A Victorian property is a piece of architecture to be treasured, but at over 100 years old, it can take a lot of looking after.
If you are considering renovation, you may be struggling with how to successfully reinstate period features. So here are some ideas to transform and update a Victorian property while retaining its value.
One of the most common issues in a Victorian property are old single glazed windows that are poorly insulated. However, replacing with standard windows will affect the authentic look of the exterior and could damage resale value. As with any improvement to a period home, detail is important.
Choose double glazed sash windows (like those available from Mighton Products) that are in keeping with the property but will also reduce draughts and heat loss.
Unless previously altered, these will likely still be lingering underneath carpets, laminate and lino. To achieve an authentic feel, sand and stain floor boards – this can either be done by hiring a machine or by bringing in a professional company – and finish with a statement rug.
When Victorian properties were built, almost every room would have had a working fireplace. Cast-iron installations were the norm, but as chimneys have been bricked up and central heating has been implemented, many have been removed.
One of the easiest ways to recreate period charm is to add a classic Victorian fireplace and surround, whether working or for show. Depending on budget, search for a refurbished original or a reproduction.
In the Detail
Many small details were used in Victorian decor, from wooden dado and picture rails, to deep skirting boards and cornices. When reinstating wood details, dado rails should be placed near the centre of the wall – they were originally used to prevent damage from chairs – and picture rails, about 1 foot from the ceiling.
In terms of plaster work, the most intricate cornices were found in rooms for entertaining, so focus on the living room, dining area and hallway.
If you wish to create a truly authentic renovation, then consider a roll top bath and brass taps in the bathroom, as well as an old fashioned stove and dresser in the kitchen. Or if you prefer a modern finish, install these features first to make sure you avoid compromising the value of the property, then have fun with design and colour.