Retro to Rehabbed: How to Modernize an Older Home Without Losing its Charm

According to the U.S. Census, 30 percent of all housing units in Cuyahoga County were built prior to 1940.  Some of these older homes have retained their original historic character, including features that most new homes simply do not have. Whether you’re starting from the bones or just looking to improve your home’s aesthetic, there are many improvements that will modernize your home while maintaining its older home charm.

Before starting any renovation, it’s essential to get a handle on how much your remodeling dreams will cost. Developing a plan, setting priorities and getting quotes from qualified contractors will set the stage for a successful renovation. Keep in mind that older homes often have outdated plumbing and electric systems, which can present a safety hazard for you and your family. It is typically recommended to install copper pipes and bring the electrical wiring up to code as part of any renovation.

Once you’ve laid the groundwork, you can begin modernizing your outdated home. Start with an area of the house that first drew you to purchase it—clean or repair statement pieces, such as a staircase or fireplace. Try to restore before you replace. Hardwood floors and woodwork can be refinished without stripping it of its originality. Remove dated popcorn ceilings, re-grout tile, repair or replace old windows and conceal unsightly pipes and ductwork.

Bathroom and kitchen updates are always a smart move. Even if you can’t afford a complete remodel, minor changes such as replacing dated wallpaper, freshening up the paint, replacing old lighting and updating cabinet hardware will modernize a room without denting your wallet. You can enjoy your older home and retain its original style by adding some contemporary comforts. Happy renovating! 

The Cuyahoga Land Bank sells properties in need of renovation to qualified owner-occupants and professional rehabilitation contractors/investors and move-in-ready houses. Check out our available homes HERE.

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