Many older homes got split into two duplexes when times got tight so that the owners could sell or rent off part of the property whilst living in the other part. Rejoining the properties can be a great way to recreate a family home and bring the property back to it's originally designed symmetry and dimensions. Here are some tips if you are considering the project.
Don't assume anything
It's easy to think that any of the newer walls must not be load bearing due to their post-construction installation, but this may not be the case, particularly if there have been modifications to roof beams to allow the property to be split. Equally, you may not have records of all of the renovations that have been done over the years, as in the past homeowners often didn't apply for council approval for even major home renovations. Experienced contractors can help you to assess the property before you start to minimise the number of hidden surprises during your renovation.This can prevent expensive project blowouts down the track.
Consider your lifestyle
While it's beautiful to have a fully restored house, the rooms don't necessarily need to have the same purpose in your lifestyle. For example, having living rooms at the front of the home and the kitchen at the back does not suit many modern lifestyles. It can make sense in some cases to turn the formal parlours into bedrooms and then open up the back bedrooms to create a modern family living area at the back of the home if that is more suitable to your lifestyle.
You may have trouble finding tradesmen who can recreate all of the older style of finishes. Sometimes it can make sense to upgrade some of the internals, such as using plasterboard for your ceilings rather horsehair plaster. Often these newer building materials are cheaper and easier to find and offer superior performance while offering a similar appearance. It can be a good idea to take a flexible approach to restoration and aim for a similar appearance and functionality rather than finding exact replicas for every item.
Connecting two duplexes can be a great way to gain much needed space in a vintage home. An experienced construction contractor is vital for a project such as this as there can be some hidden challenges in creating a seamless transition back to an original floorpan.