I have found that there are many types of Historic Home Owners and that they usually fall into groups that often have to do with their approach to historic home restoration and preservation. I will say that there is no exact wrong way to go about a restoration aside from ripping out original features just to make something open concept or painting original unpainted woodwork. However I think it is up to the homeowner to decide what they want there historic home to be because in the end it is the owner that has to live in the home. So I pass no judgement on someone’s approach unless it’s harming the home or it’s neighborhood.
These home owners are the ones who have homes that we sit back and admire their dedication and resources. These homes are the ones that are restored exactly back to when they were built. Like a time capsule, the homes belong to the Purist would fit directly into the exact decade when they were built. The home owners often research their home so that everything is socially/economically/historically correct. For them this is a lifestyle and they dedicate so much time and money towards their home.
These home owners are similar to the Purist however there is a difference. While the Purist is based strictly in the historically accurate designs, the dreamer will create rooms/designs that never would have been in their homes. Many times they over improve the house or make grand gestures that are amazing but not always historically accurate. I admit I sometimes do this. Turkish corners, bedrooms fit for royalty, bathrooms that look like they could be from a roman bath, and replica 1950s themed kitchens are all examples of these. Sometimes it is amazing and other times it looks like a weird interpretation of what we think the past should look like.
The Average Joe
This is your run of the mill historic home owner. They resore and preserve their home but it is not what I call a museum. Sure they have antiques and they do maintenance on there homes but they aren’t looking to make everything exactly like it was in what ever era they are restoring to.
This home owner I 100% sympathize with. They buy or inherit an old house and usually are just starting out. The house usually is a farmhouse or old bungalow that has been stripped of much of its details or has been in rough condition for a long time and has not had an update since 1972. Usually it involves refinishing wood floors, repairing the main staircase and renovating the 1950s-1970s kitchen or bath. But in the end they make a big impact with very little money spent.
The B and B
These people have a plan. Step 1: find a large old house with plenty of bedrooms that is in a location where people will want to stay. Step 2: restore the home and come up with themed rooms that either are based off of colors, authors/ artists, previous owners, time periods, or flowers. Step 3: finish off a separate space for the owner to live in. Usually this is an attic, servants quarters, or carriage house. Step 4: open for business for guests and small weddings. I honestly love people who open their homes to the public in this way. Every chance I get I try and stay in a B&B. I wish the Crow’s Nest was big enough to do this.
The Ancestral Home Owner
Another home owner I relate to. These people inherit a family property that has been in their family for multiple generations with each generation leaving a mark on the house. It is up to the newest generation to clean up and restore the family home and pair back many of the collections. Luckily these home owners usually have amazing documentation and information.
The Farmhouser/ HGTVer
The farmhouser is the trend setter. This can also be the cabiner or the warehouser. It is what is currently trending and it seems to create a fad that lasts a decade or so. Currently it’s Joanna Gaines with her simple traditional yet modern farmhouse look. You will see a traditional element often done in a modern way or materials.( Aka shiplap everything, transitional iron colored fixtures, and exposed brick). It’s more of a renovation then a restoration. Often they bring a old house to a more modern standard. There is nothing wrong with this approach but I worry that eventually it might looked dated.
The Flipper/ Capitalist
Okay I’ll pass judgement here. This old home owner doesn’t always understand the difference between restoration and renovation. The idea is to not spend money and simply fix what’s broken with little care to what the character of the house is. The other common thing done is removing features of the house and reusing them in unexpected/inappropriate ways. They rip out original bathrooms for stark white subway tile. They paint original woodwork white because it “brightens” the space. They make everything open concept but maybe they replicate the Victorian baseboards or trim to keep it looking consistent. Those little quirks that make a house unique often get squared away and lost. When someone does this the only good thing that comes from it is I hope they donate the historic material to a salvage center.