When to start from scratch vs. when to preserve and restore. Home renovation tips for fixer uppers and interior design tips for old home remodels. 3 reasons you should gut your home. 3 reasons you should save/restore/preserve your home.

One of the biggest struggles when remodeling a home is knowing when to rip it all out and start from scratch versus when to preserve and restore the cabinetry, flooring, walls, etc. So often I see people remodeling their home and preserving things that should have been replaced. And on the flip side I’ve also seen remodel jobs where everything is ripped out and demolished when that really wasn’t necessary. So when it is necessary to replace what you have and when is it ok to save and refinish it? I’m about to give you my tips on this topic!



Your first priority when remodeling a home is safety. If something is not done correctly or to code, it can be a major safety issue. For example, when we moved into our current house we were told that the home had new electrical installed throughout the main floor. However, when we opened up the walls we noticed that it wasn’t done correctly or to code. Although it seemed silly to replace something brand new, for safety reasons we had to rip it out and start from scratch.

If there’s an issue of structural safety (i.e. load bearing wall, foundation, or rafters) always always always do what is necessary to get it done right and done to code. It’s not worth it to just cover it up or do a temporary fix because not only is that not safe, it’s most likely going to cause more issues down the road.

When you’re working with materials on cabinetry, countertops, flooring, etc, it’s important to take notice of the quality. Are the countertops a low grade material? Is the wood floor in tough shape? Are the cabinets made of veneer with the top layer peeling off? When dealing with aspects of the home that have high traffic/heavy use, you want to be sure that the quality will withhold over time. So for example, in our home we had wood floors underneath the carpet and we did our best to preserve them but the more we worked with them the more they crumbled and cracked. We knew they were just too old and too brittle to save so we had to replace them. I’m always a fan of preserving original aspects of the home (and if repairs can fix the issue I always give that a shot first) but if they are in poor quality and not repairable, you may need to replace them and start from scratch.

Sometimes there’s an aspect of your home that you may want to preserve because it’s beautiful (like an original brick fireplace or the original cabinetry in the kitchen). However, there are times when repairing these aspects can cost you a good chunk of money. In fact, sometimes it may even cost more to pay for repairs than it would to just replace it. When you’re dealing with an expensive repair, consider what’s more valuable to you. Would you rather preserve an original aspect of the home and spend more than you hoped? Or would you rather replace it with something less original but keep the costs down? There will be plenty of moments where it’s worth the extra money to save it, but there will also be moments where it may not be worth it.


Like a said above, sometimes you’re faced with whether or not you should replace or preserve an original aspect of the home. One instance where it’s worth saving is if it has a lot of history or adds value to your home. If there’s a crumbling brick fireplace in your living room that’s historical and ultimately is the reason you fell in love with the home, fix it! If it’s an antique and worth a good chunk of money, it’s often worth preserving.

Sometimes a fresh coat of paint is the answer. There may be aspects of your home where the quality is still in excellent shape but the style is no longer current. For example, those golden oak cabinets we see in so many homes can be given new life with just a coat of paint.

Our own home had a massive brick fireplace in the living room but the color of the brick was not favorable. A few coats of white paint later and it’s my favorite thing in the house! If your kitchen cabinets, brick accents, wood shelving, or trim aren’t meeting your expectations, consider re-staining or painting them to get the look you want without replacing or wasting materials.

Other times the quality is excellent but a coat of paint just won’t do the trick. In this case, consider hiring someone to do a custom job that would allow you to keep some aspects and replace others to get the look you want. For example, if a coat of paint won’t give you the look you want on your cabinets, consider just replacing the cabinet doors rather than purchasing all new cabinetry.

Maybe you don’t mind the trim work around your floors and doors but the actual doors are just not cutting it. Keep the trim but replace the doors with something that fits your style and taste. Sometimes you can get creative and make your own adjustments and sometimes a professional might be worth hiring to make the customizations for you.


 I hope this information helps you with your current or future remodeling projects. It’s not easy making major decisions but I hope my tips will help answer your questions and ease the whole renovation process.

Until next time,