If Th­ese Walls Could Talk

Homes with long his­to­ries and cel­e­brated con­nec­tions make for fas­ci­nat­ing abodes, but beware the bu­reau­cratic mine­fields, writes Na­dine Nicol­son

Hong Kong Tatler - - Life -

very home has a story to tell, but what if you han­ker af­ter an au­then­tic piece of history—a res­i­dence with an in­trigu­ing past of cap­ti­vat­ing tales and prom­i­nent per­son­al­i­ties? One of the big­gest thrills about liv­ing in an older property is dis­cov­er­ing its history. For many buy­ers, the de­sire to re­store such an abode to its for­mer glory is equally com­pelling.

There are many pos­i­tive as­pects to vin­tage houses. One is that they were of­ten built with at­trac­tive nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als at a time when crafts­man­ship was of a high qual­ity. In ad­di­tion, prop­er­ties in his­toric ar­eas will al­ways in­crease in value be­cause they tend to be aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing, and be­cause the neigh­bour­hoods have been well main­tained by res­i­dents or their staff. The draw­backs are likely to be that the plumb­ing, elec­tric­ity and heat­ing sys­tems are an­cient and will need re­plac­ing. Also, there could be damp and mould, which could mean strip­ping the place back to its bare bones, a process that is costly and time-con­sum­ing.

Be­fore suc­cumb­ing to the al­lure of that an­cient abode where roy­alty was once en­ter­tained, or the charm­ing chateau with its own work­ing vine­yard, it’s es­sen­tial to re­search the laws of the land in which it’s lo­cated, be­cause they are as dif­fer­ent as the prop­er­ties them­selves.

In the UK, His­toric Eng­land main­tains a record of build­ings that have been as­sessed

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