I have some advice for those of you with means who are considering purchasing a historic home; keep looking.
In my experience, I rarely if ever see historic houses and/or buildings horribly remodeled by the poor. Neglected, often yes, but the structure and it's details usually remain intact. It takes people with money to replace windows, rearrange interior walls, "update" kitchens and bathrooms, build additions, etc.
Now things like insulation, high efficiency heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical updates obviously make sense in today's world, and those things can be done with minimal intrusion. I'm talking about esthetics here.
So here's a short, non-comprehensive list of things you may want to consider before buying a historic home:
- 1. If the house isn't quite big enough and you'd like to put on an addition, KEEP LOOKING.
- 2. If the rooms in the house don't have the "flow" you'd like, KEEP LOOKING.
- 3. If the bathroom isn't big enough for your Jacuzzi, KEEP LOOKING.
- 4. If you believe that new sinks, toilets and light fixtures will work better than the home's original fixtures, KEEP LOOKING.
- 5. If the "space" doesn't feel right it isn't your job to "fix" it, it's your job to KEEP LOOKING.
- 6. If you feel the need to do anything to the house that can't be classified as restoration and can't be easily UN-done later, KEEP LOOKING.
Sure, it's YOUR house and you can do anything you want with it. But if you follow these simple guidelines the odds of future owners cursing your name long after you're gone will be greatly reduced.