To this day, the family home I grew up in is one of my favorite places. This 113-year-old beast of a house is overflowing with character and has gorgeous details from floor-to-ceiling. Apart from my appreciation for all things historic and beautiful, this house has helped me develop a deep interest in home maintenance and repair –you can imagine that there is no shortage of that when you live in a home of this age! 

Growing up, I was always the kid holding the ladder, passing my dad the proper size wrench, taking trips to the hardware store. I wanted to learn, and I found the work to be fun! The best lesson I learned was not only how to properly handle power tools, but how to properly care for an older home. 

How do you decide which task to tackle first in an older home? Replacing the knob and tube wiring? Raising up the front veranda before it sinks further into the ground? Re-insulating? New windows? The list goes on and on! Here are the four steps that my family and I have used for tackling those home renovations.

Step one: make a list. What needs to be done? Having it all laid out in front of you helps you to visualize what there is to complete, and then you can start prioritizing tasks. A good part of this step is to have a home inspection completed by a certified professional. Getting a professional’s opinion is never a bad idea!

Step two: think budget. Money is the biggest factor in home renovations. Always remember: the only thing that is guaranteed to happen during a home renovation is that some unforeseen expense WILL come up. Taking the time to sit down and sort out how much money you have to spend (including a contingency budget) will drastically improve the decision-making process. 

Step three: know your limits. Before you start swinging hammers, make sure you know what you’re doing. Do your research, talk to an expert - whatever it takes. And if you’re not feeling 100% confident, no problem! Better to get some help before you dig beneath the surface.

Step four: get to work! Renovations can be grueling, time consuming and can often cause a lot of stress. But if you’re careful, you plan ahead, you make a realistic timeline to follow, and you go into it with a good attitude, it can be a great learning experience, and in my case, create a lot of awesome memories!

There were many days my parents were so frustrated with the workload of an older home, and they almost threw in the towel. I’m so grateful they never did, because it’s true what they say - a little hard work always pays off.