A historic residence is a work of fine craftsmanship and high design with an intangible element no newly constructed home can match–a sense of permanence. But what passed for creature comforts generations earlier falls short today.
3.563.800 € EUR | Berlin, Germany | Berlin Sotheby’s International Realty
Vintage estates were built for a dramatically different way of life, says Michael Rankin, managing partner at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty who, over the past 24 years, has purchased 15 homes–and torn every one apart. Kitchens were in the basements. First-floor powder rooms were non-existent. Luxury homeowners demand residences designed for the way they live and entertain today, and they’ve found inventive ways to bridge the eras by reinterpreting the architecture of yesteryear.
Here are four things to consider when purchasing and renovating a historic home.
Tip #1 | Today’s updates are cosmetic, aesthetic, functional and structural.
State-of-the-art kitchens and spa bathrooms are a given but renovations extend beyond to incorporate quality-of-life amenities throughout the house. Homeowners want gyms, home theaters, outdoor entertaining spaces and smart home technology, and they’re not willing to give up on the historic homes they love in order to get them.
$9,995,000 USD | Washington DC | TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
Tip #2 | The older the home, the greater the challenges.
In France, for instance, 70% of luxury homes are historic, dating back not just decades but centuries. Some still have Roman foundations. “From a practical standpoint, one should never underestimate the challenges of restoring a historic home,” says Alexander Kraft, chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty France-Monaco.
Price Upon Request | Neuilly, France | Paris Ouest Sotheby’s International Realty
Tip #3 | A successful renovation feels cohesive.
Celia Dunn of Sotheby’s International Realty in Savannah, Georgia, says restoring a historic property requires an architect who has great eye and creative imagination to envision how to adapt a home for today’s families.
$2,900,000 USD |Savannah, Georgia | Celia Dunn of Sotheby’s International Realty
Tip #4 | Research is an important element of the renovation process in order to determine what is original to the home.
Janet Bloomberg a partner at Kube Architecture in Washington DC, a firm that specializes in historic renovations says a homeowner’s desire to preserve an architectural feature, which may be old but of no historical value, can impede a successful re-design. “When there are redeeming elements, however, we like to highlight them. We like people to see them in a new way such as an old fireplace in house that’s been opened up so you see it in the context of a larger space.”
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Content provided by Iyna Caruso exclusively for Sotheby’s International Realty for RESIDE® Magazine.