35 Reasons to Renovate Older Homes in Texas


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Older Homes in Texas Include Everything from Mansions to Cabins

Our 35 Reasons to Renovate Older Homes in Texas will have you ready to take on your next home renovation project. There is no shortage of older homes both vintage and historical in Texas. Many historical homes are actually for sale as well as vintage, dated homes of the 1920s through 1980 in Texas and the US. Older homes have the advantage of being well-built and oftentimes cost less as they may be in need of renovations. They also tend to have lower taxes, more character, charm, and larger lots.

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There are many reasons and ways to renovate an older home. Some people choose to do it themselves, while others hire contractors. The most important thing to remember when renovating an older home is to maintain its original character. This can be done by keeping original features such as moldings, fireplaces, and flooring, or by adding new features that complement the existing ones.

There are so many things to know about renovating an old house and 35 reasons to renovate older homes in Texas includes the best of the best. If you are doing the renovation yourself, you will need to be aware of the building code in your area. This is because older homes may not meet the current code, and you will need to make sure that any changes you make are up to code. You can get this information from your local building department.

If you are hiring a contractor to do the work, make sure that you get several bids and that you understand the contract before signing it. You should also make sure that the contractor is licensed and insured. Victorian homes in Texas are fairly common but do have their drawbacks when it comes to renovations. A vintage home oftentimes makes better sense when doing renovations. Vintage homes are plentiful and make great DIY reno projects. Vintage bungalows, ranch-style homes cottages, and mid-century modern are just a few of the great home renovation picks in Texas.

The cost of restoring an old house can be higher than the cost of building a new one. The main reason is that an old house is more likely to need repairs and maintenance than a new one. There are many historic homes in Austin Texas. Restoring a vintage home back to its former glory can be a very satisfying process. With a few vintage and retro furnishings, your Texas-inspired home renovation will start to come together before you know it.

Let’s Take a Look at Some Unique Historical Homes in Texas

There are many historical homes in Texas. Some are still standing and others have been lost to time. Some of the more notable historic structures in Texas include the Alamo, the Governor’s Mansion, and the State Capitol of Texas. There are also many beautiful historic plantation homes in Texas. Many Texas historical homes have been restored and made even grander. We have included these 5 unique Texas Homes from social media sources – The Seaquist House, The Harris House, the Grapetown School Teachers House, The James and Leanna Walsh House, and The Starr Family Home.

Oldest Standing Mansion in Texas

Did you know the oldest standing mansion in Texas is located in Mason, TX? Construction on The Seaquist House was begun in 1887 by Reverend Thomas Broad. The Reverend sold the house in 1891 to the Reynolds family. Edward Reynolds envisioned a grander home and hired a German architect by the name of Richard Grosse to remodel and expand the home.

The Seaquist House

Architect Richard Grosse designed the addition of a third story and wrap-around porches. When renovations and additions were completed in 1896 the home had 22 rooms and a huge basement.

In 1919 the home was purchased by the Seaquist Family who renovated the wooden porch and columns replacing them with concrete. The Seaquist family with Oscar Seaquist, a bootmaker at the helm remodeled the mansion and completed the interior. The asymmetrical sandstone Victorian mansion of Italianate architecture with its 15 fireplaces, wine cellar, as well as a ballroom, was indeed one of the grandest mansions in Texas. Italianate architecture inspired by 16th-century Italian Renaissance architecture dominated American architecture in the mid to late 1800s.

The home stayed in the family after Oscar’s widow Ada’s death in 1972. The Seaquist’s son and daughter-in-law completed a major renovation at that time and the grand home was opened for public tours in 1973. In 1974 the mansion was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2015 the Sequist House Foundation purchased the historical home and it is anticipated the home will become the central focus of historic tourism in the area.

The town of Mason in the Texas Hill Country is the county seat of Mason County. The town grew up around Fort Mason established in 1851. The name of the town was changed from Fort Mason to Mason in 1858 becoming the county seat in 1861. Mason has just under 2500 inhabitants as of 2021.

The Harris House

Recorded as a Texas Historic Landmark in 1982 The Harris House, a beautifully restored Queen Anne Victorian Home was built in 1888 and is another example of the Great Victorian Era’s influence on American Architecture. This historic home with original stained glass on eighteen acres is a historical gem.

The Harris House is located in the Texas town of Dublin which is also home to the world’s oldest Dr. Pepper Bottling Company. Dublin was designated the official Irish Capital of Texas in 2005 by then-governor Rick Perry. Dublin a small town in Texas has just over 3500 inhabitants as of 2021. Dublin is the birthplace of Ben Hogan the legendary golfer. Learn more about Ben Hogan at the Ben Hogan Museum of Dublin here.

