Home renovations are usually all about modernising older style homes – most often villas and bungalows. This usually means opening them up, adding on ‘out the back', ‘popping the top', adding ensuites and modern conveniences such as central heating, insulation and garages with internal access – all the while trying to keep the home in character for its era and neighbourhood. Often this means that while the character of the home is retained from the street front, there can be an architectural shift in style of 100 years from the front to the back of the building.
Another less common style of renovation is the ‘retro-reno,’ that is, one that takes a more recent building back in time to the style of another era. Why would anyone want to do that? There are two very good reasons. The first is simply a matter of taste or preference.
The second reason is to add resale value – particularly to a home of dubious architectural merit that has somehow found itself in a well- established neighbourhood of older style homes.
Property valuer, Christopher Boyd says that “re-cladding a home in a product like Linea Weatherboard as part of a refurbishment will add value to the property as long as it complements the theme of the upgrade.”
To see another great example of the level of authentic detailing that can be achieved with today's low-maintenance materials, such as Linea Weatherboards and HardiGroove® Lining, take a look at the Gillespie Home. Although this authentically detailed bungalow was built from scratch, these products can bring the same degree of authenticity to a retro renovation.
Read our article on 'Bungalow style'
Before embarking on a retro-reno, it would certainly pay to research the property market in your area to determine what style of homes are most popular and what commands a premium price. Gentrified inner-city suburbs have the highest concentration of preserved and renovated villas and bungalows and probably offer the most scope for a retro-reno of more recently built homes.
Remember that while potential buyers value a degree of authenticity, they are also looking for twenty-first century comforts. Almost any home built before 1978 is unlikely to be fully insulated, so a total makeover allows you to insulate walls, ceilings, under floors and to add under-floor heating, central heating and double-glazing.
Other features that today's buyers look for include:
- Good indoor-outdoor flow
- Flexible living spaces that can be opened up into large spaces or shut down into smaller cosy spaces
- Energy-saving features including soffits, solar energy systems, heat pumps and continuous-flow hot water systems
- Consistent interior detailing including doors, skirting boards, architraves, ceilings, mouldings
- Internal access to garaging
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