How to Make Your Town's History Part of Your Home Design
Are you planning a remodel of your historic home? While modern conveniences, appliances, and amenities can help you enjoy your home, don’t be afraid to look to the past for inspiration. The Chicago suburbs have a rich and fascinating history. In today’s post we’ll help you learn how to make your town’s history part of your home design. You might be surprised by how much our area has to offer!
Research & learn
The first step to integrating your town’s history into your home design is researching your town’s history. After all, how can you understand your town’s history without getting your hands dirty and doing some research!
The Chicago area was first settled by non-native people in the late 1700’s– that’s more than 200 years of history where you can find inspiration. The Chicagoland suburbs in particular have a rich history and are even credited by some to be the original suburb developments in the United States.
After the 1871 Chicago fire, the city of Chicago banned the construction of wood houses. Many people traveled out towards the surrounding areas to find new and beautiful spaces to call home. Where these former Chicagoans settled and remade their lives are now the Chicago suburbs!
While this is a brief history of the region as a whole, each city has its own unique culture and history. There are also wonderful architectural traditions, particularly as suburbs of one of the great architectural cities of the world.
See if your town has a historical society
Historical societies can be a wonderful resource for finding out more about a town’s or region’s history. In fact, these organizations exist solely to preserve history and help people understand how the past connects to the present day.
Most will also have programs and events to help you connect with other interested folks and the history your town has been built on. Some will even have historical house tours!
Most towns and cities have either a historical society, museum, or resource to learn about your city. Below, we’ve compiled a list of many of the cities we serve in the Northern Chicago suburbs...
Take a drive, walk, or bike ride around your city
Maybe the best way to get a sense of your town’s architectural tradition is to go for a walk, drive, or bike ride around your city. You’ll be able to take note of trends and the distinct look and feel of the homes.
Draw inspiration from your the homes of friends and family
Anytime you are looking to make improvements to your home, we recommend drawing inspiration from homes of people you know. Even if it’s not specific to your town’s history, you can still find great ideas to go off of when making your town’s history part of your home.
What inspires you? What do you like?
Once you get a sense of different design and historical trends of your town, you can now distill what you learned into what you like. There’s almost no way you’ll like everything you learned about your town’s history and architectural tradition (you may like none of it!).
Consult the list you’ve been keeping of the items you’ve liked while researching and see which ones actually would work for your life and home. You may like the look and coziness of a wood-fired stove, but does it work with your home’s layout? Maybe a particular wallpaper stood out but would it clash with other aspects of the design of your home?
Decide what modern conveniences you can’t live without
For many homeowners, this means an open floor plan that will be different from many of the kitchens in any historical kitchen. It could also be as simple as high-tech appliances such as a television or sterosystem in a study.
Fortunately, when you work with a historically-focused home remodeler you don’t have to decide between a home designed around history or one integrating modern technology. With smart design and expert craftsmanship, the two can complement each other!
Work with a design-build contractor who has a great local reputation
At Patrick A. Finn, we help Chicagoland homeowners achieve their dreams with design-build remodels focused on their visions and dreams. We specialize in historic home remodels and additions and can help you integrate your town’s history (or any others areas you may like or be from).
Our design-build process focuses on delivering results end-to-end, helping you with…
- Finding and interviewing designers and architects
- Hiring and managing tradespeople and contractors
- Obtaining permits
- Manage timelines
Our goal is to keep your project on time and on budget by anticipating issues before they are issues.
Curate furniture, decorations, and more
When designing your space with an eye towards your town’s history, how you decorate and furnish your space is what will pull everything together. In fact, furnishing and decorations are where you can add a lot of character to your home.
For furniture and appliances, you’ll have options ranging from refurbished antiques to replica pieces that look from another time but feature modern construction and perks.
For art, look for items at antique stores or flea markets in your area. Unique furniture, art, and decorations will bring a distinct historical look to your space.
Work with Patrick A. Finn
At Patrick A. Finn, we’ve been helping homeowners build spaces that reflect themselves for over 25 years. We love helping turn dreams into reality, and we want to help you, too!
Questions or want to learn how we can help you turn your Chicago area home into a reflection your your town’s past? Contact us by calling (847) 358-4133.