Buying and restoring a run-down period home is a large and challenging task. However, it's also incredibly rewarding and can provide you with a beautiful home that has also increased in value dramatically. Before you dive headlong into ripping out old materials and stripping outdated features, it's worth exploring what beautiful original features the house has retained that can be restored to their former glory. Here are two hidden treasures that are commonly found in period homes.
1. Hardwood flooring
Before planning to buy new flooring for your restoration project, it's wise to find out what type of flooring lies underneath the accumulated layers of carpet, linoleum and tiles that have been added over the years. In many homes, what you may uncover is stunning hardwood floors, which were a common feature of homes built during colonial times.
If you do find hardwood floors, you'll be able to have them sanded and revarnished by a timber flooring restorer. This will leave you with an incredible floor that would cost you thousands of dollars to replace with a similar material.
If the timber has had linoleum, tiles or carpet glued on it, then your timber floor restorer may have to use specialised products to remove the adhesives from the surface of the timber. This will ensure that no damage is done to the antique hardwood.
2. Ornate fireplaces
Many period homes were built in a time when there was no electricity. This meant that the homes were heated by fireplaces that were present in both living rooms and bedrooms. As electricity became more commonplace and electric heaters replaced fireplaces, many of the original fireplaces were bricked, boarded or plastered over.
With some gentle excavation of covered chimney breasts, you may find the original fireplaces. If you're lucky, these may still have the beautiful and ornate surrounds and mantle pieces that were part of the original home.
Generally, these will be timber, but it's also possible to come across decorative pressed metal features. Both metal and timber fireplaces surrounds can be sanded, stripped and resurfaced with paint or wood stain to create a stunning and authentic look in your rooms.
Both hardwood floors and ornate fireplaces are valuable finds when restoring a dilapidated period home. They help to recreate the vintage charm and character of the original property and are a way of honouring and respecting the long history of your home.