Grapetown School Teachers House

Grapetown, Texas is 9.5 miles south of Fredricksburg on South Grape Creek. Now considered a ghost town, Grapetown dates back to 1848. Read more about the Grapetown school here.

The James and Leanna Walsh House

Located in Tarrytown, a neighborhood in west-central Austin, the James, and Leanna Walsh House is an example of the Mission Revival Style as applied to a single-family residence. The defining features of the home include a curved, gabled parapet that incorporates a blind quatrefoil window-like ornament. It includes low-pitched red tile roofs and an expansive porch with a corbel arch entry. Features include an exterior wall ornament of a blind window reminiscent of a blind arcade. The dwelling has multi-light windows and thick masonry walls. The James and Leanna Walsh House located at 3701 Bonnie Road in Austin, Texas was recorded as a Texas Historic Landmark in 2016.

The Starr Family Home

Dr. James Harper Starr who was instrumental in the design of the City of Austin moved to Marshall Texas from Nacogdoches to expand the family business. James purchased 52 acres of land where he lived with his wife Harriet at a residence on the property that would eventually be the location of Maplecroft. His son Frank Starr inherited the land where he built Maplecroft with his wife Clara in 1871. The Starr Family Home State Historic Site, consisting of 3.1 acres, was opened to the public in 1986. The site located at 407 W. Travis Street, Marshall Texas is operated by the Texas Historical Commission.

The Architecture of the Texas Home is Diverse and Colorful

The architecture of the Texan home is diverse and colorful. There are a number of different architectural styles present in Texas, including Spanish Colonial, Pueblo Revival, and Mission Revival. Traditional Texas ranch homes are also common, as are more modern styles. Texas is known for its sprawling ranches, and this is reflected in the state’s architecture. Ranch-style homes are often large and sprawling, with plenty of space for a family to live and entertain guests. These homes often have a rustic feel, with stone or stucco exteriors and metal roofs.

The Spanish Colonial-style home is also common in Texas. These homes often feature stucco exteriors, red tile roofs, and wrought iron detailing. Spanish Colonial homes often have a courtyard in the center of the home, which is surrounded by a portico. The Pueblo Revival style is also present in Texas. These homes are characterized by their adobe-style exteriors and viga ceilings. Pueblo Revival homes often have kiva fireplaces and large front porches. The Mission Revival style is also found in Texas. These homes are characterized by their stucco exteriors and red tile roofs. Mission Revival homes often have arched doorways and windows, and they often feature a mission bell tower.

Texas is home to a number of different architectural styles, so it is important to consult with a local architect or home builder to find the right style for your home. Read more about Texas Architecture here.

Why Texas Homes Have No Basements

The vast majority of Texas homes do not have basements because the soil underneath the home is not conducive to supporting a basement. The soil in Texas is mostly clay, which expands and contracts with changes in moisture content. This can cause cracks in a basement wall and ultimately lead to the collapse of the basement.

What is a Modern-Day Texas Home?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on personal preferences. Some people might consider a modern-day Texas home to be a traditional ranch-style house while others might envision a more contemporary style home.

Is it Worthwhile to Renovate Older Homes? 35 Reasons to Renovate Older Homes in Texas

Is it worth it to remodel an old home? A new build will not give you the charm and character of a historic or vintage home. Older homes, especially Victorian and other historic ornate styles of architecture, can be very costly to renovate. A professional is needed for these types of projects. Vintage homes, however, are gems in the rough and can make an affordable renovation project.

35 Reasons to Renovate Older Homes in Texas
Vintage Homes Provide Lots of Charm & Character

Vintage Older Homes Have a Lot of Charm and Character

Vintage homes still have a lot of charm and character without the hefty renovation cost of elaborate mansions and Victorian homes. Older vintage-dated homes built after 1920 through 1980 are plentiful in Texas and throughout the US. Renovations are less than tearing down and rebuilding. Craftsman, mid-century modern, simple Tudors and bungalows, or ranch-style homes make great renovation projects.

There are many old homes for sale in Texas Hill Country and older homes in Texas are not hard to find. There are many historic homes in Waco Texas and historic homes in Tyler Texas. San Antonio and Houston have many historic districts and make a great day trip. So how many houses are in Texas? There are 11,869,072 houses in the state of Texas many of which are vintage homes with great bones. Restored historic homes in Georgetown TX just north of Austin are some of my personal favorites.

The Texas panhandle region has many beautiful historic homes. One of my favorites is the Bivins area of Amarillo, TX where English Tudor homes are common. The Harrington House at 1600 Polk Street in Amarillo is a fully restored Neo-Classical mansion with over 15,000 square feet of floor space. Texas is a huge state so we have barely touched the surface of vintage older homes in Texas. Home prices tend to be lower than the national average in Texas making it a great place to easily afford your own home or investment property.

