Considerations Before Remodeling an Old Farmhouse


People decide to buy and live in an old farmhouse for various reasons including charm, nostalgia, and distinction. These historic buildings often require work before moving into them. To remodel an old farmhouse, the process moves from the structural aspects to the interior design of the old house. Depending on the age and condition of the old farmhouse, each step might require extensive or minimal attention.

  • Decide if you want to restore or remodel your old farmhouse. Restoration focuses on maintaining and preserving much of the original building, construction techniques, materials and colors. To remodel an old farmhouse, new and modern upgrades and features generally take precedence over preserving the old aspects of the house. Once you decide to restore or remodel, you begin to narrow the types of services, contractors, and suppliers you need.

  • Learn about your old farmhouse. Do some research and detective work to learn about your farmhouse. Discover when it was built, when additions were added, who owned it, and any possible unique features. Find out what parts of the house are original and what was added, changed, or updated over the years.

  • Address structural stability. With appropriate guidance from a structural engineer or a historical structural engineer, determine the structural repair needs of your old farmhouse. Consider the foundation, roof and beams. Address the structural before moving on to other aspects of your farmhouse.

  • Consider insulation throughout the old farmhouse. Depending on the type of original construction and the age of the farmhouse, there may be very little insulation. Evaluate how to upgrade the insulation through added wall insulation, new windows, weather stripping, and more.

  • Fix plumbing and electrical issues. Bring in plumbing and electrical contractors to evaluate the plumbing and electrical situation in your farmhouse. Extensive upgrades may be necessary if they have not been updated since the home was built. For homes remodeled in recent years, the work may be minimal.

  • Address walls and floors throughout your old farmhouse. Evaluate which walls need to repair or replace. Consider what work needs to be done to the floors. Replace flooring or parts of flooring as needed. If the old floors are in good shape, just clean and wax them. Pull up any old carpeting and remove or replace it.

  • Determine how to design and decorate the interior of the old farmhouse. Address paint, wallpaper, lighting, closets, cupboards, furniture and accessories. Some aspects are easiest addressed before moving into the house. Others can be determined and finished after moving into the old farmhouse.

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  • This Old House
  • Creating a New Old House: Yesterday's Character for Today's Home; Russell Versaci; 2007
  • Renovating Old Houses; George Nash; 1998
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