Renovating and Remodeling to Update Our Past

Unless we are buying a recently built home, we will encounter some pretty common features that were prevalent in homes of the 1950's, 1960's and even the 1970's. Let's look at the styles and features of homes past and see if remodeling them to bring them into the present to suit the lifestyles of the twenty-first century is possible.First, in the eras mentioned before (the 50's, 60's and 70's), kitchens were separated from the living areas. A number of reasons account for this: the separation kept cooking smells from wafting into the living space, washing machines were commonly found in kitchens and the noise of these appliances were contained, and kitchens were not about being pretty, but really, purely for function. Therefore, there was absolutely no reason to display them. Another space neglected in the past would be the master bathroom. How typical to find a master bathroom in older homes with one sink, a small shower and a toilet. That is it! Why? My theory is in that time frame, families operated on a single-income source and the head of the household needed the bathroom space at different times than the stay-at-home spouse. One spouse would and could accommodate the other. Finally, there are the excessively large living rooms with a very formal feel. This was perhaps a more genteel time in our history and these large, formal spaces were needed for ladies gathering for tea or other types of parties. Rooms were separate and distinct. So, can homes like these with spaces defined by past function and styles of living be remodeled to update our past and reflect our future? My experience says "Yes!". I have remodeled many a kitchen to open it up to the living space because people want entertaining to be inclusive and not exclusive. Cooking smells and noise are really no longer issues due to fantastic new vent-a-hoods, quiet dishwashers and the creation of mudrooms for the washers and dryers. The casual approach to life supports this open concept type living and has reduced the need for the formal living room. Who has time to dust and keep clean an unused room in your home? Many times these formal rooms have been renovated to create a more open concept layout. Last, but not least, the master bathroom has evolved as families tend to move to a two income model. This calls for bathrooms that are larger, have two sinks, a shower and a tub (if not a soaking tub). The "spa" style master bathroom is also a result of the faster pace of work, running children to activities and our more hectic life style. The master bathroom is now perceived as a "retreat". I have designed larger master bathrooms by clever space planning or by building an addition to gain the necessary space. The lesson is to not be afraid of these older homes and to realize that they can be remodeled to adapt to our current needs and lifestyles!