We are providing you with 35 reasons to renovate older homes in Texas, the rest is up to you.

This modern craftsman-style oak entertainment center would be the perfect fit for a Craftsman style, AKA, Arts and Craft vintage home.

35 Reasons to Renovate Older Homes in Texas

There are a number of reasons why people may choose to renovate older homes. One reason is that renovating an older home can help to revitalize a neighborhood. By reinvesting in older homes, people can help to improve the overall appearance and feel of a neighborhood, making it a more desirable place to live. Additionally, renovating an older home can also increase its value, making it a good investment for the future.

1. Older homes often have features that are not found in newer homes, such as bay windows, fireplaces, or built-in cabinets.

2. Older homes can be updated to make them more energy-efficient.

3. Renovating an older home can add to its value, making it a good investment.

4. Older homes often have more character than newer homes.

5. Renovating an older home can be a fun and challenging project.

6. Older homes often have larger rooms than newer homes.

7. Older homes often have higher ceilings than newer homes.

8. Older homes often have more detailed moldings and trim than newer homes.

9. Older homes often have more interesting floor plans than newer homes.

10. Older homes can be renovated to suit any taste or style.

11. Older homes often have better construction than newer homes.

12. Older homes often have more solid foundations than newer homes.

13. Older homes often have thicker walls than newer homes.

14. Older homes often have more storage space than newer homes.

15. Older homes often have better lighting than newer homes.

16. Older homes often have bigger windows than newer homes.

More, 35 Reasons to Renovate Older Homes in Texas

17. To update the home and make it more modern.

18. To make it more energy-efficient and eco-friendly.

19. To increase its resale value.

20. To make the home more comfortable to live in.

21. To make the home more accessible for people with disabilities.

22. To make the home safer and more secure.

23. To add more living space.

24. To improve the home’s curb appeal.

25. To make the home more energy-efficient.

26. To reduce the home’s environmental impact.

27. To make the home more comfortable for older homeowners.

28. To improve the home’s indoor air quality.

29. To reduce noise pollution from the home.

30. To make the home’s lighting more efficient.

31. To make the home’s plumbing more efficient.

32. To make the home’s heating and cooling more efficient.

33. To improve the home’s insulation.

34. To reduce the home’s water consumption.

35. To fix safety issues and bring home up to code.

Before Making Your Purchase of an Older Home

Before making your purchase of an older home you should have a home inspection to determine any big-ticket items, such as new roof, plumbing, electrical, and HVAC needs. Your foundation should be checked as this is something that is not always visible and can be costly.

If roof repairs and foundation repairs are needed they should be first on your list. Any other needed exterior repairs such as siding, windows, and doors should come next. Be on the lookout for any wood rot and take care of that before replacing windows, doors, and siding. Energy-efficient windows can pay off if your home is old and drafty. Garage doors can be an inexpensive upgrade. Replacing garage doors increases curb appeal and you should always consider updating these if you are reselling.

There’s no law that requires home insurance, however, this is an important consideration even if your home is paid for. If you have a mortgage, lenders will require you to carry standard homeowners insurance as a condition of the loan.

Homeowners insurance is important because it protects your home and personal property. In the event of a total loss, homeowners insurance can provide the rebuilding funds. It also provides liability coverage for legal actions from injuries in case of an accident or damage from another person while on your property.

A Standard homeowners insurance policy will cover losses and damages to your residence’s structure along with furnishings and other assets. It also provides liability coverage for accidents that happen inside your home or on your property.

If the property is an investment and will be rented out to others then consider a rental dwelling policy. Consult with a licensed insurance agent regarding your coverage options.

Things to Know, 35 Reasons to Renovate Older Homes in Texas

Should You Renovate an Abandoned House?

There are many reasons to renovate an abandoned house. It could be a fun project, it could be a way to save money, or it could be a way to help your community. Whatever your reason, there are a few things you should keep in mind when renovating an abandoned house.

  • 1. Check for Asbestos – Asbestos is a dangerous material that was once used in construction. If your house was built before the 1970s, it may contain asbestos. You should have a professional check for asbestos before starting any renovations.
  • 2. Get a Permit – Before you start any work on an abandoned house, you need to get a permit from your local government. This will ensure that the work you do is up to code.
  • 3. Be Careful of Lead Paint – Lead paint was commonly used in homes before 1978. If your house was built before that, it may contain lead paint. You should take precautions to avoid exposure to lead paint, such as wearing a mask and gloves.
  • 4. Fix the Foundation – The foundation is one of the most important parts of a house. If the foundation is not sound, you may be out of pocket to correct it. This can often be a costly process depending on what has to be done to correct the foundation problem.
  • 5. Have a title company research the property – If the house has been abandoned you will need to have a title company research it. In Texas, you can also utilize the “Claim it Texas” website to search for unclaimed property or report the abandoned property as required by law. This nationwide database of unclaimed property is endorsed by the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators and many participating states, including Texas. Read more here.

