If you own an historic home in Long Beach, California, you can consider yourself one of the fortunate few. Not only are Long Beach historic homes worth a pretty penny, but they also tend to be in great neighborhoods, among other unique historic homes.
Historic homes, with all their character and beauty, often come with some drawbacks, however. Small, compartmentalized rooms, a severe lack of storage, and antiquated electrical and plumbing systems are all things that tend to characterize homes built at the beginning of the last century in Long Beach. Because of this, many owners of historic homes in Long Beach choose to undertake home remodels.
Historic home remodels can be tricky. Homeowners typically want to upgrade their homes with all the latest conveniences, but don’t want to sacrifice the things that make their homes special. In some cases, there are changes that can’t be made, due to local ordinances governing historic properties. In Long Beach, if your home is in a designated historic district, any changes need to be approved by the Cultural Heritage Commission. This approval is on top of any permits you obtain through the City of Long Beach’s Development Permit Center.
If you want to add on to your Long Beach historic home, the Cultural Heritage Commission will review your plans to make sure your proposed addition meets the Commission’s guidelines as far as its style, scale, design, features, and materials are concerned. Every detail is carefully considered by the Commission, which makes it imperative that your plans be drawn up by a Long Beach architect who is well versed in historic home remodels.
Mark Grisafe, owner and lead architect at Grisafe Architecture in Long Beach, California, had this to say about historic home remodels: “In our many years of experience as architects in Long Beach, we have worked with multiple homeowners wanting to update their historic properties. We love helping homeowners take these beautiful and historically significant homes and turn them into showpieces that are also highly functional for modern living.”
Grisafe continues, “When renovating an historic home, there is always the tension of wanting to preserve what makes the home special, while still making it comfortable for a modern family. And then there’s the challenge of what actually can be changed in homes that are in designated historic districts. Getting architectural plans approved under normal circumstances can be a challenging process. It is even more challenging when you’re dealing with an historic property.”
Grisafe has an advantage in this area over other Long Beach architects: he serves as a member of the City’s Cultural Heritage Commission. And while the projects he designs still have to go through the complete approval process (he doesn’t get any special consideration for serving on the Commission), he has unique insight into what the Commission is looking for and what types of changes they will and won’t approve. This helps him set reasonable expectations with his clients early on and tends to also help the approval process go more smoothly.
If you are the owner of an historic home in Long Beach who is looking to make some changes, you probably already know that you’ll need the help of an architect. But don’t just hire any architect. Look for one who is experienced with historic home remodels and can help you navigate the approval process.