No Demo Reno's Jenn Todryk Says These Features Are A Must-Keep In Older Homes

Dallas-based interior designer and renovator Jenn Todryk helps homeowners take their homes from drab to fab with minimal changes and upgrades on HGTV's "No Demo Reno." Todryk is known for working with a home's existing footprint instead of tearing everything down and starting from scratch. She stands by sprucing up the functionality of a home but keeping the features that stand out, which may seem challenging when you live in an older house. However, you can keep many charming details in older homes instead of replacing everything. Todryk claims that ornate detailing should always be kept in older homes, as The Dallas Morning News reported. Decide what stands out to you in your home and find the original, classic details that first captured your attention.

While it's easier said than done, figuring out what should be kept and changed can be onerous. Todryk stated, "It's things that have a lot of detail versus kitchen cabinets where the [upper cabinets] are short, and they're made out of orange oak — there's not a lot of detail there, and it's just an outdated color." Sometimes, you can get lucky when renovating; you might stumble upon original detailing covered up while extracting old flooring, stonework, or other materials. Many features can be worth saving in older homes; here are a few to consider.

Pay attention to the walls and light fixtures

HGTV's "No Demo Reno" star Jenn Todryk refrains from tearing down walls since they make a home cozy. Of course, there are moments when walls have to come down, but if they're well-structured and add value to a room, there's no need to eliminate them. Plus, you can find a lot of intricate detailing on the walls of older homes. Todryk discusses "borders that have been hand-etched out of wood" as a prime example of ornate details in classic older homes. Any hand-carving elements can contribute to a home's personality. Whether you notice your home's wooden handrails, stairways, or doorways with intricate designs, embrace their authentic look by leaving them exposed. You could spruce them up with a fresh stain if their finish is rundown, but if they have minimal damages that aren't noticeable, leave them as is. It'll give your space character.

On the other hand, light fixtures can impact a room's appearance. Old light fixtures in older homes, like shiny brass chandeliers or worn-out flush-mounted ceiling lights, could make a space look dated. However, Todryk told The Dallas Morning News that "old light fixtures that have medallions at the top of the ceiling" possess the beautiful detailing a charming, older home needs. If you enjoy a dated light fixture in your home, you can spruce up its look with a simple polish or restore its finish with a thorough clean and possible re-lacquering, depending on its initial condition.

Don't be afraid to revive older features

While some dated elements can add charm to a space with their original look, sometimes they need a little upgrade to get them back into shape. Speaking to The Dallas Morning News, Jenn Todryk suggested reviving old things with a new "paint color or pairing with beautiful wallpaper" to elevate its look. However, you tap into more of a vintage style designing technique, but you'll still keep many original features. For instance, in an episode of "No Demo Reno," Todryk transformed her client Jimmie and Amanda's living room into a farmhouse-style interior, removing the carpet, updating the ceiling, and replacing the heavy fireplace mantel. She kept the original gorgeous stone fireplace surround and upgraded the mantel to a delicate slab of wood so that the stone was the focal point. A simple change greatly impacted the fireplace and the living room.

When applying Todryk's tips to your home, consider what minimal changes can be made to older features that will positively affect the room's outlook. If you have a fireplace with stone the previous owner installed, remove it to see if there's any old brick behind it. You can get lucky and have a beautiful brick fireplace that only needs a good scrub and a new mantel. On the other hand, if you have striking architectural details, like archways, easily decorate them with tile or wood trim to make them a statement piece in your home.