Restoring an antique farmhouse is always a challenge full of difficulties but also a source of satisfaction. Giving new life to a home that, over the years or because it has been uninhabited, has deteriorated, implies great planning and a large number of actions. Knowing how to face the necessary reforms, respecting the essence of the house, is something that should be done with the greatest possible experience, professional technical advice. Here are some keys to make the process of restoring an antique farmhouse a success.
How to restore an antique farmhouse?
If we like it, the restoration project must have several permits and licenses to be carried out. It is essential that, before even planning the intervention at home, we ask the administrations what and what we cannot do. We will also inform you about the fees to be paid for the works. There are many houses with architectural and cultural value, which means it protects them. The good side of the coin is possible to receive subsidies of different amounts to carry out the reform.
The municipalities, by state regulations, have the powers over housing reforms. The distinction is made between ‘minor work’ and ‘major work.’ The first refers to reforms a technical architect or an engineer doesn’t have to participate, while in the second, it is mandatory.
Start with the basics
It seems obvious, but there will be no restoration worth its salt without analysis, as detailed as possible, of the structure of the house. This is where the architect plays a key role, who will be in charge of determining whether to reinforce pillars, install buttresses, etc. The need to improve thermal and acoustic insulation must also be assessed. The state of the roof will determine if it is necessary to reinforce it, or it is worth placing a new one. It is also essential to check how the water and electricity installations are. Both insulation and improvements in the operation of water and electricity supply systems must be carried out under the strictest energy efficiency standards. Not only will it contribute to the sustainability of the environment, but it will directly affect the consumption of the house.
The distribution of spaces
The distribution of the rooms falls within the planning when restoring an antique farmhouse. There will be some spaces that will be conditioned by the location of the pipes and downspouts. An integral restoration could also be modified. When distributing spaces such as the living room, the dining room, an office, or the rooms. It is essential to consider the orientation of the house with respect to the sun and the use that each space is intended to be used. Here the type of decoration we want to use begins to play an important role. It will be the ideal time to opt for open or closed spaces or to play with partitions and separations.
Less is more
Simplicity can play for us when restoring an antique farmhouse. If it has been manufactured in materials that are no longer used for new homes, but that gives it authenticity, we can use that in our favor and combine them with modern elements. All this without generating an aesthetic conflict between them, but making them complementary. That is why balance is a key part of the decoration of antique farmhouse. Instead of introducing much new furniture, you can rehabilitate the old ones giving them a better look or bet on a piece of modern design in a stone-walled room.
Tips on how to reform and rehabilitate an antique farmhouse
Steps to renovate an antique farmhouse. Have everything you want to do a well-defined
#1 Reform plan.
Collect ideas from magazines, internet photographs, etc., where the things you want to do at home appear.
It will always be more comfortable to explain. A picture is worth a thousand words and reduces the risk of misunderstanding. That way, it is easier for you to know your style and the type of finishes you want.
If you have not clearly defined what you want to achieve, each company that goes to your home will budget what it seems to her and will give you a solution according to your interests.
You will have different opinions and you will not know which one suits you.
You will not be able to determine if a budget is good or bad, or if you forgot a price, because you have no other resemblance to what to compare it.
Having definite ideas from the beginning prevents that during the work you are getting dizzy to the contracts suggesting changes.
A modification is made without problems. Two changes in a row are to touch the nose to the professional.
And this one will be able to raise the price accordingly (with all the reason), and their tensions may arise between you.
#2 Contact an architect or technical architect
Find a qualified technician to help you capture your idea.
Do not worry about their fees. You will avoid many headaches because it will be on your side and will know how to fight with subcontractors.
And in the end, you will verify that it provided you with an economic saving in work.
Generally, the first meeting with him is free and without obligation. So take advantage of it.
There you can ask for their opinion on the ideas you have in mind.
He will contribute his experience and confirm or correct you. And it will help you shape a realistic budget.
What advantages does this “head technician” have for you?
I list them below:
It will inform you of the documentation and licenses you need. You can even manage them with the town hall.
Verify if your work adapts to current regulations. It will tell you what you can and cannot do to avoid future complaints.
He will give his face for you in front of the subcontractors, and if he appreciates carelessness, he will know how to tighten the screws.
He will give you ideas (because of his experience in similar situations) that you probably didn’t have in mind.
It will inform you of improvements that can be made without leaving the budget.
It will inform you about all available grants and subsidies, especially in works (and appliances) that improve the energy efficiency of your home.
They will guide you on the best materials you can use according to the available budget. There are simple materials that perfectly mimic other more noble ones, and that surely you do not know.
It will help you to prepare good planning for the works.
It will help you negotiate prices. You can even get discounts for your knowledge of the sector.
It will make visits to the work, to correct errors that are being made and that you will not realize (incorrect tracing of pipes).
And finally, it will help you make the most of the possible space, natural lighting, etc., while maintaining the costs of the work.
#3 Specify the qualities of the materials
Specify the qualities and finishes of floors, tiling, facilities, furniture, appliances, faucets, toilets and everything.
This is essential to avoid further discussions.
If you leave it to the builder’s choice, then you may not agree with the plugs they put on you. And you will have to shut up.
Always specify what you want to put in brands and models. If you leave things in “medium or high” quality, there will be problems because everything is relative. And that’s where they can hit you.
No product includes “average quality” among its characteristics.
So you are leaving it to the contractor. That obviously will put what interests you most.
