5 Practical Tips for Remodeling Vintage Homes in Chicago

The city of Chicago has an amazing history dating back to the year 1837. Even today, when you go exploring old neighborhoods, you’ll come across several vintage homes. Some of them like the 175-year-old Clarke House and Noble-Seymour-Crippen house in Norwood Park are possibly older than the city. However, know that, over the years, these structures have gone through several renovations (and, well, relocations). Even so, you’ll note that each new owner took care to maintain the original charm and spirit of the old houses.

If you’ve recently bought, inherited, or moved into one of these masterpieces, you’ll likely want to update and upgrade them according to modern standards and conveniences. However, when you start planning the project, proceed with care to preserve and enhance the original elegance and, of course, integrity. Ready to learn more about remodeling vintage homes in Chicago? Let’s get started.

1. Find Out All You Can About the Original Landscape

Before you think about making any real structural changes, you’ll want to do a little research into the location where the house is located. If you look at the history of the city, you’ll learn that it was originally a swampy marshland and stands on what early architects called, “a great jelly cake” thanks to its peat-rich, organic soil. Chances are, that you’re also not aware that parts of Lake Michigan were filled in to accommodate the growing city. You should find out about the original plans of the house and how the builders laid the initial foundations before you start your renovation. For example, if you plan on installing a swimming pool, make sure you get an expert's opinion on the condition of the soil. Plan your remodeling project only once you know what you’re working with. 

2. Explore the History and Backstory of the Origins of the House

When planning your remodeling project, you’ll want to prioritize the vintage curb appeal of the house. To make sure your home retains the vintage look, you can look at the real estate history to see what the house originally looked like. A good place to start would be the U.S. Geological Survey, books and other resources that trace the building styles of the period. You’ll also learn about the moldings, proportions, and building materials used during that era. Take care to plan renovations that will restore the elegance and spirit integral to that particular time.


3. Take a Look Around the Neighborhood

If you’re not sure about the particular era that your house belongs to, take a walk around the community. Of course, your best bet would be to call in an expert on remodeling vintage homes in Chicago. You might learn that Prairie Avenue District is dated from 1870 to 1900 and includes ornate elements in the revival style. Or, that the Astor Street District has several architectural styles such as Queen Anne, Georgian Revival, and Richardsonian Romanesque. Accordingly, you’ll choose fixtures and other decorative items that blend in with the original themes.

4. Remember, Recapturing the Essence of the House Can be Challenging

Working with a vintage house can be challenging. Possibly because building styles, materials, and designs were quite different in past eras. Modern-day homes have lots of appliances that were unheard of at the time. For instance, a vintage kitchen might not de designed to accommodate a dishwasher, microwave, fridge, and other gadgets. You might also find it hard to replace simple fittings like faucets, door hinges, and moldings with parts that have the antique look and finish. Prepare to spend weekends searching for just the right fixtures in old antique stores. And, that’s not all. Often times, you’ll find that remodeling ideas need to be reworked when a load-bearing wall cannot be removed. Or, that fitting a window into an exterior wall by cutting a hole is too expensive. Here’s another example. Finding building materials and woods with finishes similar to the original installed in the house could be really hard.

5. Details Matter

Whether you’re taking up a project for remodeling vintage homes in Chicago or renovating a recently-built house, perfection and the ultimate appeal lies in little details. Finishing touches can make a world of difference in the final ambiance and look of a home that welcomes contemporary sophistication without taking away from its historical essence. Bringing in expert contractors ensures that all these little details are carefully considered.

Renovating and remodeling a vintage home can be challenging when you want to restore the curb appeal of the house without compromising its original appeal or the theme of the entire neighborhood. If the dimensions of the project seem overwhelming, it makes better sense to call in contractors who have the necessary expertise to handle such tasks. Contact us at Augustyn Remodeling Inc. and we’ll come by to take a look. We have extensive experience in restoring vintage homes at prices well within your budget. Click on this link https://www.augustyncorporation.com/contact/ and let’s talk some more.