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Historic Home Renovations: Q&A

A. When buying any old home, including an historic home, a home inspection is vital. It should include an inspection for lead paint and asbestos. A few items you can check for yourself include visible signs of water damage inside or out, lack of insulation in the attic (leading to ice damming), exposed basement pipes that are not insulated, and creosote buildup in the chimney and hearth. Experts recommend replacing electrical wiring that is more than 40 years old, which would include wiring for a house updated in the 1970s. As a licensed home improvement contractor, I and my team have dealt with every possible hazard in an historic home. I have access to the technology and experts to make your home safe for everyone while keeping its unique character.

Q. I want to add an addition to my historic home on the North Shore of Boston. Will anyone object to that?

A. Your best bet is to ask. You can start locally, with the local zoning and permitting offices and historic preservation society. Local organizations like Historic New England ( also have great information on the conservation and care of your historic home. You may need to check with the state (Massachusetts Historical Commission) at least 30 days in advance of your project. According to the MHC site (, “Any projects that require funding, licenses, or permits from any state agency must be reviewed by MHC.”

Q. My architect has come up with a beautiful plan to remodel the small rooms in my historic home into larger, more comfortable rooms with a better flow. How do I know the construction team will be able to deliver on the plan?

A. You can ask your architect for recommendations for a contractor/builder the architect has worked with before or knows by reputation. Also ask other North Shore homeowners for recommendations. You’ll want to check out the contractor/builder yourself and have them sign off on the plans and budget. Realistically, once a project is underway, especially in an historic home, problems may arise that require adjusting the plan and the budget; for example, mold or dry rot may appear when a ceiling or floor is removed or a wall that should not be load bearing turns out to be load bearing. A licensed, experienced contractor like WORKS will collaborate with you and your architect to deliver the perfect renovation for the historic home you love.

#historichome #historical #restoration #contractor #Renovation

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