Architectural Elements Best Left Untouched in a Remodel

February 28, 2020

Some items in older homes should not be touched in a remodel, designers warn.

Homeowners should hold off on removing certain architectural details because they could be removing some selling points in the process.

“Architectural features that give homes distinct character should be left intact,” Patrick Garrett, a broker and owner at H&H Realty in Trussville, Ala., told realtor.com®. “There are home buyers looking for homes with unique features and older homes with character and charm.”

Realtor.com® highlighted several qualities in older homes that shouldn’t be touched, and molding was at the top of the list.

“On the inside of the home, the first things we salvage are the staircase, window trim, and crown molding,” Thomas Kenny, co-founder of Scott Simpson Design + Build in Northbrook, Ill., told realtor.com®. “The original molding, in particular, gives the home character and is usually crafted from high-quality materials that will stand the test of time.”

Stained glass is another feature that experts recommend keeping, and it can make a home more valuable. “Once you come across [stained-glass windows], you will remember them for a lifetime,” Anastasios Gliatis, CEO at Anastasios Interiors in New York City, told realtor.com®. “They also provide a spiritual, peaceful feeling, since they are identified with churches.”

Exposed brick walls are nothing to put a sledgehammer too either. Instead, make it the focal point of the room, says Laurie DiGiacomo, principal designer at Laurie DiGiacomo Interiors in Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J. “You should not remove exposed brick, because it lends a unique architectural element that brings texture and a rustic vibe to a space,” she told realtor.com®.

Don’t touch those doors either, designers add. Solid core and paneled doors don't compare to todays’ big-box styles. “Old solid-core doors, and often their metal elements like doorplates, are real gems,” Jonathan Self, a real estate professional at Center Coast Realty in Chicago, told realtor.com®. “You can't buy these with any amount of money, because the craftsmanship it takes to make them doesn't exist anymore.” Gliatis adds that preserving paneled doors that include brass knobs and hinges is particularly a smart move because they are expensive and difficult to find nowadays.

Read more older home features to preserve during a home renovation at realtor.com®.

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