Homes + Listings

Design inspiration, project news and latest listings from the High Street Homes team

Remodeling a historic property: what to salvage, what to change


Today we had a pinch me moment, seeing our Fairmount Foursquare featured in Rue Magazine. That project changed us so deeply and took us on a wonderful journey of being bold and saying yes (more on that in the coming weeks)!  We are so grateful to Rue for telling our story.

As I read the article, it took me back to the beginning. Not to the excitement that came with purchasing the home, but the moment dressed in our deconstruction gear with tools in hand. I remember, as we worked alongside our guys to deconstruct the house filled with bed bugs and piecemeal plumbing, I was adamant about salvaging every item we removed. Nothing could go; we could save it all.

As I paced back and forth on the back porch, looking at every removed baseboard, crown molding, door and window, wondering how I could put the house back together, I realized something important. Sometimes you can't save it all. I was in over my head and I was so afraid of getting rid of something and losing the character of the home. To make sense of the situation, I quickly prioritized which items would make the biggest impact and would cost me the least to restore. 

Windows: We loved the character of the original windows, however many of them were covered up, so we exposed them to capture the natural light. Our statement window over the kitchen sink was given a quick sand and stain, then relocated to fit the new kitchen reconfiguration. It required very little cost on our end, and gave the new space depth and character.

Doors: I fell in love with the original doors, I liked how they tied together the deep color of the kitchen window and created interest to the light stained floors. As we opened up the space and created new rooms, I made sure to repurpose the old doors. It made the new rooms feel as though they had been there all along.

Floors: One of my favorite ways to embrace the history on an old home is by restoring the original floors. Our floors were not ideal with large discolorations and various species of wood. Rather than stain them dark in order to conceal their imperfections, we decided to go lighter and let them be a story piece throughout our house. 



I've been reminding myself more of this lately, the biggest impact comes through small thoughtful changes. See a massive transformation from the library area of our living room. For more photos and stories check out the Rue Magazine.

Brett Phillips