Doing Up A Piece of History: Character Home Renovations

character home renovations perth

Period and character home renovations have been trending in Perth for a number of years. They offer home owners an opportunity to reinvigorate the authentic character, charm, history and enhance the value of their home in many ways. But there are some important considerations that you need to know if you’re about to embark on a character home renovation project.

Many character homes have been lucky enough to have been spared of the 1970’s and 80’s “upgrades” where most of their period detail and the charm of the building was striped. Particularly in older Perth areas such as Mount Hawthorn, Mount Lawley and Nedlands where the potential of a period fixer upper is capturing the hearts of many home owners.

We’ve been renovating homes across Perth for over 20 years, many of them with heritage features so before you leap into your character home renovation take the time to check over these tips to help you get a pay-off that could last a lifetime.

Understand what you can and can’t change in a character home

One of the most vital considerations for renovating a home with history is finding out what you can and can’t do.

Some properties are government heritage-listed which may come with certain restrictions on what you can alter or add to your home.

“The biggest nightmare for character home renovations can be the planning regulations regarding heritage overlay in an area which can dictate what can and can’t be done on the property.”

Before you commit to any home renovations, make sure that you check this off with your local planning authority as you may run into issues that could prevent you from demolishing, adding a second storey or simply altering certain fixtures or features on the front of your home.

If you this didn’t get covered off when you purchased your home, it pays to get onto it so that you know exactly how much freedom you have with your design planning.

Use design features that work practically and sympathetically with your home

The key to transforming your old darling into a fresh contemporary home is by having a clear vision of what you’re trying to achieve in terms of design and functionality.

When renovating character homes, it’s not only important to consider how the new design features will work practically and sympathetically with your home, but also how you can also add to your bottom line.

Of course, with any character home we want to keep, and if possible, accentuate the character features of the property.

For most people this means adding in modern fixtures and fittings such as modern taps, range-hoods, ovens and light fittings so that you get that clean modern look and feel but also enhancing the beautiful period features such as the decorative cornices, floor boards, stained glass windows, fireplaces, ceilings roses or archways.

Character home renovations don’t necessarily have to stick to its original heritage roots from top to bottom but if you know how to work with the period features of your character home, they can become a feature of your property and bring forward the charm of your home.

It’s a great opportunity way to bring together the past and the present. Blending old and new can look fantastic and is as functional, of course, as any modern home.

Adding a second storey addition or extension to a character home

If you’re planning on extending upwards or outwards, there really is no right or wrong answer when it comes to getting the balance right between old and new.

In the era of period style homes, people used their houses very differently to how we use them today. This means that they don’t necessarily meet our living expectations, such as open plan living, with modern kitchens and living spaces that extend out in to the outdoor entertaining spaces.

In terms of any home renovations or extensions you may be planning with your character home, there’s a few ways you could go about this.

A lot of our clients have opted to retain the original home and build an extension that mimics the same style, while others have gone with a contrast and left the original home but added an ultra-modern second storey addition or rear extension.

Keeping in with the same style of your character home can be done with a very sympathetic extension. In fact, this can be so seamless it can look as if the property was always that size and with no trace that an extension was ever added. This kind of extension works in perfect harmony with your existing home.


Heritage second storey addition and home renovation

Second storey addition added to a period style home in Nedlands, Perth to create a seamless look. Courtesy of Nexus Homes


If adding a home extension in keeping with the original house is not really what you had in mind and you’re prepared to look at something outside the box, then there’s always the more modern style of extension that many character home owners are now starting to embrace.

This is really a marriage of older, period home meets modern urban extension. If your game for this type of home addition, then there’s more options open to you and many different looks that you can incorporate into your home renovation.

Nowadays, the coming together of period style property with a modern addition is creating some fantastic looking bespoke properties that really capture the eye.


Modern second storey addition and home renovation

A modern second storey addition and home renovation on a period style home in Como, Perth. Courtesy of Nexus Homes.


So, whether you’re wanting to be highly sympathetic to your property or wanting to completely transform it and give it a completely new urban look and feel, then it’s worth sharing your ideas about what’s possible with an architect, or renovation builder/expert that’s had plenty of experience. Before you commit to any home renovations, you’ll want to know the pros and cons of your design ideas and ensure you not only create a beautiful and functional home with a new lease of life, but also increase the value of your asset.

Home renovations that redefine your character home

With any character home renovation project, think long term and get your design planning and budgets aligned up front. Well-located character homes, particularly in Perth and Australia as a whole, are often the offices of lawyers, practitioners or accounting firms. So, while they offer you the potential of being a show stopper, modern functional home, it does show the value potential of your property and its architectural legacy.

If you’re thinking about embarking on a character home renovation, make sure you put in the time and research into your reno and seek the guidance of a specialist who has experience in heritage renovation projects. Nexus Homes Group have been helping families across some of Perth’s most heritage filled suburbs embrace and reinvigorate their character homes for modern living. If you’d like to talk through your design ideas, budgets, expectations and requirements for your character home, you can book in a free design consultation here and discover the possibilities for your period home.