Dezignare Interior Design CollectiveVol. 7.5

Maintain Your Homes Integrity
Unearth Architectural Gems for Added Value

(ARA) - Your home’s architecture defines the flow of your living space and your daily routines. Maintaining the original intent of your home’s space and design can positively affect your resale value. On the other hand, nothing can lower aesthetic value faster than dropping a new bathroom or kitchen into your home that doesn’t match the house’s original design.


A perfect example of this involves one of my clients who had a 1980s version of a Tuscan kitchen incorporated in her turn-of-the-century home. When her remodel was taking place, this style was popular, but the new room didn’t complement the home’s original design and has since contributed to devaluing her property.

Every Home is Historic Someday

Eventually, every home reflects some type of historic significance or value. A pristine home from the 1950s or 1960s has dramatically increased in value over the last few years. What was once sold for tear-down just a few years ago is now considered a candidate for historic preservation. However, if this home has been remodeled a few times over several decades, that usually means at least aesthetic devaluation if not lower resale value.

If you are considering a remodel, these three points from the U.S. Department of the Interior’s “Ten Basic Principles for Sensitive Rehabilitation” are helpful:

* Recognize all buildings as products of their own time.

* Treat sensitively distinctive stylistic features or examples of skilled craft work.

* Repair, rather than replace, worn architectural features when possible. When replacement is necessary, new material should match the old in design, composition, and color. The entire list can be found at

Determine Your Home’s Style

If you can do a little research on the elements of design from the general period when your home was built, that will help you add and blend in your remodeling to maintain that significance and aesthetic value. Today’s functionality can find a place in yesterday’s home if the homeowner respects the original design and builds in the new by blending with the old.

For instance, if you have a Mediterranean-style home, then building a Mediterranean-style bathroom is a great match. Blending the appropriate style with today’s functionality can be easy with such products as American Standard’s Reminiscence Suite. These new fixtures blend perfectly with that style, enhancing the already existing aesthetic. Further enhancing this décor are the wall finishes, antique buffet, window style and flooring -- expecting, of course, that the rest of the house also has this Mediterranean feel and that it represents the original architectural and design integrity.

Looking For Architectural Gems


Your home has the history of its design built into the existing structure. First, look at the overall placement of the rooms and the traffic patterns. Would you add a two-story great room on a two-bedroom rambler? Not unless the scale of the rest of the house can support such an addition. Scale and traffic patterns are critical to a successful remodel. Hint: Look for your original house plans or redraw the general size and placement of your rooms to help visualize scale. Computer programs such as Total 3D Home Deluxe can help.

Building Materials

Second, look at the building materials. How are the walls and ceilings finished? What is the molding and trim made of? As time has gone on, natural, handcrafted building materials have become more expensive. For example, if you have a home with plaster walls and quarter-sawn oak molding, these materials will be harder to find, but important to match in any remodel. Also, notice any materials change if you have a second or third floor. Hint: Check your garage, basement or attic storage, where extra original molding and trim may be stored, because original materials mean added value to your home.

Window and Door Styles

Try to replace windows with a matching style -- this is something that can affect both the interior and exterior aesthetics. If double-hung windows were used in building the home, they should be replaced with new double-hung windows. If you enlarge windows, make sure to do so from the exterior footprint. New doors should be of the same weight and style as the rest of the doors in the house. Hint: Check salvage yards and architectural resale stores to find matching doors, windows or storms. Another option is to have doors or windows custom-made to match.

Plumbing Fixtures and Appliances

Remember that most vintage fixtures and appliances may not meet today’s building codes. The trick here is to find fixtures and appliances that have period style built into them. Hint: Check out American Standard’s Web site, to find suites of products that help build styles of different decades in today’s homes. Some appliances allow a custom front panel to hide the new technology behind a vintage style.

Dezignaré Interior Design Collective, Inc.

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