Older homes are awesome!

Are you thinking about moving? Are the interest rates so low where you can afford an upgrade? If you love your older home and want to stay consider adding an open plan remodel with an addition off the back.

If your home was built in the ’20s and ’30s, and many beautiful neighborhoods were developed in that era, then your home is in need of an update to fit in with the contemporary lifestyles we live today. Most of these homes have a one-car garage and your rooms are small and divided with useless walls. The windows are small as well and provide little or no view of the outside living space and landscaping. Then let’s get busy and remodel!

Older homes are cool. They stand there proud and tall as if to say, ‘I have stood the test of time.’ They have so much history and character. The floors creaks and the lighting is terrible but when you walk into one you feel good some reason. The last thing you want to do is tear it down. But, taking out walls and creating an open living plan is not difficult to do. You just have to have the vision. Open up the floor plan and watch what happens to the room. Suddenly, you’re living in a bigger home. The room becomes much more livable and spacious and all you did was take out some walls and added a beautiful wood floor. You just introduced the living room to the kitchen and dining room. They have been living in the same house for fifty years and never saw each other.

Don’t stop there. Change out the windows and take them all the way to the floor if you can and let the sunshine in. This improvement alone will dramatically change the look and feel of your room. You can even add windows if you’re lucky. Older homes are notorious for having huge exterior walls with one window. A row of windows creates a beautiful and up-to-date look. I love windows so I’m always going to take you down the add more and better windows option every chance I get. Quality windows like Marvin or Anderson pay huge dividends in energy efficiency and beauty. I know they’re pricey but definitely worth it.

The downside of an older home remodel is – plaster walls. Ugh! Plaster walls are solid but the lathe and mess they create are tough to deal with and then you have to hire someone who knows how to plaster walls once you tear into them and move things around. On a messy and difficult scale of 1-10, dealing with plaster walls is about a 7. Tearing out the walls is about a 2, as long as it’s not a bearing wall.

The idea of creating a better existing home and then adding onto is a greener option especially if you love the neighborhood. There are plenty of options you can choose from when making the decision. Most of the older homes I have been to are two stories and finding the bearing walls is relatively easy. In my opinion, all the nonbearing walls are marked for removal. Once you have a drawing of an open floor plan the flood of ideas will emerge.

Recently I was in an older home in the Marquette District and it was one block off Lake Monona and the owners started their remodel with the front porch, of all places. It was stunning! Big and spacious and carried the entire front of the home. They added a drop screen so you could technically screen it in to keep the bugs out and the group of friends literally stayed on the front porch all evening. Two ceiling fans were added and it was wonderful. The inside of the home was under construction with almost all the interior walls removed on the lower level. Our guided tour showed an open floor plan with a very cool and classy kitchen with “x’s” marked on exterior walls where new windows were being added. The lots in this neighborhood are narrow and long with small detached one-car garages all the way in the back and you drive alongside your house and your neighbor’s house to get to the garage. Phase three of their project will include a teardown of the garage and a two-car garage will be built. You can also check the lacet-niederrhein mobilheim to know the kind of vacation home you can get.

That was a cool home and it inspired this reflection of it.