Living in an Older Home

If older buildings are to have a future, they need to be attractive and comfortable to live in.

Good contemporary design – when it is sensitive to a building’s heritage – can enhance and enliven an older home.

Tips for planning improvements to your older home:

Check out what permission you need: If your home is registered on the Victorian Heritage Register, you may need to apply for a permit. If it is on a local council Heritage Overlay, contact your council to see what permits are required.

Research the architectural history of your home: Understanding the architectural style and features of your home can help you in planning changes that work with these features and will inform your design.

Look for inspiration:  Outstanding contemporary architectural interventions to heritage places should be striking, original and of their time. You can see some great examples in the in the ‘House in a Heritage Context’ category of the Houses Awards and the ‘Heritage Architecture’ category of the Victorian Architecture Awards, supported by the Heritage Council of Victoria. The winners of these awards respect the heritage significance of a place, and demonstrate excellence in adaptive re-use and/or conservation.

Consider materials and techniques: Use methods and finishes that are sympathetic to the original building. There are many technical guides available on Heritage Victoria’s website which provide a wealth of information on repair, maintenance and conservation of older homes.

Get expert advice: We recommend researching tradespeople, architects and consultants with expertise in heritage issues, and Heritage Victoria offer a summary of the different consultants on their website.