This is the start of a new series every Friday entitled “Tips for Historic Homeowners”! These will be short posts every week to help you start thinking about how to maintain, restore and enjoy your historic house.
Tip #1 Keep Private vs. Public Spaces
The recent trend of large open floor plans in homes today has led to many historic homes having their walls knocked down willy nilly. Historic homes traditionally had a greater separation of public and private spaces. Public rooms such as foyers, living rooms, dining rooms, or parlors were given more expensive finishes like nicer wood floors, picture rails and crown moldings. The private areas of the home such as bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms, meant mainly for the occupants use, were given less formal finishings and ornamentation.
Before you begin tearing down the walls of your historic home to make a new great room or open kitchen/living area, consider some period appropriate ways to give your house a more open feel without totally destroying the hierarchy of these spaces.
- Find out the architectural style of your house.
- Look for pictures of that particular style to find options for different interior layouts.
- Use half walls and architectural elements like built-ins to delineate rooms.
With a little research and creativity, you can find a period appropriate way to get a more open feeling in your home without losing its historic integrity. It’s up to you!
Have you done a project like this? What worked for you and what didn’t? Comment below and share your experience.