When To Modernize A Historic Home’s Interior

Older homes represent our past and have beautiful architectural features. However, outdated systems can waste energy and make the home uncomfortable to spend time in. So, when should you consider adding modern updates? Here are a few signs to pay attention to.

1. The Fixtures Are Outdated

Keeping the character and integrity of high-traffic areas intact – such as living rooms – is essential. This can mean keeping the original layout and furniture. Holding onto vintage tables and chairs gives your room a unique focal point.

However, you can spruce it up with modern fixtures, like new lighting and artwork. When upgrading lighting, consider layering. This design technique layers ambient, task, and accent lighting to create the perfect mood for different functions.

2. The Layout Isn’t Functional

The open-floor concept has become popular in many modern homes. Of course, this trend may not be as prevalent in historic homes. Builders back in the day often enclosed spaces to allow for more privacy and segmentation between rooms. Additionally, the extra interior doors made it easier to trap warmth within the room.

Today, an open floorplan allows families to maneuver around more easily. It’s also useful for parents to monitor their kids while cooking meals or entertainers to host fun social events. If you enjoy spending a lot of time at home, you might be interested in knocking down some dividers and creating a more open space.

Changing a home’s layout is a more complex renovation and requires more expert involvement. Just check with local historic preservation committees before making any changes, and make sure the contractors you work with carefully review your home’s structure to find the best places to safely open up a space.

3. It Doesn’t Have Enough Storage

Storage space is critical for the modern homeowner. You need room for all your clothes, kids’ toys, blankets, and electronics. Historic homes may have limited storage and smaller-sized cabinets, so adding shelves to unused wall space can help.

Also, use decorative baskets in bathrooms to hold toiletries. You can also place clear baskets or bins underneath your bed to keep off-season clothing in. Get drawer inserts and turntables to organize your cooking supplies for the kitchen.

4. There’s Not Enough Natural Light Coming Through

Some historic homes have smaller or fewer windows. This can make the space feel darker and dreary. However, increasing natural light can make you feel happier and is good for your body.

One way to do this is by enlarging the windows. Or, if you have enough money in the budget, install skylights. These allow plenty of light and provide a nice view on starry nights. Other strategies include hanging mirrors, using lighter colors, and decorating with reflective materials. You can also upgrade to doors with larger casements or sliding glass panels.

5. The Flooring Needs Upgrades

Original flooring like hardwood can look nice. However, sometimes it can start to warp or crack, in which case you’ll want to replace the flooring as soon as you can.

Suppose it just needs a little work done cosmetically, but not structurally? If that’s the case, you may be able to save the original material and just give it a new finish. For example, you could bleach or stain it to create a modern appearance. You can add other contemporary elements like colorful rugs for extra comfort.

6. The Plumbing or Electrical Is Outdated

Plumbing and electrical systems are often not current in historic homes. This can lead to wasting energy and may create an unsafe environment. Faulty wiring is a fire risk and can increase the harmful effects of power surges. In fact, home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires every year.

Updating these systems is an essential beginning step. If you don’t, you may have trouble passing building inspections down the line. This will make it harder to sell your home.

7. There Isn’t Enough Insulation

Many older homes don’t have the proper type or amount of insulation. This causes drafts in the winter, leading homeowners to overuse their heaters. This draw on the power grid contributes unnecessarily to climate change. Plus, it also raises the cost of utility bills.

Proper insulation keeps heat inside during the winter and releases it in the summer, thereby creating a more consistent temperature. You want to insulate the basement, crawl spaces, and walls. Remember to get under the floorboards, which tend to have larger gaps.

8. The Window Treatments Are Worn Down

Wooden sash windows are a staple in older homes. However, some can become rotten or dirty over time. This can decrease their visual appeal and even lead to mold growth. So, replace these with double-paned hardwood versions. They can emulate the look but increase energy efficiency and durability.

Also, add some lighter sheer curtains during summer to provide more natural light. Replace darker-colored drapes with whites to make the room feel airy and larger. Linen, blackout, and velvet curtains are also popular options. You can even spruce it up and find ones with patterns, like florals.

How to Upgrade a Historic Home

Historical homes have rich characters and distinctive elements. Features like staircases, fireplaces, and crown molding can make your home more unique. However, modern upgrades can increase your space’s functionality and aesthetic appeal. Consider these ideas for modernizing your house without compromising what makes it unique.


 Evelyn Long is a Baltimore-based writer and the editor-in-chief of Renovated. She publishes home decor advice and product roundups for readers in spaces both big and small.

Ultimate Home Maintenance Checklist to get Your Ready for Autumn

As much as we enjoy summer and wish it would never end, autumn always comes around. For some, it’s even their favorite season. What’s not to like about pumpkins and colourful leaves? The problem is that autumn also brings with itself a host of problems. It’s important that you take precautions to make sure that the autumn weather won’t cause damage to your home. Here are some examples you should watch out for.

1.     Keep the gutters free

They might not look the part, but your home’s gutters serve a very important role in protecting your house from the elements. They help divert water from your roof and spread it evenly across your garden and backyard. At the same time, they also keep a lot of the debris from staying on the roof or damaging the walls beneath them.

During most of the year, cleaning the gutters isn’t much of a problem. You rid them of leaves and debris every once in a while, and they remain clean. However, autumn is a bit different in this regard. You have to give them a thorough clean and de-clutter them a lot more often. The combination of heavy rains and a bunch of leaves falling will inevitably clog the gutters. This will cause the water to pile up on your roof and it can easily spring a leak. Because of this, you need to make sure that the gutters are regularly cleaned and maintained before the start of autumn.

