Do It Yourself and the Period Home

This section has broad principles and advice on period house restoration and maintenance work.

The Rooms section has tips which relate to specific rooms. The Elements section covers features of the house that are not specific to a single room. The Materials section explains how to care for metal, stone, wood, paint etc.

This is a 'how to' section. To help you decide what your house should - or could - look like, see the various sections in Getting to Know.

If your home is 'listed', you must be aware of the additional responsibilities that this imposes on you.


You are the owner of a 'run of the mill' mid-Victorian house; not listed, no different from the others in the area. Should you be a purist or should you do what you like?

At Bricks & Brass we broadly support the principles espoused by SPAB and we caution against unthinking and careless changes which can be made to a house.

However, it is your house and you can do what you like with it. We all have budgets and personal preferences. We live in the 21st century; we are used to central heating, TVs and all the junk we have to find a home for. Some houses are already 'spoiled' but you are happy with how they look, or else you have to manage your personal priorities.

Our objectives at Bricks & Brass are to help you to be comfortable in your period home within the confines of your current budget but maximising the aesthetic and financial value of your investment. We would like to help you to avoid unnecessary or unwise projects, at the same time preserving your house for future generations. Try not to make irreversible changes, for example by removing period features such as original doors. Even if you are not so keen on them, it is likely that more and more buyers will appreciate and value them.

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Collins Complete Period House

Collins Complete Period House
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English Heritage have pointed out that our stock of historic housing represents a substantial investment of money and energy. Older houses are often built to better standards and with better quality materials than more modern homes. It can be expensive to adapt older homes to modern standards of energy efficiency, but taking a longer-term view research has shown that older houses can in fact be more cost-effective and sustainable to maintain.

According to one model, a Victorian terraced house is cheaper to maintain over a 100-year period (at an average of £2,648 per 100 m2 of floorspace per year) than a house built in the 1980s (which would cost £3,686 for the same area). This is because of the greater quality and durability of the materials used in the construction of older houses, and the higher standards of their design and construction compared to some modern homes.