#4 Request budgets are broken down by items
Detail a REAL budget where they defined the entire reform in just one sentence.
The more detailed a budget, the easier it will be to make material changes afterward because you will know at all times as soon as the final price is modified.
If you have a technician to prepare the measurements, it is best to send them to several construction companies so that they can budget the items made. So that everyone assumes the same budget, and so you have references when comparing.
#5 Request three quotes
Do not request a single quote. Also, don’t ask ten to ask.
Then you will go crazy comparing them. Also, companies waste a lot of time making them, and you should not abuse them.
You should request three quotes to compare and see which one suits your needs. So you can check the shortcomings of one over another, and comment on it if necessary.
By the way, remember that you are giving your home data to strangers.
So do not look for more than three companies with proven seriousness. And always ask for references.
Find information about them on the Internet, on Facebook and Twitter. Look at the works he has done and the comments left.
# 6 Beware of super-low cost reforms
If one of the quotes received is incredibly cheap, do not throw yourself at him like a headless chicken.
Find out why he has thrown the price like this. Nobody gives anything away.
There may be a scam through:
People who are hired, enter your house with their uniforms and tools, ask for an advance to buy materials, and then disappear with the money.
A company could have thrown the prices by simple carelessness. They forgot to put the price on the plumbing item or made a mistake when entering the figures.
Then the problems will come when once the work begins, they will realize and will try to raise the price.
If the prices are low, and the company does not give you signs of distrust and says they are beautiful, then check the qualities of the offer.
# 7 Hire professionals
Always look for accredited professionals and request references. It is also necessary for the construction company to have civil liability insurance and to have its workers insured.
In this way, you will really be able to reform your house for little money. And you will check it at the end of the works.
Because if due to work, there is an accident inside your home, they can hold you accountable.
So, an insurance that covers the breakdowns that may appear in the reform of your home is essential. It will guarantee not only your peace of mind but also that of all the residents of the building.
# 8 Sign a work contract
It is convenient to sign a contract that guarantees the quality of both the work and the materials to avoid future misunderstandings or discussions with the contractor.
The contract will establish specific execution deadlines and always closed prices.
In turn, the warranty period of the works must be clear.
In old buildings, it is common for inconveniences to appear that were not counted by hidden defects. It is convenient to leave those possible very clear expenses in the contract.
The company you are hiring must provide all the information, such as a fiscal address, CIF, name of the manager, and any other data that allows you to identify it without error.
You will also avoid protests or complaints from neighbors.
# 9 Do I need a building license?
As for “papers,” keep in mind that before starting work, you must have all permits and licenses in order.
This is necessary so that the works you do in your home enjoy full legal guarantees.
Approach the town hall, especially the citizen information offices, and ask for the necessary licenses. They will solve all your doubts in five minutes and you will remain calm.
They will inform you about how to adapt your case to urban planning ordinances, and you can even speak personally with the person in charge of supplying you or denying you a license.
If you do not want to do it, delegate it to the technician who advises you, because he is used to dealing with all the regulations and ordinances of the town halls.
Although each local entity has its regulations in this regard, we can generalize indicating that there are two types of licenses:
Major work license:
Some reforms need a project signed by an architect.
Minor work license:
It is requested when the work consists of a mere distribution of interior spaces.
There are times when the same company that passes you the budget is responsible for managing the license itself and includes it in the price.
Read the entire budget, including the fine print. Or directly, ask them.
# 10 Arm yourself with patience
A project is not written in one morning.
If you renovate an antique farmhouse, the unforeseen will arise where you least expect it, and the construction times will be delayed. So be patient.
How long is a housing reform? Each house is a world. It depends on its distribution, its dimensions, its age, the partitions to be thrown, etc.
But in general, the average duration is usually estimated between:
One month to reform the kitchen or bathroom,
and four months for a complete renovation of your apartment.
#11 Check your home insurance
Look at the coverage of your home insurance to see if they take care of any damage that may appear.
Each insurance company has its own coverage.
But they almost always coincide in the following; home insurance cover damages caused by works in which they had to repair something.
This means that if the reform is only to make aesthetic improvements in your home, possibly any damage that may arise will be out of its coverage.
# 12 Notify your neighbors
If the works are small, such as hanging doors, windows, or tiling the kitchen, you do not need to ask permission from the community of neighbors.
But for education, you should inform them that at certain times they will be working at home and there will be noises that they will have to endure.
Work at home is always a nuisance to the neighbors. They will not only live a few weeks with the noise but also with the dirty portal. The elevator is full of dust or paints debris. So, they should be informed of beforehand. They assume it and take it with resignation, without protests.
If the works are large, where you are going to alter the façade, close a terrace, modify a common area or even a structural element of the property, then you will need the owners’ board to authorize the execution of the works.
This is common sense.
# 13 Reserve the last payment
It is normal for a reformed company to ask you to anticipate 20% -30% to buy materials.
Then, as the masonry, plumbing, or flooring is finished, the following payments will be made.
But the last payment, the last 20%, does not even think about doing it until the work is finished.
You will prevent workers from disappearing by leaving the word “halfway.” Save that money until the reform is completely finished. Both the electrical and gas installations (if modified) have been legalized again.
Finally, save all invoices received. They will help you to claim a fault that you detect later as a result of the reform of your antique farmhouse. I hope this little guide has helped you to organize the renovation of your home.