Renovating Historic Homes

When it comes to southern charm and historic homes, Savannah, Georgia tops the list. Renovating historic homes is definitely in fashion here in Savannah. Many of the historic homes located in Savannah date back to pre-Civil War days and the reconstruction era that followed. These magnificent homes offer a wide range of architectural styles from Federal and Greek Gothic to Italianate and Victorian Regency. Sadly, many of the old homes were slated for demolition, forever lost to history until the Historic Savannah Foundation stepped in and managed to restore and save some while selling others to those who had an interest in preserving a part of Savannah’s history.

Is renovating a historic home right for you?

Documentation on Savannah’s historic homes is readily available and easily found. This research will answer many of your questions – date the house was built and by whom, any prior renovations, and previous owners of the home. You also will discover if there are specific guidelines that must be followed for renovations in the home you have chosen.

After you’ve done the research, ask yourself if the home is worth renovating. A thorough professional home inspection can help answer that question. In most older homes, unless a fairly recent renovation has been undertaken, the electrical and plumbing systems are not up to current codes and will need upgraded. This is typical in restoration projects. As long as the basic structure of the house is sound, renovation should proceed smoothly. Be prepared, though, that renovating some of these older historic homes can take months, if not years, to bring it back to life.

What parts of a historic home should be changed first?

Deciding what to change about the house and what to keep will largely depend on local guidelines that must be followed and the general condition of the house. Whenever possible, the exterior should be restored to its original glory, maintaining the look and feel of earlier times while blending in with the neighborhood. The interior is only limited to your imagination. Any outstanding features — such as marble mantle pieces and graceful grand staircases — that can be saved only add to the historic ambience and value, and actually do blend well with modernization.

What is the difference between renovation and restoration?

Take a stroll through Savannah’s historic district and visit some of the wonderfully restored and renovated homes to get an idea of what can be accomplished with your home. Keep in mind the differences between ‘renovation’ or ‘rehabilitation’ and ‘restoration’. Restoration is putting everything back to its original condition with no modern conveniences. The majority of homes from that era were not equipped with electricity or indoor plumbing! Renovation and rehabilitation, on the other hand, means upgrading with all the modern amenities we have all come to expect.

The final, and perhaps most important, step is finding a contractor both knowledgeable and experienced in the renovation and preservation of historic homes. One who has built their reputation on uncompromising quality while completing the project on time and on budget is priceless. Empire Construction of Savannah GA handles renovations, restorations, and new builds in both residential and commercial areas.