Mortgages, Money and Me

How to bring a heritage property to life

Interested in a heritage-listed property? Don’t be daunted. See how you can transform the past into your future home.

Why is it heritage?

Buildings become heritage-listed for many reasons including architecture, location and environment. It could be a place where notable events occurred or famous people lived. The whole neighbourhood may be deemed historic.

Knowing why your building is heritage-listed could influence your style. For example, perhaps the dwelling was once a factory – so, keeping some existing industrial elements and adding a modern twist will suit the space and give a nod to the past.

The rules

Every state has rules about what you can and can’t do to a heritage-listed property. This can range from avoiding structural work to requiring permission to repaint. Many heritage home owners say it can be difficult to find replacement parts for original features, so keep that in mind.

Heritage-listed dwellings must be safe and livable, which means you can generally update areas such as the kitchen and bathroom. Check the rules that apply to your property before you start work. You may be surprised: constraints can get the creative juices flowing.

New ideas

Character: Try keeping some historical elements for character. For example, you may be allowed to replace the bathtub but you could choose to resurface it instead.

Old and new: A modern aesthetic can showcase heritage elements of the property. A funky wall colour can accentuate decorative features such as cornices.

Accessorise: You may not be able to change the building itself but you have full control over the furniture and other items you put in it. The decor can always be updated.

Extension: Can’t renovate? Consider an extension. An extension allows you to keep the original facade while increasing the property’s functionality.

Heritage-listed properties can be surprisingly versatile if you know the boundaries and find solutions within them. If you love history, a heritage property could be just the challenge for you.