Tips for Renovating a Heritage Home.

Your guide to success when working with a heritage overlay home.

Renovating a heritage home can be a challenging process. Increased council regulations and restrictions, financial requirements and more can leave many feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. In this article, we share some tips from Construct Melbourne’s Managing Director and Young Builder of the Year, Rhyse Mazza, to ensure a considered approach to renovating your heritage home.

A heritage home is a property or building that has indigenous, natural, or historical importance allocated to it by the Australian Heritage Council. Heritage significance is assessed on a variety of factors including historic and aesthetic elements that are deemed worthy of preservation for future generations. A heritage overlay is set by the local council and is often suggested to them by the community and/or historical societies. Heritage homes are inevitable, particularly in inner-suburban areas.

Renovating a heritage-listed home can be an extremely rewarding way to add a new chapter to the home’s character and history. One-of-a-kind details add invaluable charm and can be complemented by carefully curated architecture and design to meet the requirements of the heritage overlay. Rhyse shares some tips to consider before embarking on your heritage home renovation below.

Heritage facade at Ardrie project major renovation. Leadlight and original detailing staying true to the traditional elements of the home.

Stay true to the original façade

While it might be tempting to add a new garage, external paint colours or a new modern fence, be sure to refer to any checklists or guidelines from your local council. By having a clear understanding of the parameters around your home’s restrictions, you can avoid unnecessary delays and costs.

“When renovating a heritage property, it’s crucial to avoid replicating, heavily manipulating, or redesigning the front façade. Always aim to complement the timeline rather than imitating the heritage design and clearly delineate between historical elements and the new,” explains Rhyse.

Original is always best

While replica elements are far cheaper and may seem like a great idea to reduce costs, original is always best.

“Try to keep as many original features as possible. Replica is available, but original is always best. Restoring typically is more costly but is invaluable to the feel of the home – original, heritage beauty with timeless character,” says Rhyse.

Original leadlight at The Grove project preserved and triple-glazed. Photography by Elise Scott.

Balancing traditional elements with new standards

Original leadlight is an element commonly seen across heritage homes. Offering unique designs seldom seen across modern architecture, they are a piece of art in themselves worth preserving. To preserve while also incorporating modern standards, consider triple-glazing original leadlight windows.

“Something that many might be unaware of is that traditional leadlight windows can be triple-glazed to retain the beauty while bringing up to a modern standard.”

Period homes often have poor thermal features or limited insulation; by retrofitting insulation or heating to flooring, or triple glazing windows, you will also ensure a more comfortable space throughout the seasons.

Heated flooring in bathrooms at The Grove project ensure thermal improvements to the home. Photography Elise Scott. Interior Design and Styling Ryan Fernandes.

Adding traditional style elements throughout the home ties the old with the new in this new chapter of the heritage home. Photography Elise Scott. Interior Design and Styling Ryan Fernandes.

Work with trusted professionals

Working to preserve traditional features requires a very unique set of skills and experience. Ensure you are working with trusted trades that are familiar with heritage requirements and understand the importance of your home’s unique character. Selecting a builder who is experienced in heritage renovations also supports a seamless dialogue between blending the old and the new.


About Construct Melbourne

Construct Melbourne is an award-winning residential design and construction company servicing Melbourne’s inner-south. Experienced in working to renovate and extend heritage homes, we work to streamline the process to ensure a seamless build journey. Reach out to our team to discuss your project and experience the expertise of an award-winning builder.


Inspiring colour forecasts with Dulux for 2023


Decoding maximalism in interior design.