Historic Home Renovations Use Modern Appliances

Historic Home Renovations Use Modern Appliances

Today the term historic home has different meanings to different people. Many associate the word with a home that has iconic design details worth saving. Others use the term to describe a home built or occupied by a notable figure.

For many, homes are historic because it is where memories are made. There are so many distinctive styles, from colonial to craftsman to mid-century modern; there are unique architectural features celebrated in the home. When embarking on a renovation project in a home with unique character, modern-day features come into play.

For any home modern conveniences are necessities:

Among those conveniences is a refrigerator in the kitchen. Prior to the 1920s, electric refrigerators were not commonly found in the home. Homeowners are not expected to keep to the historic period of the home when it comes to something as important as the refrigerator. A concern is how to integrate modern appliances and cabinetry into a historic home’s kitchen while maintaining the spirit and style of the home. The best option is to create a good balance between the historic design and modern lifestyle using refrigerators with the most current features and technology. HoweverRe, this still leaves the dilemma of marrying modern appliances with the home's aesthetic.

There are many opinions about the best approach to bringing modern refrigeration into a historic home. Options include using authentic, possibly restored, appliances, reproduction appliances meeting a certain design period, the full integration of the refrigerator into custom cabinetry, and the display of a modern refrigerator with a sleek, timeless design. Restored appliances must comply with modern safety standards. Reproduction refrigerators can be a great alternative though the overall capacity of the units is limited to the smaller footprint of the past.

One great option available to homeowners today is full integration within the custom cabinetry in the kitchen. The refrigerator can virtually disappear by adding customized panels and handles that will blend seamlessly with the rest of the kitchen.

Timeless design can be a key factor in refrigeration in a historic home:

Throughout the years, homeowners have not hidden their appliances from view, and today there is no requirement for full integration of refrigerators for those who want to simply incorporate the latest design into their kitchen. Stainless steel is the most popular finish today, perhaps because it is associated with professional kitchens. Choosing a stainless steel refrigerator with clean lines could be the right answer for many.

Beyond the love of historic features, market trends are also responsible for the increase in home remodeling and renovation projects. With inventory for move-in ready homes currently low, home-improvement spending is expected to reach its highest level in a decade by early next year, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Remodeling spending was expected to reach $325 billion by early 2017, according to the university’s Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity. This has led homebuyers to reexamine requirements and consider homes with great design features that are in need of renovation.

The renovation of a historic home is an opportunity to improve its energy efficiency:

Though homeowners may have to comply with a city’s building codes, and in some cases might face limitations because the building is considered a historic landmark, subtle to significant energy efficiency improvements are still an option. Products like radiant barrier sheathing can reduce energy costs by reducing the attic temperature by as much as 20°F without disturbing original design details in the home. Other options for the 21st century include geothermal heating and cooling and new insulation. Cost savings are available when purchasing a refrigerator that is Energy Star certified, like the Liebherr units that are Energy Star rated.

In a home renovation, especially of a historic home, owners often find that the original kitchen is located on the ground level in a very tight space. It is possible to preserve the home’s history while creating a kitchen that features modern appliances. This may mean relocating the kitchen to a different area, even a different floor, of the home to take advantage of square footage and natural light. Because the kitchen is often the centerpiece of the home it is important to choose a location convenient for both daily living as well as entertaining.

Certain limitations present themselves when tackling a historic home renovation such as the inability to move windows and walls. In one home, architects overcame a challenging layout by using two tall Liebherr units at opposite sides of the work area to resolve the situation and provide versatility to the kitchen layout. Great innovations like under-counter refrigeration can also be included in the design.

If the goal of a renovation to an older home is to retain the original character while bringing it into the current century, these are some of the options to consider. “People have different requirements when it comes to refrigerators and freezers – such as storage space, long-lasting food freshness, innovative yet timeless design, and the use of high-quality materials that ensure an appliance has a long service life,” said Josef Steigmiller, Divisional Director at Liebherr Appliances. Liebherr offers options for any level of integration: From freestanding stainless steel units that allow the homeowner to create a built in look thanks to their cabinet depth dimensions to built in to fully integrated.

Read more about home remodeling.


Topics: Appliances, Building Green, Energy Star, Home Design & Plans, Remodeling, Thermal Envelope

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