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Renovating an Older Home: Connecting the Past and Present

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Renovating an Older Home: Connecting the Past and Present

Lori Auerbach
Realtor- Vanderblue Team @ The Higgins Group

Photos of 939 Hillside Road in Greenfield Hill area of Fairfield, CT

Buyers should not discount the value of renovating one of the charming antique homes that make Greenfield Hill one of the most coveted areas in Fairfield.  Perhaps youve driven past one of these older homes, wondering what it would be like to step inside.  The surrounding grounds and landscape appear to be in perfect harmony with the home.  You love the architectural details that you have admired from a distance, time and time again.
And then it happens: The home is for sale!  You fall more in love with the charm, patina, and authenticity of the older home,  but your family yearns for the comforts of modern-day living. You dont want the cramped bedrooms, and kitchens and closed-off public spaces of an antique home,  but you cant possibly bare not owningthis piece of history.  How will you pay homage to the homes past and at the same time create a dwelling that has the functionality demanded by todays family lifestyle?
Be strategic. Hire an experienced architect who has a keen eye, creative imagination and experience restoring older buildings.  Find a contractor with similar experience, then develop a master plan that pays attention to the aspects of the older home that hold your heart while keeping the function of each space in mind. This type of renovation is more of a transformation.  You may need to remove existing walls and doorways or possibly even add additional square footage to the home.
Here are just a few points to keep in mind as you develop your master plan:
Know before you buy! Is this treasured period home located in a historic district that will require pre-approval of renovations?
Understand the style and period of your home and decide what key elements you want to maintain throughout the renovation process. Crown moldings, arched doorways, flooring, stairwell banisters & railings offer hints at the past. 
Kitchens and bathroom renovations, which often require new electrical and plumbing and the need to knock down walls and combine several smaller spaces, are often needed in older homes. To keep this renovation from looking disjointed, consider using some period looks for cabinetry and finishes, or swing the opposite direction: Modern lighting fixtures in the kitchen have become quite popular and may add an appealing touch of contrast.
Older homes come with older, drafty windows that will not offer your family much in the way of energy efficiency. You may want to keep a few of the beautiful old windows with their wavy glass windows, but manufacturers can build new windows that will closely match the original windows, therefore maintaining continuity on the exterior as well.
Renovating an older home is a big undertaking, but one that will keep the legacy of Greenfield Hill alive and dotted with reminders of the past.


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