Gordon Bock is co-author of The Vintage House: A Guide to Successful Renovations and Additions. As an architectural historian and former editor-in-chief of Old House Journal, Gordon is an expert on how people can preserve what is essential in their vintage home while making it work for the needs and demands of modern life.
The biggest mistake people make?
“Making changes right away. It’s counter intuitive, but I encourage people to put the brakes on and live in the building for a while, even up to a year. Look at the building, understand it better, especially if it’s more than 50 years old. If it has additions, some of that work may be good while some parts may be failing. You get to realize why it was built the way it was, as well as how it performs in summer and winter,” said Gordon. “If it’s 100 years old or older, it’s probably been almost two or three buildings over time. Previous owners have added on or changed features on the exterior. You might say, `This back door on the building looks a little funny. Why did they build it that way?’ With mechanical issues, you may assume you need a new boiler but maybe it’s fine. Maybe your radiators just need to be adjusted.”
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NOTE ON LEAD PAINT: To stay safe during home renovations, please refer to this excellent lead safety guide developed by the EPA.
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