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198 virginia remodeling older house

Remodeling Older Houses – Deciding What Stays & What Goes

Many first time buyers are turning to older homes with lower prices in order to make their first purchase in the market. The savings they hold from the purchase are being turned into investment dollars as they prep to remodel and update the homes. With pending updates and design ideas coming together, what are some aspects of older homes that should be kept? Do any of those older designs and styles actually add value to the home and would stripping them away actually decrease the value?

In Virginia, home improvement on older houses often requires more than just satisfying our own creative desires, wants and needs. Some of the best work done on older homes almost always involves preservation of existing elements through restoration.

To do this and keep some measure of old style with the new updates you’ll be making you should take the time and look through the home. Make a list of those things that you won’t be changing. Here are some of the common elements that just about any homeowner should preserve in an older home (unless damage, age or some other factor requires replacement).

The Floor Plan

In older homes we often see a very logical design in the way that rooms flow together. There tends to be a very strong interrelationship between the foyer, parlor, kitchen and secondary entrances in the home. For all intents and purposes, the layout and floor plan is quite practical and workable even for modern updates. In many cases, homeowners who want to update the floor plan wind up with a confusing mess by changing walls and the flow of the house.


In the last decade, the cost of quality work has soared.As such, the quality and character of the typical work that is done in most common remodels is plummeting – especially for homeowners that don’t work with an experienced and quality general contractor.If the stairway in your home as original balusters, rails and newel posts then in it’s in your best interest to strip them down and restore them.You simply can’t get that kind of craftsmanship anymore without paying top dollar.If they’re loose then find appropriate ways to stabilize them that won’t detract from the look or style.

If you’re dealing with badly worn treads, these can usually be remodeled and replaced easily, just make sure that the piece you use matches the style and color down to the ornate details if you have any. A staircase is a key design element in many homes and they are specially crafted to match and enhance the architecture of the home. They are well worth the extra dollars to conserve and restore them.


Up until about World War II, moldings and other hardwood trim stood as important design elements even in small, unassuming houses in large subdivisions. Most baseboard and window trimming were made of a wide stock, and they were applied with moldings to add shadows and other bolder three-dimensional effects in a home. In the late nineteenth century cornices were heavy and dramatic. It’s hard to find that kind of decorative trim work in homes now. Most new builds and even remodels use cheaper composite or other low-cost wood materials.

If your home has older wood elements, then you should know that these are very much worthy of restoration. If they’ve been painted over the years then take the time to strip the wood down. From the base you can either choose to stain it a deep or light color or apply your own kind of paint after years of blemishes have been removed. Virginia home improvement is about more than knocking down walls when it comes to older homes. Sometimes it involves restoration to bring beauty from simplicity.

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From 2006-2018, Paragon Remodeling, Inc. received national recognition as a Top Remodeler by Qualified Remodeler Magazine for their outstanding home remodeling and construction services in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.


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