How to Make Your Historic Home Look Like New

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Aside from their charm, historic homes in Virginia are appealing to buyers because they are relatively more affordable compared to new construction homes.

In certain locations where buying a new house requires a significantly higher payment upfront, historic home renovation has become a trend. Millennials and younger generations are now buying old and making them look like new.

On the other hand, there are those who simply prefer to buy old houses with classic home interiors, as this connects them with the past and deepens their connection with their community.

And there are those who find pleasure in discovering historic homes, renovating them, and then “flipping” them for resale or to be used as rental properties.

Whatever your reason for buying, this article is here to guide you on how to make your historic home look like new. Let’s get started!

Understanding the Essence of Your Historic Home

Understanding the Essence of Your Historic Home

It will be helpful to know the historical context of your home before you start planning your renovation.

Carefully examine your home’s architectural style, shape, and building materials. Check the architectural details and identify any changes made on the construction materials, building style, or floor plan that indicate an addition or remodel.

Review how the property fits into the neighborhood. Homes with similar style and sizes could have been made by a common builder. Read the landscape and see if there are foundations of outbuildings or any evidence of property lines marked by trees or fences.

If you would like to know more about the people who lived in your home, you can search census data, deeds, and tax records. You may also check your local library for old maps, city directories, and copies of local newspapers.

Once you have collected all the architectural and historic data of your property, you and your contractor can start discussing a remodeling plan that can preserve the character and charm of your home.

Working With Skilled Professionals

It’s important to work with remodelers who specialize in historic renovation. The historic commission can help you find local remodelers who have extensive knowledge of the opportunities and restrictions for such a renovation.

These remodelers network with the historical commission and the inspectors, so they are particularly familiar with the guidelines and can help ensure a seamless process.

Preserving the Past in Modern Times

One of the things that make historic homes special is their unique and intricate structural and design elements, which are rare nowadays. These properties possess their own distinctive story and character.

Ideally, try to save and restore as much authentic material as possible. If saving the original material is no longer possible, use reclaimed or time-period accurate ones.

By maintaining your home’s unique elements, it gets to keep its story alive, and everyone is able to witness what life used to be like.

Modernizing Without Compromising

Focus on preserving the historic elements of your home, such as the original layout or high-quality woodwork or flooring, then bring in modern features that will improve its functionality and comfort.

Install new insulation, central heating, air conditioning, and new windows, and buy new pieces of furniture that reflect your own individual personality. Not only do these help to make your home comfortable, but they also make it energy efficient.

Rejuvenating the Exterior

Rejuvenating the Exterior

The exterior of your historic home creates the first impression on visitors. Having a skilled remodeler can help you create a historically accurate look that also stays true to your personal style.

Update the siding of your home to preserve its unique style while giving it a modern feel. Discuss with your remodeler what would be the best exterior paint for hot climate. There is a wide range of colors and finishes available, so you can create an exterior that fits your style.

Replace existing windows with new ones that have better insulation and UV protection. You can opt for wood framing if you want to achieve an authentic, historic look. You might also want to consider making the new windows slightly larger to allow more natural light.

Historic homes are known for having a spacious porch. Check how old your decking is and if the wood is rotting or splintering, invest in composite decking. Adding modern outdoor furniture or classic rocking chairs is a great way to combine the old with the modern.

How to Make Your Historic Home Look Like New


Renovating a historic home is no simple task and it is not going to be cheap either. However, this is one investment that will prove to be worthwhile in the long run, so take your time in choosing the right person to do the job.

If you wish to learn more about historic homes, feel free to give me a call today at (434) 960-0161 or send me an email at There are so many wonderful historic homes in Virginia, and I’m sure you’ll be pleased to see your options!

Frequently Asked Questions

Definitely! You can keep the original floor plan and layout of your historic home and add features that will make it more functional, comfortable, and energy efficient.

You may contact your local preservation society for help or check the National Register Database and Research.

Try to preserve as many of the elements that make your home unique and make changes only to improve its functionality, energy efficiency, and comfort.

Choosing the most appropriate materials for your historic home restoration requires expertise and some investigation. The use of authentic traditional materials is ideal to retain the character of historic homes but, in some cases, alternative materials may be appropriate.

This is where the knowledge and experience of a local remodeler come in handy. They will be your best source of information and guidance on how to decide on which materials to use for your home renovation.