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February 6, 2013
Renovations offer accessible inspiration. After all, most folk don't tend to find themselves in circumstances where they are starting from scratch. Rather, it's that crumbling old flat in need of new plumbing or a sagging family cabin gone into disrepair that most frequently present the opportunity for revitalization. Good renovations are compelling for nearly everyone, and here, we share a diverse selection of stories ranging from a London house made wheelchair-friendly, to an historic 1790 home in the countryside brought gently up to date.
Modern 18th-century farmhouse in Sweden

On an 18th-century farmstead in rural Sweden, two Copenhagen designers have handcrafted a summerhouse that seamlessly melds the modern and the traditional.

The simple, pared-down aesthetic and the open-ended time frame of the project—along with the pair's building and design skills—helped Mads Odgård and Lyng Hansen achieve their renovation on a miniscule budget, with a project outline that ebbed and flowed with Odgård’s professional successes in product design.

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Modern kitchen with Douglas-fir island and cabinets

In this brownstone renovation, a family enlisted Brooklyn design-build firm MADE to renovate their home using surplus and salvaged materials for a budget-conscious patina.

In the kitchen, the island and cabinets, fashioned from remilled Douglas-fir beams salvaged from upstate New York, sport inexpensive drawers from Ikea. The Carrara marble for the sink surround also came from the firm’s warehouse, from a section of slab orphaned from an earlier commission. A Viking chimney wall hood tops a free-standing range by Bluestar.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in The Brownstone Baked to Perfection
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Steel wheelchair pulley in London renovation

In this wheelchair-accessible adaptive reuse project in London, owner Brod Hart achieved a renovation featuring plenty of room, lots of indoor-outdoor space, and a lift/elevator he designed and constructed himself. A simple counterbalance operates the lift, allowing him to get up and down the stairs even faster that his able bodied guests who take the adjacent industrial stairs.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Wheelchair-Accessible Adaptive Reuse Project in London
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In the Costswolds, history dictates design. So when Alistair and Leslie Winrow-Campbell bought Malvern House in the Gloucestershire village of Blockley, they were prepared for a renovation process which they imagined would be a “5 year slog.”

In actuality, it took four years to get the planning permission just to begin. Eighteen years later, with the house just recently completed, Mr. Campbell—who with his wife owns several franchises of a popular UK optometry chain—likes to say that “we’ve got a brand new house built in 1790.”

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Mezzanine-level living room with modular sofa

A flat renovated by a pair of fashion insiders breathes new life into architect Moshe Safdie's iconic Habitat '67 building. Designer Byron Peart had wanted to live there “since forever, basically,” he recalls—ever since he first visited Montreal as a child. Recently, he and his partner, Stefan Weisgerber, realized that dream when they bought one of the 148-unit building’s apartments: three concrete “cubes” that had been gutted and left unfinished by the previous owner. The couple turned the two-level space into a polished home that brings Safdie’s creative modernism into the 21st century.

“We wanted a space for entertaining groups, and also ourselves, that felt open—almost like a loft,” says Peart of the couple’s mezzanine-level living room.

Photo by 
Originally appeared in A Renovated Flat in Moshe Safdie's Habitat '67
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Affordable gestures abound in this transformation of a dilapidated former duplex in the Texas Hill Country. For a cost-conscious 2,000-square-foot renovation located 30 minutes outside of Austin, Texas, architect Nick Deaver took a look around for inspiration. He spied galvanized metal cladding on the region’s sheds and co-opted the inexpensive, resilient material for his own design. He then applied locally quarried Lueders limestone near the entrance—a warm contrast to the steely facade.

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Modern 18th-century farmhouse in Sweden

On an 18th-century farmstead in rural Sweden, two Copenhagen designers have handcrafted a summerhouse that seamlessly melds the modern and the traditional.

The simple, pared-down aesthetic and the open-ended time frame of the project—along with the pair's building and design skills—helped Mads Odgård and Lyng Hansen achieve their renovation on a miniscule budget, with a project outline that ebbed and flowed with Odgård’s professional successes in product design.

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