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Home Restoration Puts New Life In Vintage Homes

Home Renovation | Madison WI | Westring Construction, LLC

Throughout Southern Wisconsin classic farmhouses sit ready for a home restoration – bringing them back to their original appearance while including today’s energy-efficient and safe materials.

There’s a vast selection of classic architecture throughout Madison WI and Dane County and home restoration has taken on significance as people appreciate its value. Home owners, in efforts to bring back the traditional and respect its history are putting more thought into their overall home renovation and home remodeling plans.

Whether you’re a new owner of a vintage home or have lived in your 1950s – 1960s era house for decades, there’s a detailed process involved in making changes. Begin by understan

ding exactly what you want to do – define the project.

TIP FROM A PRO — Renovation and Restoration are not the same thing. Restoration involves bringing a home back to reflect the period in which it was built – it can include using materials and effects from that time. Renovation may include these things, but it also includes adding new features and new technology. In most cases your project will become a mix of the two – adding new technology to update your home without changing the character of the building.

Remodeling and Renovation aren’t exactly the same, either. Renovation often stems from the need to repair, update or restore existing structures while remodeling means changing what you have an replacing it with something different.

Home Restoration Requires Special Care

Older structures need special attention when evaluating the potential for any significant changes. There are older building materials, older pipes and heat ducts, older insulation and building methods that don’t comply with today’s up-dated building codes and regulations. Older homes can be filled with surprises. Home renovation offers opportunity to customize a home while returning it to its period roots. The thought of a major commitment can be daunting. Where do you begin? While each home restoration is as individual as the character of the building, there are basic steps in the planning process that impact every project, including:

Home Restoration | Madison WI | Westring Construction, LLC

Houses like this “rambling ranch” are in great demand. Whether you’re new to the home or been a long-time resident, a successful home restoration project requires patience and planning.

  • Focus on function – the most important aspect of any project is making sure the plumbing, electrical, heating and ventilation is all safe and working properly. These elements will most likely need to be brought up to code in the first stage of any home renovation. Insulation, windows, the roof and all the interior systems are what keep you and your family safe and comfortable so they must be the highest priority.
  • Out with the Old – vintage homes often come with vintage problems – lead pipes, asbestos and lead-based paint to name a few. There are many resources available to evaluate the environmental hazards an older home might contain.

TIP FROM A PRO — If you’re new to the house, go slow. Before you get excited about redoing the kitchen or bathroom, remember you’re about to do something that’s not easily undone. Explore your personal “retro style” and see what’s available that fits it. Experience the seasonal shifts in weather and light before you add or take out windows, for example.

  • Think Harmony – the existing kitchen may be “dated” but so will be whatever you do in a few years. Plan your home restoration around modern materials and products that work with the original architecture. While many of the older homes in Madison WI and Dane County are not “officially” historic, they have character that reflects their origins and it’s worth preserving.
  • Think of the Box – kitchens always get the most attention when planning a home renovation, but it’s better to think of the whole “box” first. Start with the roof, the windows and the outside walls. Make sure the structure is water-tight and isn’t leaking cold air in and warm air out.
  • Embrace Technology – the latest in technological advances in hearing, air-conditioning, plumbing and electrical installation has been positive for home restoration. Today’s systems can fit into existing structures without tearing out the classic designs that make the home so attractive.

TIP FROM A PRO — A fresh coat of paint is your friend. Consider painting a room – use off-white or something neutral – that will lighten an area so you can “see” the space better before you decide on knocking out walls or replacing cabinets. If your house has vintage wallpaper, don’t just paint over it or take it out before researching its value – some wallpapers are collector’s items!

Get Started On Paper

The process of home restoration, home renovation or remodeling all starts with a vision. And lists. Walking around the house, sitting and staring at wall and windows provides insights into what you want from the existing space – envisioning what it will look like when it’s done. Before going to your home renovation specialist, develop a comprehensive plan of your own – the professionals will tweak it and make it workable, affordable and overall “doable.”

During the early stages, make lists. These lists should include:

  • What you absolutely must have
  • What you really, really want
  • Features that would be nice but aren’t essential

In another section of your planning notebook, provide suggestions on how long you expect a home renovation to take and how much you’re willing to invest. Understand that from the beginning your timeline is very changeable and that older homes offer problems and opportunities as the process unfolds. Underneath those old walls are unforeseen problems – wiring and plumbing issues, water damage and mold are common. Unwrapping the original architecture can also uncover additional opportunities. There are always ideas that come up – “while we’re at it…” – featuring suggestions to make the project a bit more unique or better. Those few words, while offering exciting options, are guaranteed to make sure your budget takes a hit.

Rely Upon Experience

After you’ve created your ideal home restoration plan and made your lists, team up with a professional contractor with the experience in restoration, renovation and whole home remodeling. Westring Construction LLC has the expertise and experience to review all the options for every home renovation project anywhere in Dane County and surrounding areas including Sun Prairie, Waunakee, Middleton, Verona, Fitchburg, McFarland, Cottage Grove and Stoughton.

Call Westring Construction LLC at 608-441-5435 or email us for a home renovation plan or a home restoration to return your Madison WI home to its original form.

Madison Trust for Historic Preservation

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