We love Victorian homes. Built-in the late 1800s and early 1900s (during the reign of Queen Victoria), this architecture is a style of its own. Gracious, modestly ornate, solidly built and practical, these homes have stood the test of time. They’re old gems that deserve to be restored to their former glory.
Sadly, the period features of the Victorian homes haven’t always been appreciated: sash windows, tall skirtings, decorative woodwork and ornate ceiling medallions have been ripped out of these old beauties and replaced with cheap, modern alternatives in an effort to bring the home ‘up to date’.
Today, we better appreciate the significance and beauty of this period of architecture and restoring a Victorian house has become a goal for many homeowners. This doesn’t mean you have to live in a museum piece either – there are plenty of ways to celebrate this traditional charm without compromising your contemporary lifestyle.
FIND THE RIGHT TEAM
An old home renovation is no job for a beginner! It’s important to enlist the help of a professional who can advise and help you at every step of your renovation journey. When you decide to renovate a Victorian house, it can be challenging to find the balance between maintaining the right amount of traditional charm and ditching the features that don’t matter or don’t fit into our modern lifestyle. And this is where a professional renovation team can help you decide what to keep.
LESS MAY BE MORE
Victorian houses have a simple, timeless elegance that says volumes. Homes built in this era were designed for everyday living: they were generally practical and modestly spacious for their time. However, if your home has stuffy, cramped rooms and narrow passageways, why not consider removing some internal walls to marry the spaces and create open plan or communal living zones that are better suited to your lifestyle?
When planning your renovation, don’t cram your space or detract from the classic design charm by introducing too many new colours or furniture installations. Focus on space and functionality.
There are several features of Victorian homes that really stand out. Here are some things to focus on when planning your renovation:
- Sash Windows
Victorian homes were typically fitted with simple sash windows. If your home still has its original windows, repairing and waterproofing them is essential. If you are installing new windows, why not opt for double glazed ones? – they’ll improve the energy efficiency of the home while restoring a good dose of original charm.
- Re-discover the Floorboards
Even if the previous owners of your property have put carpet through your home, there’s a high chance that the original Victorian floorboards are underneath, just waiting to be restored! Even badly worn floorboards can be repaired and polished, so seek professional advice on the best way to tackle this challenge.
- Highlight a Ceiling Rose
Ceiling medallions are a great period feature to celebrate! If yours have been removed, you may wish to re-install one of these beautiful centerpieces to add that extra touch of Victorian charm. Why not draw attention to the ceiling rose or ornate cornice by painting walls or ceilings in a bold or moody colour?
- Re-install the Fireplace
Buildings from this era often boast one if not two ornate fireplaces. However, if yours have been removed at some stage, it’s not a big job to reinstall this iconic feature. A modern gas fireplace can restore the old-world charm without the dirt, dust and hassle of the old wood heaters. Ornate iron fire surrounds and a timber mantle are all part of the look too, so be sure to choose one that ticks all the boxes!
- Stained Glass
Stained glass is another beautiful feature often found in Victorian homes. Stained glass door highlights are not only beautiful to look at: they maximize the amount of light entering the front of the home too.
Original stained glass windows are often found in the best home renovations, but the task of restoring these old beauties may be best given to a professional. Think twice before you throw away stained glass windows or doors – in most cases even chipped, faded or cracked glass can be repaired.
When planning a Victorian house renovation, North London homeowners should consult a specialist renovation team. When done right, a project like this is guaranteed to be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do!