Preservation isn't just for historic homes. Paying attention to the details and preserving original character can add value and save energy.

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The front porch on a craftsman bungalow, preserved with original wood ceiling, cedar siding, and support columns.

Preserving your older home

If you live in an older home, it can pay to preserve and repair the original details that make your home unique.

Historic Saint Paul, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and promote the cultural heritage, character, and vitality of Saint Paul neighborhoods, has compiled recommendations for home maintenance and repair with a focus on saving money and energy while preserving the original craftsmanship and character.

Here are some general recommendations from “Preserving the Character of your House:”

  • Preserve and repair original exterior and interior materials and details. They add character, integrity and appeal.
  • Original siding and trim may be hiding behind manufactured siding and trim – and are often preserved in good condition. If some parts or features are damaged or missing, repair or replace them to match to the extent possible.
  • Avoid adding features that are not appropriate to the age and style of your house.
  • Consistency is the key. Your house is more likely to hold its value when you maintain the original size, shape, materials, and detail of its features.
  • Concentrate on what shows. Directing your most careful renovation efforts in areas with high visibility brings added interest to your neighborhood.
  • Little things mean a lot. Each decision has an impact on your home’s character. A collection of misguided changes can result in an unappealing patchwork of mismatched parts.
  • Think incrementally. Renovation can be more rewarding (and affordable) when you don’t try to do it all at once. Develop and implement a long- and short-term plan.
  • Added value. Homes that preserve trim, detailing, and other design features are more attractive to buyers.
  • Energy savings. Sensitive renovation can be energy efficient. You can often achieve the same energy savings at less cost by fixing what you have.

The publication also includes an annual maintenance checklist, and recommendations for repairing and maintaining roofs, walls, paint, porches and entryways, and windows.

You can find and download the full list of recommendations, as well as other resources for discovering and preserving the history of your home, at Historic Saint Paul’s resources page.

Interested in making improvements to your home? Look into our affordable home improvement financing options.

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