2.     Check the roof for damage

Every autumn, you can expect a lot of rain to grace your home’s roof. It might be designed to withstand rain and hailstorms, but that doesn’t mean your roof is completely impervious to damage. It’s not uncommon for the occasional shingle to crack or fall off after years of use. This small bit of damage might not harm your roof during most seasons, but it’s going to be hard to ignore when the autumn rains begin.

Leaks can cause a lot of damage to your home. Even if you disregard the loss of heat through the leak opening, you still have a lot of stuff to deal with. Mould can accumulate on your attic walls and damage them. Not to mention, mould can also cause health problems if it’s allowed to grow and spread.

3.     Drain the hoses

Garden hoses might seem like they should be fine on their own, but the weather can cause them some significant damage. There will always be a bit of leftover water in your hoses, even after you turn off the tap. When the weather turns cold, this water can freeze and cause the hoses to burst, possibly damaging them and the faucet.

There are a couple of ways to help keep them safe. For one, you need to make sure they’re completely drained from any excess water. All you have to do is press them from one end to the other. Afterwards, you should roll the hoses up and keep them inside your shed. This will prevent them from getting too cold when late autumn arrives.

4.     Make sure your plumbing is functional

The colder seasons put a lot of pressure on your plumbing. During autumn, the cold temperatures might cause water to expand in some of the external and internal piping, damaging them. This is further exacerbated by the fact that you’re going to start using more hot water than usual. Once the warm summer days are over, people are more likely to quit their cold shower routine, because it gets really cold.

Dealing with the pipes isn’t going to be easy. It’s not a job you can easily DIY. This is why a lot of people look for hot water heating experts to help them during the autumn. It’s a lot easier than opening up the walls and trying to check things out by yourself. Professionals have better tools and diagnostics that can figure out where a problem might manifest itself.

5.     Keep the lawn fed

Different seasons require different care products for your garden and lawn. During autumn, you should take great care in preparing your lawn for the upcoming harsh weather. Since the temperature is about to drop, have to make sure your garden is well-fed.

Autumn is the perfect time to add some fertilizer to your garden and lawn. Plants tend to suffer through the late autumn and winter, which is why they might need more nourishment than usual. Adding fertilizer twice during this season should be enough to keep the plants alive and healthy.


Autumn is a turning point of the year. The weather shifts to dramatically colder temperatures and you’re left with a host of problems if you aren’t prepared. Because of this, you need to know exactly what awaits you during autumn. Make sure you take all the necessary precautions to protect your home and you’re going to have smooth sailing from here on out.


Home Improvement – Managing The Water Pressure In Your Home

It may seem strange to think that there is a reason to avoid high water pressure in the home, but whilst low pressure can be a massive issue in terms of running your water based appliances, you will find that high pressure is actually really dangerous. Continual checks need to be made to ensure that the pressure in your home is at a safe level, or you stand to risk spending hundreds of pounds on repairs, as well as risking larger issues, like exploding boilers! The water pressure in your home will usually be dictated by the water supplier.

You will no doubt find that water suppliers need to regulate the pressure of their water supply in order to maintain their own needs. For instance, a pressure of around 100 psi may be needed to get the water from the pipes under the ground, up to the top of a tall block of flats, but the regular household only needs a water pressure of 80 psi. Some water supply lines will have pressure as high as 150 psi, which can be pretty dangerous. It is worth getting a gauge that can be fitted to a hose stop to test the pressure that you are receiving form your water supplier.
Home improvement - Managing the water pressure in your home.
If you think it worth having a better understanding of it, and want to get to the bottom of any pressure related problems that you are having, then it may be worth getting a resettable tracking gauge, that records the range of pressure variations that you receive. This is incredibly useful if your leaks or ghostly flushes come at night, as the pressure that is delivered to your water supply can vary overnight, and a tracked gauge will show you when such things happen.

It is essential that you monitor and fix a pressure overload should you find one, as pressure building up in the plumbing can lead to serious damage to your whole plumbing system. If you think about the plumbing as a closed system, then you will no doubt understand that the weaker spots will be affected by too high an increase in pressure. This is obviously going to result in leaks throughout the house, which will seem unconnected, though they are all due to pressure issues. You may also find that the toilet flushes of it’s own accord, and that taps leak suddenly.
Home improvement - Plumbing Managing the water pressure in your home. 2
You can fix the pressure coming in to your home to a manageable psi by fitting a simple water pressure regulator. These mechanisms will ensure that the water coming in to your house is at a safe pressure, and will save you a lot of hassle in terms of damages and call outs to the plumber in mystery repairs! You should fit your pressure regulator at the meter, as then you will also be protecting the irrigation systems in use throughout the house.

Hot water systems are another cause of high pressure, as when water is heated, it expands, which leads to increased pressure in what we know is a mainly closed system. You will find that this pressure causes strange leaks in the same way that supplier pressure can. A thermal expansion tank is the answer to these issues, as it can accommodate the extra load of pressure applied by the heated water for when the hot water is running. Ensure that your home has these pressure prevention devices if you are concerned that your leaks may be down to such issues, and you should be well set to get fixed up and leak free!

Should you have a dry or slow blockage, where the basin is draining slowly, then there are other methods that you can apply. If you can’t be bothered to go out and get proper sink unblocked, you can make up a cocktail for unblocking the sink. Try pouring a table spoon of baking soda, a cup or so or boiling water and a decent few glugs of vinegar down there. You will see that the reaction is a fizzy, frothy one, that should bubble away at the blockage with a combination of carbonated action, acid and heat, which will speed up the reactions that the other two are using against the blockage. The hope is that the fizzing of the baking soda will whirl the acid in the vinegar around, as it breaks down the blockage. The pressure of the water sitting on top of it will push the blockage down, and you should find that the sink is cleared fairly easily. If not then it may be time to get the pipe cleaners out to see if there is something hard stuck in there.

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