Perhaps you are the proud owner of an old San Francisco home. What steps can you take to restore and preserve the notable qualities that make your Edwardian, Victorian or Stickley so special? How can you officially register your property as historic? First, if you do own an old home, make sure to do the necessary research before undertaking any restoration projects. You will want to preserve the structure’s original character not only for the benefit of posterity, but to increase your property value and take advantage of any possible tax breaks. Luckily, you’ll find an abundance of online resources to help you in this area:
- Take time to familiarize yourself with The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring & Reconstructing Historic Buildings, available from Heritage Preservation Services (HPS), a branch of the National Park Service. Don’t let the scope of this comprehensive guide intimidate you. You’ll find clear, valuable information that is simple to navigate. Just click on the appropriate link at the bottom of each page — preserving, rehabilitating, restoring, or reconstructing — to immediately access whichever of these four main categories interests you.
- You’ll also want to take a look through TPS’s list of Preservation Briefs. These publications “assist owners and developers of historic buildings in recognizing and resolving common preservation and repair problems prior to work. The briefs are especially useful to preservation tax incentive program applicants because they recommend those methods and approaches for rehabilitating historic buildings that are consistent with their historic character.” Subjects range from Repointing Mortar Joints in Historic Masonry Buildings to The Use of Awnings on Historic Buildings. Briefs 1 - 42 are now available free online. Be sure to read a very important brief for San Franciscans: The Seismic Retrofit of Historic Buildings: Keeping Preservation in the Forefront.
You may also order copies from the Government Printing Office (GPO) by calling (866) 512-1800. See the Technical Preservation Services (TPS) Sales Publications Catalog and the U.S. Government Online Bookstore for information on other publications available from the GPO.