The United States Department of the Interior outlines four approaches towards the treatment of historic properties. Below are the four different approaches.
Preservation: This focuses on the repair and maintenance of the existing historical materials and the retention of the form of the property as it has evolved over time.
Rehabilitation: This acknowledges the need of altering or adding to a historical property to meet the changing or continuing use better while retaining the historic character of the property.
Restoration: This depicts a property during a particular period in its history, while getting rid of evidence of other periods.
Reconstruction: This recreates non-surviving or vanished portions of the property for interpretive purposes.
Now that the four approaches have been introduced briefly, it is now time to examine them in detail and how you can use them to guide your home remodeling project.
You would opt for preservation if you would like to take a snapshot of your home as it exists currently and preserve it for the future. Using this approach, you will do the necessary repairs of building systems and materials; say repairing a broken window or adding a fresh coat of paint. With preservation, you are essentially stopping the clock on your home right now. If you are considering preservation as a home renovation project, it will be much fun and will bring back memories of times past. Preservation is the simplest home renovation project since all it involves is maintaining the look of your house as it is currently. This means that you will never have to spend extra money to make any modifications such as say changing the color or the design of your home.
Rehabilitation gives you the most amount of leeway for your home remodeling project. It lets you update the content of your home but still respecting its character. Rehabilitation will include an addition of new rooms to accommodate a bigger household structure. For instance, if you have children and especially girls who are getting into their teens, you may have to add more bathrooms and bedrooms for privacy. Similarly, if you previously lived in a one-bedroomed house, you may have to add more bedrooms once you have children. On the other hand, you may have to add more bedrooms in case you marry a spouse that has children from another marriage. Simply put, rehabilitation gives you room to be as flexible as you may wish to be with the remodel and make as many changes as necessary.
A restoration is a great approach especially if you have a home rich in history. It might be a house designed by a great architect of previous years or may simply be the one your grandfather from over four generations ago used to live in. With a home remodeling project that adheres to the principles of restoration, you are seeking to restore the home to a particular time in history. With restoration, you might be looking to restore the house to the condition it was in when the great grandfather of past generations used to live in it. Restoration does require a bit of modification especially if the house had been adapted to modern use. However, all modifications will be worth it in the end.
Reconstruction focuses on building something new in the same fashion as it was built originally to help people understand the historic materials and techniques that would have been used. A home renovation method that follows reconstruction involves the creation of something new where something else would have stood in the previous times. For instance, you might discover that your garage was once a carriage house and, therefore, you decide to reconstruct your garage in the style of a carriage house. Reconstruction home remodeling projects are a great way of integrating the new with the old and make for amazing designs.
The four main approaches towards the treatment of historic properties have spawned a new generation of home renovation projects. You can use any or all the four approaches to guide your home remodeling project. Always remember that you are under no obligation to follow the four approaches to the letter and you are always welcome to add in your own modifications. Happy remodeling!