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City Guide 2014

Owner’s Guide for Rehabbing Older Homes

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Middle: Now that you’ve fixed the high priority issues, you can think about the fun stuff on both the inside and outside of your house.

You can expand the area where the new kitchen will go but don’t remove walls without consulting an architect, structural engineer or a good framer who knows how to transfer the loads for your new room.

Can’t afford all of the changes for the house right away? Plan for any future additions before getting too far into your project. Yes, you can have that second bathroom, or bigger kitchen, or even a master suite. The mistake you do not want to make is to “undo” something in the future because you didn’t think it through initially. Have a master plan, which outlines both your ultimate design, and any necessary phases to fit your budget. Be willing and ready to get help. There are many qualified professionals, architects and contractors who know what to do and can make the best use of your money. Don’t forget that the Office of Historic Preservation at the City may have a review process to help you make good preservation decisions.

All the energy, frustration and hard work are well worth the final result: a great house with unique features that reflect you. Repair that porch and those windows. Paint the walls and trim. Refinish those floors you fell in love with and even install that swing. Now enjoy that new old house!

Sue Ann Pemberton, FAIA, President of the San Antonio Conservation Society, is also president of Mainstreet Architects Inc. and a Senior Lecturer in the College of Architecture at the University of Texas—San Antonio.

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