Discover how combining traditional architecture with contemporary updates can enhance the character of your home

Whether you’re planning to redesign a period property, add a modern extension to a traditional house or restore original features to boost your home’s character, successfully mixing old and new designs can be a difficult balancing act. Get it right, however, and you can create a unique space that embraces modern living while also respecting the building’s historic roots.

Combiningtraditional architecture and contemporary design 2

Credit: Cousins & Cousins architects (02074824009; cousinsandcousins.com)

 

Decorative ceiling roses, cornicing, panelling and original fireplaces are some of the most sought-after features within a period home and they can make a dramatic backdrop to more modern updates, such as contemporary furnishings, pendant lights or bold colour schemes. If these architectural features have been removed or are damaged, look at reinstating them with salvaged items or bespoke reproductions. If any pieces of the plasterwork details are intact, a specialist restoration company will be able to take a mould of the original and use this to create an exact replica. Take a look at companies such as Locker & Riley (01245 322 022; lockerandriley.com), which operates throughout the UK, or L Grandison & Son (01721 720 212; lgrandisonandson.co.uk) based in Scotland and the north of England.

Combiningtraditional architecture and contemporary design 7

Credit: Stiff + Trevillion Architects (02089605550; stiffandtrevillion.com)

 

While it’s easy to see the appeal of these period features, when combined with more traditional room layouts featuring a series of small spaces, the overall effect can be at odds with the desire for flexible, open-plan living. Finding successful ways to expand the space without stripping away the character is therefore key if your aim is to maintain a sense of the property’s original style. When creating new openings between ground-floor spaces, for example, consider installing traditional-looking glazed doors or go more modern with a sleek pocket door system – try Eclisse (01476 565 497; eclisse.co.uk). Each solution will ensure the redesigned layout maintains a sense of its original configuration.

Combiningtraditional architecture and contemporary design 6

Credit: Lipton Plant Architects (02072881333; lparchitects.co.uk)

 

Adding extra space presents an opportunityto fuse elements of the old building with contemporary designs. Think about the combination of materials that will be used, such as an extension built with reclaimed bricks, but fitted with modern frameless glazing, or one separated from the original building by a band of structural glass, clearly marking the junction between old and new.

 Combiningtraditional architecture and contemporary design 9

Credit:Simon Whitehead Architects (02071831063; simonwhitehead.com)

 

Externally, a traditional facade can provide a striking contrast to an updated modern living space hidden from view behind the front door. Renovating traditional windows or installing reproduction designs, such as elegant timber sash windows with decorative glazing bars, can be one of the best solutions for reinstating a property’s character, particularly if the originals have been replaced with inappropriate uPVC versions. Specialist companies such as the Sash Window Workshop (01344 868 668; sashwindow.com) or Ventrolla (0800 378 278; ventrolla.co.uk) can repair original windows or make new bespoke timber replacements to replicate the period styling of the property’s original frames.

Combiningtraditional architecture and contemporary design 3

Credit: French Stef (07525369603; frenchstef.com)

 

Although different in both style and scale, the common element to the projects featured here is that they ingeniously combine old and new, clearly demonstrating that the two can work in harmony to create a strong sense of style and identity. Rather than fighting against the possible limitations of the original buildings, the architects and designers have embraced the traditional architecture, materials and features, injecting new life and character to these homes.

Combiningtraditional architecture and contemporary design 4

Credit: Stephen Fletcher Architects (02076371244; stephen-fletcher.co.uk)

Combiningtraditional architecture and contemporary design 8

Credit: 3s Architects and Designers (02083329966; 3s-ad.com)

Kevins Column

Grand Designs Live: Ask an Expert Weekend 22-23 May 2021

Discover free home project advice and product recommendations from the comfort of your own home. Register now to express your interest.
gdlonline
eligible-governments-green-driving-grant
Home Improvements

Are you eligible for the government’s green driving grant?

Government grants can contribute to the cost of a home charge for new electric cars. Here’s how to get yours.
why-shop-high-street
Home Improvements

5 reasons to shop the high street for your home renovation

Discover what the high street has to offer your home renovation project
open-plan-country-kitchen
Home Improvements

A stunning open plan country kitchen

This open plan country kitchen is at the heart of a home converted from agricultural buildings in the Norfolk countryside.
5-top-tips-to-create-a-scandi-design-kitchen
Home Improvements

5 top tips to create a Scandi design kitchen

The Scandi kitchen look is beautiful, simple and functional. Here are our top 5 tips for capturing the style in your home.
keeping-your-home-healthy-with-ventilation-kits
Home Improvements

Keep your home healthy with a ventilation kit

Modern airtight houses sometimes struggle with ventilation. Discover how MVHR can ensure fresh, filtered air and retain energy efficiency.
how-to-plan-a-loft-bathroom
Home Improvements

How to plan a loft bathroom

Key points to consider when designing your loft bathroom to ensure your space is structurally sound, bright and practical