Historic Renovation

Historic renovation and re-use are particularly delicate forms of architecture. They demand active research and a desire to understand a building's contribution yesterday as well as its potential contribution in the future.

The historic renovation of homes and buildings has become a very popular movement across North America. The National Trust for Historic Preservation provides grants and guidance to organizations and individuals who are interested in renovating and/or preserving historical buildings.


Hartford, Conn. / Northside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance, Inc. The Victorian Lady was constructed in 1890 as a single-family home in the then-affluent neighborhood of Asylum Hill. The Queen Anne-style home drew the attention and admiration of its neighbors, among them Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Preservation Easements:

For property owners looking to permanently protect their historic properties, one of the most effective legal tools available is the preservation easement a private legal interest conveyed by a property owner to a preservation organization or to a government entity.

Some Simple Guidelines to Follow when Restoring or Renovating Your House:

  • Try to retain the original character of the house - don't "over-restore" the building.
  • Pay attention to details.
  • Try to stick to materials that were used when your house was built.
  • Keep elements like color, flooring, within the same historical period as your house.
  • Understand and respect as far as possible the original uses of rooms.
  • If fencing your property, look at genuine old fences, observe the way they are designed and constructed.
  • Garden design will best complement your work on the building if you keep it in period with the house. Use plants and garden layouts of the time.
  • Additions and alterations should be in the manner and materials of the period in which your house was built.
  • Remember that it's a house, not a museum. Live in it and enjoy it and, at the right time, pass it on to someone else.

Additional Resources:


This Old House

Ian Evan's World of Old Houses