Entryways are another area that is vulnerable to rot so check those areas for any needed repairs. Complete the clean-up of your yard and do any needed landscaping. After checking your entryway thresholds you can proceed with updates or upgrades to the front door and back doors.

35 Reasons to Renovate Older Homes in Texas
Renovation

Clean the interior of the dwelling and continue to inspect for any rot or decay inside the home. Some areas of possible decay are bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms as they are generally more humid and subject to water leaks. Once your interior is fully inspected and deep cleaned it is time to plan for painting.

From an interior design point of view, you want to consider whether you will be replacing or refinishing your floors. If the flooring is to be replaced or refinished you will need to coordinate with your painting. Paint should come first unless there is a demo being done on the floors and even then you do not want paint getting on your newly installed or refinished floors.

Remove carpet and refinish your wood floors if they are in good repair. There are many options for flooring which include tile, and plank wood flooring among others. If the budget does not allow for these types of flooring you can install vinyl faux wood floors which are less expensive, durable, and easy to upkeep.

Updating light fixtures and adding ceiling fans where practical is another relatively inexpensive upgrade that will give your interior polish as well as function. Lights fixtures and flooring ground your space so make sure you have these details and materials determined before any interior décor and furniture goes in. For more on décor go here to read how to determine and define your design style.

Repaint or refinish the kitchen cabinets and add new hardware if it cannot be salvaged. Again protect your flooring if needed. New cabinet hardware can give the space a more modern streamlined ambiance even when remodeling a period home. Upgrade your appliances, checking all gas and water connections for leaks or damage before installing. Make sure to take good measurements and note if you have accessible entryways for larger items.

35 Reasons to Renovate Older Homes in Texas
Free-standing Kitchen Island

Install new backsplash, add a prebuilt island with countertop (think IKEA style, heavier free-standing islands if cost is a concern). Adding a new sink and fixtures in the kitchen and bath is usually desirable and can give your space modern updates and amenities that may have never existed in the home.

Bathrooms may only need the toilet seat replaced but of course, you want to make sure baths are in good repair and replace fixtures, cabinets, and vanities as determined. A coat of paint will go a long way in a bathroom and if you are on a budget painting vanities, mirror trim, and cabinets all in one easy clean, moisture-resistant finish can lend a custom touch.

Replace mini blinds if needed throughout the home and hanging full-length curtains is a nice touch. Greenery is very in and brings wellness and healing elements to any space. Read more about determining your interior design style and steps for completion of interior design and decor here.

This retro-modern Vessel Sink Bathroom Cabinet with Free Standing Mirror makes a great addition to an older home renovation project.

In Conclusion, 35 Reasons to Renovate Older Homes in Texas

Vintage homes help us to keep a connection with our past, bringing old-world charm to our Texas neighborhoods. Culture, education, and restoring the charm of an older home are all wonderful reasons to renovate older homes in Texas. Home renovations are cost-effective and most historic home renovations appreciate in value quicker. Why are we tearing down billions of square feet of vintage construction every year?

Restoring vintage older homes keeps money local, provides cultural sustenance and offers intrinsic value to our homes and neighborhoods. Read more about Texas Architecture here.

Old Homes for sale in Texas here.

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What is a vintage home?

Vintage homes are older homes built from 1920 through 1980. Vintage homes are dated houses that have a lot of charm and character without the hefty renovation cost of elaborate historic mansions and Victorian homes.

Is Texas a good place to flip houses?

Texas can be a good place for house flipping, but it depends on several factors, including the state of the housing market, the cost of properties, the availability of financing, and the demand for housing in specific regions. Some cities in Texas, such as Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Austin have seen steady growth in housing prices and strong demand for housing, making them good markets for house flipping. Do your research and carefully evaluate the market before investing in property.

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Gillespie County Historical Society, Pioneers in God’s Hills, Vol. II (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1960)
Cynthia Hohenberger, “The Grapetown Legacy” in The Junior Historian, Sep. 1965
Grapetown School
Austin Texas

Kay Keeton

Editor in Chief, Kay is a designer turned writer, marketer, storyteller, and influencer. A sixth generation Texan, Kay is passionate about sharing her home state of Texas's diverse culture and lifestyle.

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