large historic home renovation projects (>$20,000 to $1 million) benefit significantly by applying project management processes. In most cases, tasks can be performed in parallel, and assignment of skilled trades can occur smoothly without overlap or delay. Large expenses can be identified in advance, enabling better funding. As the historic home renovation become more complex and expensive, the project manager becomes as critical to the success of the project as the mason, electrician and historian.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Vertical Challenge
6 / 6
mcdonald house exterior night

As the Client, Where Do I Start?

Describe the finished historic home renovation. What will the renovated house look like? This can be based on photos, renderings, ideas, existing buildings, or other model. The “final product” usually changes several times during the planning process as possible ideas are integrated into the design.

Photo by Jason Madara.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016
When a garage damaged by termites had to go, a studio emerges.
June 19, 2016
the blue lagoon iceland geothermal spa hotel water visitors
The famed geothermal spa outside Reykjavík, Iceland, is entering a major new phase—paving the way for the area’s first five-star hotel.
June 19, 2016
heaven on earth maya lin topography what is missing california academy sciences wood video
A new monograph by Rizzoli explores the memorial project by the renowned artist.
June 19, 2016
gable game austin texas cantilevered home facade windows upper level car port
For Dwell's annual issue dedicated to indoor/outdoor living. Here, we introduce you to the photographers and writers who made it happen.
June 18, 2016
Modern prefab lakeside home in Bloomingdale, New Jersey
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
June 18, 2016
Rectangular bento glass table with compartments.
These top-notch projects by design students earned a spot on our honor roll.
June 18, 2016
bozley all
Jory Brigham picks up his family’s trade and takes it in unexpected directions.
June 17, 2016
The outlandish Belgian fashion designer, a member of the iconic Antwerp Six, creates a quirky pattern-filled capsule collection for the Swedish mega-retailer—with a high-tech twist.
June 17, 2016
2016 Triumph Pavilion
A creative take on the classic children's toy.
June 17, 2016
planar and simple chicago farmhouse addition kitchen mutina cabinets tiles pella window kohler faucet
A relaxed interior and radical roof make a home more sociable and energy-efficient.
June 17, 2016
up and away renovation san francisco family room richard wright painting sofa
A couple bring cohesion to an architectural mishmash in San Francisco.
June 17, 2016
new head of its class connecticut renovation summer home facade bleached cedar siding volumes glass bridge
A Connecticut home with a notable architectural legacy gets an expansive update for a family of six.
June 17, 2016
Rockefeller Center filled with cactus during the month of June.
To welcome summer, the plaza at Rockefeller Center transforms into a desert landscape.
June 16, 2016
Tennessee cabin with porch and a natural hardscape
A metal-and-cedar home rises on farmland in East Tennessee.
June 16, 2016