Skip to main content

Neighbors of DuPage

Keeping the Character

Oct 05, 2015 05:37AM ● By Family Features
Sponsored Content

(Family Features) Not every home renovation is a complete do-over. In fact, some projects are more about preserving the character and charm of the original structure than making everything shiny and new.

A self-taught home rehabber, licensed real estate agent and designer, Nicole Curtis, star of HGTV’s “Rehab Addict,” has made an art of introducing the comforts and conveniences of modern living while restoring homes to their former glory.

Whether you’re giving new life to a historic treasure or simply sprucing up a more modern home, there are many ways to retain features that keep the integrity of the original design intact while keeping your renovation budget under control.

Updating tired, worn flooring is an important way to make a room feel fresh and inviting. Remember that much like fashion trends come and go, so do popular styles for home decor. The dingy carpet you can’t wait to tear out may actually be covering a hidden gem – original hardwood floors.

Many homeowners rush to rip out old flooring at the first sign of damage, Curtis said. Her advice: approach your renovation with a “what can I save” rather than a “what can I lose” mentality. Damaged sections of wood flooring can be patched using reclaimed wood from other parts of the house or even the attic. A good sanding and a fresh coat of stain can leave you with a beautifully imperfect surface filled with character that simply can’t be bought.

Heating and Cooling Systems
Adding a temperature control system to a home or considering how to integrate an addition into an existing system can be a daunting proposition. In those cases, not only is a ductless system one of the easiest options for improved home comfort, it also preserves the existing structure and architectural integrity of a home.

“No ductwork makes my life so much easier,” Curtis said. “There’s less time and money spent on finding ductwork space and installing the systems, so we no longer have to sacrifice design.”

Installing a ductless system, such as those offered by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating, is a simple solution for eliminating window units and baseboard heaters that detract from the beauty and architectural essence of your home. There’s no need to tear through or lower ceilings to make space for ducts and no messy demolition is required.

The complete line of energy-efficient ductless systems from Mitsubishi Electric provides individual temperature control for specific temperatures in each room, installation flexibility and quiet operation – all features that are not available with traditional central systems or window units.

Kitchen and Bath
Two rooms that see the greatest attention in home makeovers are the kitchen and bath, and they’re also commonly the most expensive. In some cases, updates are truly necessary to keep pace with matters like modern plumbing. But before you make plans to gut a room, consider how you might repurpose the existing contents to fit your needs.

In the kitchen, you may be surprised by how sanding and staining or painting the existing cabinetry transforms the space. Remember that lightly colored cabinets and countertops will make a small kitchen space feel larger, and you can bring pops of color into the room with the backsplash and decor.

Especially if you’re rehabbing an older home, you may find a bath without a shower. In most cases, it’s actually fairly simple to convert a claw-foot tub with some plumbing improvements and the addition of a shower curtain. Tired tile and grout may simply need a thorough cleaning or you may be able to add paint for a fresh look.

Approaching your renovation with a mindset of preserving the original elements as much as you can lets you save money while creating a home with a unique blend of the past and your own modern touches.

Living with Technology
The construction is finished, the walls are painted and curtains are hung. But wait ... What’s that interrupting your perfect aesthetic? Today’s high tech homes come with plenty of convenience, but all those gadgets and gizmos can botch your sleek design.

The thought of devices such as ductless air-conditioning units on the walls might be intimidating, but remember that microwaves, flat screens and thermostats were all once unfamiliar elements of the home landscape and today most homeowners barely notice them.

Fortunately, many of these tech devices have been created with aesthetics in mind. For example, Mitsubishi Electric’s systems are available in a wide range of options to blend into the look and feel of your old home – ducted, ceiling-recessed and even cabinet-concealed floor-standing units.

Technology also lends a new range of sounds to the household. Look for devices that keep operations whisper-quiet for minimal distractions.

Choosing a Ductless System
Sustainability: A system that is ENERGY STAR® certified may qualify for local, state and federal tax credits or utility rebates. Shop for systems that operate with environmentally friendly refrigerant and recyclable components.

Energy efficiency: Save on energy bills with models that readily adjust to temperature fluctuations. Mitsubishi Electric systems use a finely tuned INVERTER-driven compressor for up to 40 percent more energy efficiency than conventional central air systems and window units.

Air quality: Eliminating ductwork alone helps improve air quality. Add a ductless system that gives extra attention to air quality with a specialized filtration system and you can significantly reduce allergens, viruses and bacteria in the air.

Learn more at