If you’re thinking of renovating a heritage home in the Inner West, there are plenty of things to consider before you get started. We have put together this guide to help you get maximum value from your renovation and make sure you don’t run into problems along the way.

Why renovate your heritage home?

Most of the homes on the Balmain peninsula are heritage properties. These range from small 19th century workers’ cottages to Victorian terraces and Californian bungalows.

While many of these properties are beautiful to look at and create the unique character of the area, they were not designed with today’s families in mind. This is why many property owners in and around Balmain and the Inner West choose to renovate their properties, to create a more contemporary interior with plenty of light, storage space and modern conveniences.

A good renovation will take a home designed for the 19th or early 20th century and make it suitable for a 21st- century lifestyle.

Are there any heritage restrictions?

The Balmain peninsula is a heritage conservation area, as are other suburbs in the Inner West. This means any renovations must not have a negative impact on the streetscape. All renovations can only be carried out subject to council approval, unless you receive a heritage exemption.

To retain the character of the area, you’ll most likely need to keep the existing façade of the property intact. You can then open up to the garden at the back, or add a new connected structure.

You will need to find an architect, builder and interior designer sympathetic to your property and the area, and who has previous experience of renovating heritage homes. They can work with you to design a home that meets your needs while still retaining its traditional character.

What interior options should you choose?

There are endless options when it comes to creating interiors. A heritage façade can be an entrance to an airy, modern property on the inside, with all the latest features and no trace of any historical features.

However, you need to bear in mind that original features often attract people wishing to buy a heritage property. Pick-marked stone walls, leadlight windows, high ceilings and original fireplaces can attract premium prices. Buyers are drawn to them as they help to tell the story of the property, adding character and a sense of romance. This is worth considering before you strip out the interior and go completely modern.

It’s a good idea to get an interior designer involved early in the project so they can work together with your architect from the outset. A good designer will be able to choose the right colours and highlight heritage features sympathetically while ensuring the overall design of the home works for a modern lifestyle.

If you’re looking for a local interior designer to help you with your heritage home renovation, we’ll be happy to make recommendations on request. A few of our favourite interior designers:

Mia Ward: follow her on Instagram or get in touch: mia@miwa.com.au

Sarah Bonett at Spec. Design Studio

Fiona Shakespeare at Shakespeare Design

And new (to us) but with directors living locally who have experience in designing for heritage homes:

Tom Mark Henry

Need advice on renovating your heritage property?

Renovating a heritage property can be a great experience that will vastly improve your lifestyle. If you would like any further advice, please give us a call. We’ll be happy to come and take a look at your property, and we can share plenty of ideas from the many homes we’ve sold here on the peninsula.

Co-principal Lynsey Kemp was recently announced as a finalist in the REB Metropolitan Sales Agent of the Year category so you’re in safe hands.

Looking for help selling your home or renting your investment property? Our team at Belle Property Balmain support homeowners across Balmain, Balmain East, Birchgrove, Rozelle and Lilyfield. Feel free to get in touch for a no-obligation discussion or property appraisal.

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