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Restoring period features

Uncovering an original detail could create a stunning focal point in your newly renovated house, but taking the incorrect approach to restoring it could damage its historic value. Alan Tierney explains how to reinstate heritage elements without ruining them
As part of the renovation of this mid-18th century cottage, the designers at Phillips Tracey Architecture ( were keen to preserve the original main chimney stack. The exposed brickwork (right) was left on show and white-washed with paint to create a striking visual feature

Much of the value, interest and inherent pleasure associated with a period building lies in its history and character. This means that most people taking on the refurbishment or renovation of an old building will endeavour to recover or restore the property’s period features; but this isn’t limited to just original details – high quality additions or alterations that have been made during its long life may well be worth preserving. Here, I’ll be revealing what to look for and how to make the most of what you find.

General principles

Firstly, always proceed with caution – old fabric can be delicate and fragile, especially if it’s been neglected in the past. If you aren’t careful, you could end up causing damage during the investigation or even when you’re attempting to repair. It’s best to go slow; be prepared to pause and reconsider your approach, and get advice or assistance from experts when necessary.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Build It - April 2017
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About Build It

The April edition of Build It magazine brings you a wealth of information to help make a success of your self build, renovation, extension or conversion project – including: • A stunning oak frame lodge in a woodland setting (page 22) • How to build a healthy home (page 58) • Upgrading your home's insulation (page 68) • Dealing with planning rejections (page 111) • How to get realistic quotes (page 115) … and more!