One of the wonderful things about Vermont is that it's full of incredible, historic homes. However, owning a home that's 200+ years old can come with it's challenges. One of our favorite projects was a historic renovation on a house built around 1780 - it was even part of the underground railroad! Here's how the Crown Point team brought this house from the late 1700's up to today's standards without sacrificing any of its historical class.
Not every old home needs a new well, but it's a component that should be checked for compliance. This one was working off of a spring that may have been as old as the flush toilet itself! Since we knew the property needed a new well and septic system we initiated the permit process right away. While we waited for permits we established the rest of our strategy.
The homeowner wanted to preserve as much of the original materials as possible to keep that historic charm. With that in mind, we identified what needed to stay and made a plan for keeping the good stuff: antique 4 panel interior doors, black iron locksets, and amazing wood flooring.
Renovating the Home's Roof
When it comes to keeping your home in good shape and your family warm and dry, the roof is critical. We took off the entire roof system, down to the second floor, and we completely rebuilt it: re-framed, sheathed, insulated, trimmed, and re-shingled.
Speaking of the roof, we also renovated a chimney to a 2 sided fireplace and the fireplace itself. We reconstructed it to meet modern safety standards, down to the mantle height!
Warming Up the Home
If you've never had a chance to sit by the fire on a cold January day in Vermont you don't know what you're missing. Unless, of course, there's a cold draft sneaking in! To warm things up we installed new windows and did a complete insulation upgrade. Our team used spray foam insulation in the old stone foundation to seal up the opening. Then, upstairs, we used a combination of cellulose and spray foam in all the wall cavities and roof system.
Electricity makes the world go round these days, but old homes typically have minor electrical upgrades to consider. In fact, many 200+ year old homes in Vermont still have two-prong outlets! We upgraded the entire electrical system, including the main service, and brought this home into the 21st century.
Remember that we saved that beautiful old wood flooring? We gave it new life by refinishing it, and installed classy ceramic tile in the bathrooms and kitchen. While we were at it, we reinstalled those classy four panel doors and re-built both the window & door trim to match the original.
Kitchen & Bathroom
Another common pain point in homes of this vintage is there is often only one bathroom. This house was no exception. To remedy that, we added a bathroom upstairs and tailored the renovation to the unique shape of the room. Next, we included subtle enhancements in lighting & layout to create the perfect balance of aesthetic and utility. This new bathroom also happened to be where the hatch door was for hiding people in the days of the underground railroad - we made sure to keep that gem!
In the kitchen we installed full height upper cabinets and stainless steel appliances. As is common in older homes, the house had experienced some settling in the two centuries since it was built. In order to level the cabinets (and windows & doors!) with precision we leveled the ceilings and worked down. For the counters we used period correct soapstone, including a farmers double-bowl sink to ensure the kitchen retained its historical charm.
While we were working in the kitchen & bathrooms we performed a full plumbing upgrade. To that end, we replaced the copper supply lines with PEX for longevity and better protection against breakage on those cold winter days. We also removed all the cast iron plumbing and replaced it with PVC to remove the risk of corrosion.
Renovating a beautiful old historic home can be a bit of work, but the result is priceless!
Ready for Your Historic Renovation?
Do you have a home that needs to be brought up to modern standards without sacrificing historicity? Send us a message about your historic renovation and we'll give you a call: