Preparing for a historic property survey begins with conducting thorough research and documentation. This article serves as your comprehensive guide for historic survey preparation, illuminating the crucial process of research and documentation that lays the foundation for a successful survey.
From understanding your home’s unique architecture to delving into historical archives at local societies, every avenue for uncovering the rich history of your property is explored.
Understanding Your Home’s Architecture
If you have access to original floor plans and property documents, this is an excellent opportunity for a head start! If these items are not available to you, your neighbors could be able to help if they live in a home that is similar to yours.
Many residential neighborhoods in the United States were constructed by developers with architects who designed the homes to have similar floor plans, finishes, and features. Chances are that one or a combination of neighboring houses has the same features as your house.
Another good way to identify if your home has had any additions or alterations is by obtaining the building permit records for your property. You can visit your local agency to obtain copies of the records either in person or electronically. These records can provide extensive information about the architecture of your home.
Plan a Visit to Your Local Historical or Preservation Society
Plan a visit to your local historical or preservation society to take a look at their archives. Most historic archives are categorized by neighborhood and sometimes they are filed under specific street names which could make locating original photographs, articles, and maps of your neighborhood easier. By understanding the history of your neighborhood, you can gain key insight into what may or may not be original to the architecture of your property.
Inspecting Your Designated Historic Property
Conduct a physical inspection of your property by simply walking around and through it and observing the existing conditions. Next, walk through again and take photographs make sketches of the character-defining features, and conduct a window survey. You can always share these photos with local preservation professionals or organizations who can assist you in identifying whether or not they are original or alterations. They can also assist you in identifying the materials the features are made of as well as methods or resources for repairs and restoration.
Documenting the Existing Floor Plan
One of the most important steps in your survey will be to draw the existing floor plan. This is an essential part of the process of documenting existing conditions. You will be amazed at how much you will learn and the ease with which you’ll understand how your property may have developed over time by looking at a completed floor plan that has been executed with accuracy.
Once you have completed your historic property survey, you can begin to make a plan to modify your historic property and create a sensitive design for your historic home remodel. Be sure to work with your local planning agency to ensure compliance with preservation regulations and obtain the proper certificates and permits.
Need help with documenting your designated historic property? Historia Design specializes in historic preservation consultation. Contact us to learn more.