Dean Poulton & Borja De Maqua Discuss How To Restore Your Historic Home - Exclusive

Dean Poulton and Borja De Maqua of "Saving the Manor" knew they couldn't pass up an opportunity to buy a historic estate. The couple had driven past this home multiple times and always felt intrigued by the property. Although they were originally looking for a cottage to renovate, when this estate came on the market, Poulton and De Maqua jumped at the chance.

For years, the two have been renovating this historic property, once owned by King Henry VII, who gifted it to the manor's first lord. It was passed through the family for hundreds of years before being bought by Poulton and De Maqua. Even though the originally property needed a lot of work, the couple has since restored it to a charming estate, learning much of their restoration skills while on the job. In an exclusive interview with House Digest, Dean Poulton and Borja De Maqua discuss how to tackle historic home restoration.

Take on a little at a time

Tackling any kind of home renovation project can initially seem like an uphill battle. But when it comes to restoration, there can be an extra layer of trepidation. "Don't get overwhelmed by all of it in one go. Focus on it a little bit at a time," Dean Poulton tells House Digest. Separating your project into smaller segments can make the project seem much more manageable.

Restoration is usually a slow process. When working with older materials, you have to take some precautions. You want to be sure you're treating them with care, especially when items are irreplaceable. You might find yourself working on a single detail rather than an entire room. "For example," Poulton continues, "over the past month or two, we've been restoring just one singular door, and it's less overwhelming [because] you can really focus your attention on it so much more." Approach a restoration project knowing that it will take a little time.

Research before starting

When it comes to restoring historic homes, there's usually a right way to do it. If you want to keep the design true to the original, you should start with research. "Basically, don't rush, and research. Research is so key. I'm very good at researching," says Borja De Maqua. "I can get obsessed about researching every single thing about the tools and how to do these [things and spend] hours and hours so that you know what you're doing is how it should be done."

In your research you can find what materials were typically used during the time period or find inspiration for recreating damaged pieces. Neither Poulton nor De Maqua had much experience when it came to renovation, so the two did a lot of research on the proper tools and techniques for their projects. De Maqua even took courses to learn how to plaster.

Restoration of a historic home can be a big undertaking, so it's best to ease yourself in. "If you're a newbie, start off [with] something easy, and then work your way up," recommends Dean Poulton. "That's exactly what we did. We worked on the areas that hadn't got a huge amount of detail because it's much easier for us to handle, and then we worked our way up to the heart of it." Smaller projects also help you get the hang of restoration and renovation, allowing you to learn what tools are needed when or which techniques are best.

It's easy to get overwhelmed with a large restoration project. "Although it's stressful, it's definitely worth it," Borja De Maqua agrees.

"Saving the Manor" airs on Fridays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HGTV and is available to stream on Discovery+.