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What style of home can certain elements go with?

Hi all,

I'm about to become a first time home buyer and the plan is to buy a fixer upper. While this will not be a long term home there are certain elements from my childhood home (a 1903 craftsman) that I absolutely love and want to integrate in a remodel. In the area and price range I am looking a majority of the homes are mid century. Some of the elements I am considering are exposed beams, shutters and built ins. Of course I could incorporate these into any home but I was raised that it is important to have the elements of a home match the era and style that home was built in (modern touches allowed of course).

Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated. One of the considerations with the remodel is keeping it cheap but high quality, doing it ourselves and adding value to the home.


Re: What style of home can certain elements go with?

When remodeling a home first make it the home you want and will enjoy living in. You are thinking about resale and since you think this will be your starter home, keeping resale in mind is good, but it is still your home to be comfy in.

My first rule is to look for adding or fixing up timeless elements using good craftsmanship. Real hardwood floors, six panel or similar doors, wainscots, crown molding, generous baseboards and window trim and are elements most homeowners like and can be found in homes of any time period. Well-built cabinets in a shaker style or simple raised panel are also more timeless than more trendy styles. Built-ins exposed beams and shutters can be found in homes of many time periods.

The houses built in the seventies are the ones people most decry and make fun of. In part this was because they were too trendy and often lacked good craftsmanship. I know because I live in one in a neighborhood built in the 1970’s. Nearly every house on the block has been remodeled and updated – no more harvest g old and no one plans on going back to that 70's style. Hardwood floors have replaced shag carpet and the plaid wallpaper and paneling are gone – except for one house because the owners love 70’s style.

Most people with an old house do not really wants to go back to a real period kitchen. I remember both my grandmothers creating absolute feast out of tiny kitchens with little counter space and no dishwasher. I don’t know how they did it. So when it comes to the kitchen and baths, you want to make them solid, functional attractive, neutral and keeping in style with the rest of the house. Stay away from trends that will be dated in the construction. If you like a trend or trendy color, use it in something easily changed out.

If you look at the home remodels done by the TOH readers contest and some of the kitchen and bathroom galleries on the TOH site, you can get an idea of styles that keep showing up because they are classic.

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