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Historic remodeling in the modern world

October 29th, 2012 by Berit Griffin

One of the more consumer-oriented blogs that we like is Apartment Therapy. They have a series called Before & After where they cover small projects like renovating a dresser, all the way up to major remodeling projects.

Not too long ago, they featured this lovely kitchen:

Isn’t it nice? It’s especially impressive considering what was there before (bonus picture of the old bathroom):

Kudos to the remodeler! But many of the comments weren’t impressed with this kitchen (the post also features a bathroom remodel) in a Victorian house. They wanted more historical authenticity and were disturbed to think that the original sink hadn’t been incorporated into the new kitchen.

So that got us thinking: As a remodeler, how do you treat historical remodeling projects (on a home’s interior)? Is it worth it to painstakingly strip or paint old cabinets when you can get lovely new ones for perhaps a lower price? Do you encourage clients to explore modern design styles in an older house or do you point them towards period-appropriate designs?

For rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, are the rules different? Most of us would agree that we’ve come a long way since wood-burning stoves and chamberpots (the people who originally lived in an older house would probably agree too if they could see the latest technological innovations!)–so it it worth ordering extra cabinetry to hide the dishwasher? Or not getting a sleek glass shower instead of a a claw foot tub?

As a remodeler, how do you balance historical authenticity with modern conveniences? How do you counsel your clients? Or is the customer always right? Let us know your thoughts.

Images courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

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