At Steller Construction, our experts are often asked about renovating and preserving historical homes, buildings and other structures. Here are some popular questions.
We understand that this can be a difficult decision, especially when looking at costs. We tell our clients that preserving heritage and culture are priceless! We truly believe that and our work is testament to that belief. We stay as true to the original design and materials as possible while at the same time preserving history for years to come.
It generally has to do with the intended use of the structure. If an owner wants to use the structure in a different way but still wishes to maintain its history and look, we will often renovate to make the home or building work for its new use and bring it up to code. Preservation is generally related to keeping a structure’s original look and feel without doing extensive renovations to the interior or exterior.
Our Steller team has undergone extensive training in historical renovation and preservation. We meticulously follow the standards set by the UNESCO World Heritage Center. We study the original structure in-depth and review photographs, floor plans, architect renderings and whatever else is available to understand the original form and function of the structure. Then, we scrutinize the materials used in the original structure. We look at how those materials aged, and how we can best replicate the structure using materials available today. We work closely with architects, contractors and others to ensure the structure’s integrity is foremost throughout all stages of the renovation or preservation.
Absolutely. While we are thorough and thoughtful with all of our projects, historical structures do require additional planning and scrutiny. We need to understand the materials used, the electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems and how to bring them to code, and we also need to carefully plan how to retrofit the existing structure to a possible new use. There is an extra layer of detail needed to ensure that the integrity and history of the structure remains, both inside and out. It’s also important that we bring all our partners on board to share the vision – contractors, architects, etc. Finally, as with any project, we must plan for any site limitations or restrictions.
Many historical properties are subject to review by a board or other organization related to historic structures. The municipality in which they’re located might also have codes or other limitations we need to consider, such as colors or materials. Finally, working on very old structures inherently comes with limitations. A 200-year-old floor repair may not be able to withstand modern refinishing techniques, for example. So we’re always finding new solutions to the limitations these old buildings present, and it’s one of the best parts of our work!
In most cases we can open the walls or otherwise access mechanical systems to bring them to code without affecting the look and feel we’re trying to preserve. Sometimes we need to get creative, and build new structural elements to hide certain systems we are bringing to code. We make these elements look like they’ve always been a part of the structure.
Finally, sometimes historic structures come with materials such as asbestos or lead paint that are not allowed today. We’re trained in how to remove these materials safely.
It’s easy, just call 614-987-8609. We’ll put you in touch with a member of our Historical Preservation and Renovation team and they’ll take it from there.