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Jkath Design Build + Reinvent / Cabinet Shop  / Complications in Renovating a 100-Year-Old Home
Twin Cities foyer renovation with curved staircase and dark walls.

Complications in Renovating a 100-Year-Old Home

Renovating a home that’s over 100 years old can be both a rewarding and a challenging experience. Historic homes, with their unique character and charm, often come with a set of complications that modern homes simply don’t have. Here at Jkath we have dozens of homes in our portfolio that are more than 50 years old, some are 100 years old, or more. Our team has won the Historical Renovation Award two consecutive years in a row from Midwest Home Design Awards.

Historical home renovation, built in 1922 in Macalester - Groveland neighborhood.

Preservation on Princeton

A picturesque neighborhood in St. Paul, with most homes built between 1886 – 1930. This was was built in 1922 to be exact. Macalaster-Groveland was linked by the first street car to downtown St.Paul, making this a very sought after neighborhood to call home. Present day it hosts multiple colleges, making this a walkable college town between the Mississippi River and notable Ayd mill Road. There is a mix of empty nesters and a large turnover to young families looking to improve the character of these old homes, variety of architecture. This historic renovation earned Jkath an award in 2022. Read more here.

Structural Issues

One of the primary complications in renovating a historic home is dealing with structural issues. Over time, foundations can settle, and wooden structures can rot or be affected by termites. Addressing these problems can be costly and time-consuming, often requiring the expertise of structural engineers and specialized contractors.

One of the primary complications in renovating a historic home is dealing with structural issues

Outdated Electrical and Plumbing Systems

Older homes were not built to accommodate modern electrical and plumbing needs. This means that outdated wiring and pipes will likely need to be replaced to meet current safety standards. Upgrading these systems can be invasive, often requiring walls and floors to be opened up, which adds to the complexity and cost of the renovation.

Older homes were not built to accommodate modern electrical and plumbing needs. This means that outdated wiring and pipes will likely need to be replaced to meet current safety standards.

Lead Paint and Asbestos

Many homes built a century ago contain hazardous materials like lead paint and asbestos. Lead paint, banned in 1978, can pose serious health risks if not handled correctly. Similarly, asbestos, commonly used in insulation and other building materials, must be removed by professionals to ensure safety.

Preservation Requirements

If your home is listed on a historic register, you’ll need to adhere to specific preservation guidelines that dictate what you can and cannot change. These regulations can limit your renovation options and may require you to use specific materials or techniques to maintain the home’s historical integrity. Many homes on Summit Ave, St.Paul are preserved.

Finding Skilled Craftsmen

Finding contractors skilled in historic home renovation can be another hurdle. Modern builders may not have experience with the traditional building techniques and materials used in older homes. It’s crucial to find craftsmen who understand the nuances of historic architecture to ensure a successful renovation.

How to Refresh a 1920’s Home, Mixing Modern and Traditional Design Styles

With an entire main-level gut and rework we were able to reuse some of the existing architectural details of this home. We found inspiration in the current dining room hutches as well as the oversized archway’s at the entry of the home. While opening up the entrance, we added an archway to connect the dining room and kitchen to create a seamless transition between the two spaces. Read more here.

With an entire main-level gut and rework we were able to reuse some of the existing architectural details of this home.

The Pros and Cons of Renovating a 100-Year-Old Home

If you are a historic home owner or a home renovator looking to take on a project of this magnitude, it’s essential to understand both the pros and cons before you begin.

PROS

Character and Charm: Historic homes offer unique architectural features that are hard to find in modern constructions. From intricate woodwork to charming facades, these elements add significant character and charm.

Quality Materials: Many older homes were built with high-quality materials that have stood the test of time. Hardwood floors, solid wood doors, and hand-crafted details are often found in historic homes.

Potential for Increased Value: A well-renovated historic home can significantly increase in value, especially if it retains its original charm while meeting modern standards.

CONS

High Costs: Renovating a historic home can be expensive due to the specialized skills required and the need for high-quality materials.

Time-Consuming: The renovation process can be lengthy, particularly when dealing with unforeseen complications that arise once work begins.

Unpredictability: Older homes can hide many surprises. From hidden water damage to unexpected structural issues, the unpredictability can add stress to the renovation process.

In Closing

Renovating a 100-year-old home is no small feat, but with careful planning and the right expertise, it can be an incredibly rewarding project. Understanding the complications and weighing the pros and cons will help you make informed decisions as you bring your historic home back to life.

Ready to start your renovation? Reach out to our team of experienced professionals who specialize in historic home renovations. Together, we can preserve the past while building a future filled with character and charm.

If you’d like to discuss a future design or renovation project, let’s connect!

Sharing a few recent projects we think you might like:

Palace Avenue, Fairmount Avenue, Riverwood Place

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