Maintaining, protecting, and restoring historical homes and buildings can be highly rewarding. However, it is also a challenging process, as there are many additional concerns to consider with every turn.
Historical restoration is a calling. Those passionate about history and classical building design are more inclined to follow this path than their peers. Do you feel this calling? Do you know what it takes to follow through? Read below to learn a bit about what goes into a historical restoration.
Learning the History – and Condition
Before anyone can seriously consider a restoration project, they must do a deep dive into the history of the building. This requires understanding its history, architecture, and hundreds of other details. For example, diving into a restoration project without understanding what materials were used can create problems down the line – including potential damage to the building itself.
By taking the time to assess the history and condition of the building, you’ll have a better appreciation for what will go into a proper restoration project. Likewise, delving into the history of the building will inform you of other potential roadblocks, such as a historical society’s involvement.
Future Purposes and Goals
Another major step must be taken before ever picking up a single tool – understanding the future purposes of the building. This will help you establish your goals for the restoration project.
For example, it isn’t uncommon for historical chateaus to be renovated into stunning beds and breakfasts. While common, this change in purpose requires specific care and planning as new bathrooms are added, and privacy becomes an additional concern. The potential future use of a historic building will help define the level of work that will go into the project.
Maintaining the Building’s Character
One of the biggest concerns of any historic restoration project is ensuring that the building’s character remains intact. This should be the top priority, placed ahead of adding modern amenities. Sometimes maintaining this character can be as simple as protecting the building’s facade. Other times it requires experience in revitalization and rehabilitation. A skilled team that takes immense pride in restoring and preserving the work of their ancestors coupled with a local history society will ensure no small detail is missed.
Ideally, any committed restoration project should include at least one consult with a local historian or community leader. This will increase the odds of finding all vital historical information, making it easier to spot all the historical details of the building.
On a related note, most historical restoration experts say that one should save as much of the original building as possible. This is directly related to the history and character of the building.