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  • Writer's pictureErica Fossati

An Introduction to Historical Renovations in Greater Boston and New England

Updated: Mar 5

For sophisticated homeowners captivated by the charm and legacy of Boston's historic properties, renovation presents a unique opportunity to blend modern comfort with timeless character. This series will equip you with the essential steps to confidently embark on your luxury historical renovation journey in the Greater Boston area. Each week, I will delve deeper into a specific aspect, providing you with the knowledge and resources needed to navigate this exciting process.

the historical Boston Wharf was subject to extensive renovation in order to preserve its historical qualities
By Jayden Burdick.

I. Understanding the Property

Prior to envisioning your ideal space, gain a thorough understanding of the property's history. Research its past owners, architectural style, and original state. This knowledge informs your renovation decisions and ensures the preservation of the property's essence. 

II. Building Department Records

Visit the city's building department to identify any existing plans or permits associated with the property. This information can reveal past renovations, potential structural modifications, and any outstanding violations.

III. Property Survey

A precise plot plan from a licensed surveyor is crucial. It clarifies property lines, identifies discrepancies with official records, and ensures legal compliance during construction.

IV. Home Inspection

A comprehensive home inspection by a qualified professional is essential. They will provide an objective assessment of the property's structural integrity, electrical systems, plumbing, and potential hidden issues. This report prioritizes necessary repairs and informs your renovation budget.

V. Partnering with a specialist

Investing in a designer specializing in historical renovations is key. Their expertise ensures your vision respects the property's character while seamlessly incorporating modern amenities. They navigate the complexities of permits, restoration techniques, and sourcing authentic materials. While I can assist with initial research, a designer's comprehensive guidance is invaluable throughout the project.

VI. National Register of Historic Places

Carefully consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of listing your property on the National Register of Historic Places. While it offers tax breaks and grants, it also imposes stricter renovation guidelines. 


Remember, renovating a historical property is a journey, not a destination. Meticulous planning and respect for the past ensure you create a home reflecting your unique style while preserving a piece of Boston's rich history for generations to come.

Stay tuned for next week's installment, where I will delve deeper into the crucial first step: Understanding the Property.

About the Author

renovations in New England

Erica Fossati, your trusted partner for exceptional home renovations and elevated interiors in the Greater Boston area, brings European expertise to your fingertips. Raised amidst the architectural treasures of Italy, her passion for breathing new life into historic properties bloomed early.

After a successful career in Italy, specializing in the renovation of ancient manors, Erica brought her unique perspective to Boston. She now leads Erica Fossati Design, an atelier specializing in luxurious and timeless interiors for homeowners.

Erica's Master's degree in Architecture from the prestigious Politecnico di Milano and architect's license (Italy and EU) equip her with the expertise to guide you seamlessly through your historical renovation project.

Serving Boston, Cambridge, Charlestown, Lexington, Concord, Lincoln, Carlisle, Arlington, Lancaster and surrounding areas within Middlesex and Worcester Counties.

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