Old / Heritage Homes
You are here:

Old Home / Heritage Home Renovations

Heritage home renovations are one of our specialties. There are a number of unique challenges with these old, beautiful character homes that require the specialized knowledge and out-of-the-box thinking that Dependable Renovations is known for in Calgary.

If you’re considering doing an old home renovation but thinking some things are impossible, think again! We believe that anything is possible. You might have to approach the issue from a different angle, but there’s a solution to every problem and we love a good challenge.

A Perfect Case-Study Renovation

This original 1911 home is an example. The client loved the location and the house, but needed more usable space and an overall interior update for their young family. The existing 105-year old foundation was crumbling beneath the house, and was unsafe—especially considering the client’s long-term commitment to the home.

They approached many contractors who told them to demolish the house but they wanted to retain the character of the neighbourhood and were determined to salvage it. We devised a plan to keep the existing home by moving it off of its existing foundation, excavating for a new concrete foundation, pouring a new 9’ basement, and moving the house back on top.

The challenge was an existing garage located in the backyard of the property, right where we needed to move the house in order to have room to excavate the front yard for a new foundation. Instead of demolishing the garage, we carefully dismantled it and stored the pieces off site; it was brought back and rebuilt after the home move was complete.

The house was meticulously moved off its original foundation and slid back 50 feet to rest on the existing garage slab. The crumbling 100-year old foundation was demolished and hauled away. We excavated the front yard and poured a new basement concrete foundation with 9’ walls. Once the foundation was complete, the house was moved on top, the new basement was fully developed, and the main floor was completely renovated to an open concept design, including a new kitchen, living room, powder room, and revised floor layout which maximized the space by reconfiguring the location of the basement stairwell.

The biggest feature of this home is a new full concrete basement foundation, something that is non-existent in homes of this age. Most century homes have minimal foundation concrete and many are built directly on soil and river rocks. The basement has been developed to include a laundry room, sewing room, dance studio, guest room, bathroom, and large rumpus/play room for the children. Nine-foot ceilings and large windows give it height and spaciousness rarely found in basement developments and never in houses of this age.

We completely preserved the ‘bones’ and exterior of the home and did not compromise the personality of the neighbourhood that is so often lost when an infill is put in. Many original finishes in the home were salvaged and re-used in the newly renovated areas, including wainscoting, metal heating registers, doors, door hardware and a stained glass window. The existing second floor was not touched and was completely unscathed during the home-moving process. The exterior of the home was left completely intact but was fully updated with a fresh coat of paint on the existing stucco, new stain on the front door, new windows, and a complete fencing and landscaping package. This century home is now completely sound top to bottom and will easily last another 100 years!

Not every old home can be saved. But it’s worth thinking about if your home and its unique character are important to you.

Benefits of an Old Home Restoration

Older houses are unique and have a charm you just can’t achieve with a new home. Restoring them to their former glory gives your family a beautiful place to live in that serves as a conversation piece in itself.

The downside of an older home is that it wasn’t designed to meet the needs of today’s families. Narrow, steep staircases and main floors that are divided into multiple rooms are no longer the norm.

Most people want the look and feel of a heritage home with the open space that allows the family to be together. Restoring your old home while reconfiguring the layout gives you the best of both worlds.

Challenges of Remodelling an Old House

Whenever you set out to remodel an old house, you have to remember that construction materials used in the past were different than those used today. You’ll often find asbestos or old wiring that will need to be replaced. An experienced contractor can tell you what to expect and how to handle the issue.

Many of these homes were built at a time when there were no building codes and they’ll have to be brought up to code during the remodel. And if you’re thinking of putting an addition on a heritage home and the home doesn’t have a proper basement, ensure the structure is properly supported before you begin.

The bottom line is that these homes are challenging to remodel. They’re a bit like a puzzle and an experienced contractor will be able to see how all the pieces fit together to help you transform your home.

Experts in Heritage Home Renovations

If you’re thinking of renovating your old home, give us a call. We’d love to visit, give you our ideas, and provide feedback on how you can achieve your goals.

Our team of experienced experts understands the intricacies of these truly special projects. We’ll help you through the entire process, from design through construction, until you get the home of your dreams. Contact us today!