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
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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
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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
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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.

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Originally appeared in An Airy Renovation in Sydney
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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
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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.

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