As our home renovation inches closer and closer to completion, and we make some last minute decisions, we are constantly wondering, “Did we do this house justice?” One question we’ve asked ourselves again and again along the way is, “does the space still feel historic?” Our house was built in 1930. Which pretty much means it was being built in the late 20’s, right? Crazy to think of that, but yes, our house is old. Ancient by Phoenix standards. So we’ve been very careful as we renovate to not lose the historic charm. So what should you keep in mind when renovating a historic house?
GOTTA KEEP `EM SEPARATED
One thing we were very conscious of was to not open up the entire space. The open concept has become synonymous with modern new-builds as well as restoring historic homes. It’s just something we were’t comfortable going all in on. Yes, we certainly opened up some spaces, but we made sure to keep walls up to divide them. There is something still very charming about each room being it’s own. It’s cozy and comforting and keeps everyone together rather than spread out across the house. Our house has these dramatic archways when you walk in our front door that go to both the kitchen and dining room respectively, and we just didn’t want to lose that. We worked around it, made some big changes, but didn’t compromise on keeping the spaces separate from each other.
^^Photo above shows where our old laundry room used to be. The dark (original) flooring is where the dining room used to end. Now we have an open flow to the kitchen without a complete open concept, keeping a more traditional dining room in place.
DON’T GET CARRIED AWAY
When your renovating a house and everything is being ripped apart and there is debris everywhere, it’s easy to add a few things to your list that you maybe didn’t think of at first. “This place is destroyed, so let’s just do it now, so we don’t have to deal with this mess again in the future.” We’ve uttered that line countless times along the way and we’re definitely guilty of tacking on a few extras as we got deeper into this project. We did not however, deviate from our original plan too much.
^^The new vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom and French doors going out to the yard.
Truthfully in the end, there’s always going to be something else you could have done when renovating, but trying to stay focused on your original plan is super important. How do you want to live in the house? What makes your day to day easier? Etc. So what was important to us? Our bedroom and closet space got major upgrades in size (we needed that extra storage), and our dining room grew by about 5 feet thanks to the relocation of our laundry room (hello family dinners!), but we kept the style very clean and classic, inline with the original time of the home. In the end we want the space to feel fresh, and updated, verses and a modern flip.
^^Obsessed with the custom range hood we decided to go with through the same cabinet company we’re working with, Affinity Kitchens. Still waiting on countertops, backsplash, lighting and the rest of the hardware to go in, but we’re getting close!
DANCING IN THE DARK
Our electrician was really pushing modern lighting. He suggested adding a light that would shine on our mantle to highlight a piece of artwork. He also suggested adding LED strip lights under our open shelving. He meant well. He’s great at what he does, but we needed to keep repeating, “too modern”. We are big candle people. We always have our taper candles lit around the house just for lighting, our dyptique candles lit for scent, and lamps sprinkled around for nice, warm lighting. We very rarely have the “house lights” on. We’re all about natural light during the day, and mood lighting at night. There was no need to go overboard with a laser light show up in here. Keeping the lights feeling a bit old-timey is crucial for us to keep the historic vibe, so that’s what we did.
It’s crazy (and a bit alarming) to think that we’ve been out of our house for 5 months already. We still have a month or so before getting back in there, but it’s starting to get put back together again and we’re as giddy as you might imagine. Our guest house has been great and we can’t complain as we’re quite lucky to be able to stay on our property with no added expenses. Having said that…we’d be pretty happy to move back into our house…like….now! Be on the lookout for more home updates here, and follow along on Instagram and IG stories for sneak peeks of the whole renovation.
Have you guys had any experience with renovating a historic house?