10 Features of Old Houses Worth Restoring

brick fireplace restoration

Some people think the features of old houses are weird. We think otherwise. There are several characteristics of old homes that can and should be restored to bring the house back to its original style.

The following Instagramers have taken great pride in working on their old houses, and we are showcasing some of the most inspiring projects that you can tackle. Luckily, you can easily incorporate these elements into your home without giving up modern conveniences.

1. Stained Glass Windows

Many features of old houses were covered up or removed over the decades when styles changed. Kate and Zach from @victorianmkeduplex were lucky enough to find original stained glass windows inside their Victorian duplex walls.

2. Wood Windows

If you still have original wood windows in your houses, most old-house lovers will tell you to restore them instead of replacing them. Brianna from @1920craftsman recently took some time to restore some of the windows on her 1920s bungalow. Check out her highlights for more details on the process.

Credit: @1920craftsman

3. Subway Tile

Katrina and Mike from @thegalewoodbungalow had a feeling that there was something underneath their dated tile in the kitchen because there were sections where the tile bumped out. They were overjoyed when they found the original subway tile underneath the mosaic tile. The original tile work is in great shape and fits more with the style of the home.

4. Built-in Closets

One cool thing found in a lot of old homes is a built-in cabinet or linen closet. Unfortunately, many people ripped these out for reasons we don’t understand. Kate and Zach from @victorianmkeduplex recently uncovered a built-in cabinet in their bathroom that had been covered up with drywall. They are currently restoring it, so keep an eye on their Instagram for more details.

Credit: @victorianmkeduplex

5. Old Fireplaces

Old fireplaces have seen many facelifts over the decades, but none truly do justice to the original styles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A lot of brick fireplaces were painted white to look more modern. However, Liz from @laverne.on.owasso spent time stripping her fireplace back to its original stone. Look how much more character the fireplace has now!

6. Colonnades

Paige and Trevor from @hellohilltop are completely redoing their old house after someone had stripped it of nearly all of its original detailing. They recently found a salvaged colonnade that will go back where one used to be in the home. Colonnades are perfect for separating rooms and defining a space. Read our interview with Paige for more architectural salvage tips.

antique colonnade
Credit: @hellohilltop

7. Wood Doors

We love old homes that still have their original, unpainted woodwork. However, it seems more trim has been painted than not. Trying to strip all the trim in your house is daunting and not feasible for most people. However, you can bring the character back by tackling the wood doors in your home. Katie from @saltandrook stripped and restored the french doors in her Dutch colonial, and she wrote about the process on her blog.

8. Hardwood Floors

Some hardwood floors are easier to restore than others, but they are definitely worth restoring if possible. Maggie and Joe from @wilfredhouse meticulously removed paint from an upstairs bedroom, and the process was both inspiring and educational. Head over to their highlights on their Instagram to find out how they made sure to remove the lead from this beautiful wood floor safely.

Credit: @wilfredhouse

9. Picture Rail

Some features of old houses are rarer than others. Consider yourself lucky if your home still has its original picture rail. In most cases, old home enthusiasts are adding back the picture rail themselves. Get yourself some custom-milled picture rail like Lee Ann from @ladyonchestnut and save your plaster walls from unnecessary artwork holes.

10. Original Siding

Lastly, we recommend that the original siding on old homes be restored whenever possible. This project might not be feasible for everyone, and people who sell vinyl siding will likely try to talk you out of it. However, Shelly from @brass.bed.manor listened to her gut and removed the vinyl from her home, uncovering a ton of original architectural detailing. To see where she is in the process, check out her Instagram.

Credit: @brass.bed.manor

Old house interiors are inspiring, and they rarely feel dated if you incorporate the original style like Craftsman or Victorian. Many of the materials used in these old house features can be revitalized with a little elbow grease and time. Good luck!

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