Remodeling Nightmares of Period Homes

On June 23, 2007 Nouveau hosted a booth at the First Annual Old House Fair at the Architectural Heritage Center in Portland. We asked booth attendees to describe their worst remodeling nightmare for their period homes (or those of their friends). Here's a compilation.

“Our 1913 kitchen was remodeled in the 70s: dropped ceiling, cheap wood paneling, orange Plexiglas, ugh.”

“Put on vinyl siding over wood siding, Replaced original cabinets with fab-wood, amateur sanding of fir floors.”

“A friend remodeled her whole house in Country Kitchen style. So much plaid!”

“Putting hardwood floors over hardwood floors, each laid in a different direction.”

“Lowe’s tile counter install: tile lines didn’t match, installer was a paranoid schizophrenic.”

“Had a window with light squares (wood) replaced with vinyl, I hate it!”

“A Jacuzzi tub in period bathroom.”

“Over and over again, a remodel that removed a major structural element and did not replace it.”

“Apparently they thought no one would ever want to pull up their mauve carpeting, so they didn’t bother putting a drop cloth when they painted: white footprints were all over the hardwood floors.”

“Additions that don’t fit with the current architecture, bad windows.”

“A 2X3 Sawzall cut in the main joist to put a thin furnace wire though the floor.”

“Contractor broke out concrete in driveway and sidewalk. It snowed the next day. The driveway was not graded to the street, and concrete and water backed up into garage and the neighbor’s yard.”

“Fireplace wall: drywall covering the wing window on either side of the fireplace, they were on the outside but not on the inside!”

“Builder boxed in upper floor. No architectural design.”

“The previous owner turned the library into a powder room. It looked like a bowling alley with a toilet in the corner!”


“Light switch in the shower.”

“A builder ordered materials for his house, on my job.”

“1865 cape cod remodel, when we first arrived a barn owl was flying around the second story and it took tennis rackets to send him out.”

“Digging out under a house until it fell in.”

“Shag carpet up the walls to serve as baseboard.”


“Too much to mention. By the time we got to it, it was more of an exorcism than a remodel.

Getting ready to remodel your period home? Check out Nouveau’s Top 10 remodeling tips!