With its architectural history reaching back to the ancient Greeks, Syracuse, Sicily has plenty of old bones. In 2001, native sons Francesco and Alberto bought a crumbling 18th century building. Seven years and an UNESCO permitting process later, the Moncada brothers moved in. The modern interior, with furniture of Francesco’s design as well as classics bought on eBay, is a perfect counterpoint to the weight of the town’s history. The bedroom shown here is open and playful. See more ideas for modernizing a classic residence here.
An airy addition on the back of a historic house in Boise is a model of sensitive renovation, seamlessly melding new and old. With the help of architects, the owners created an updated addition—consisting of a master suite upstairs and kitchen, pantry, powder room, and covered patio downstairs—that’s perfectly integrated with the original house and vibrantly modern at the same time. Here, in the dining room, the vintage table and chairs are set off by a Modo Chandelier from Roll & Hill and a vibrant rug.
When Cecilia Tham and Yoel Karaso bought their first-floor apartment in an 1894 block of the Fort Pienc neighborhood of Barcelona, they were taking a risk. Casa Alí Bei was a bargain because it is afectado (“affected”)—that is, the land is zoned for redevelopment. The possibility of being evicted and a tight budget necessitated a canny renovation, yet one that honored the dazzling turn-of-the-century tile work and ornate moldings. Says Tham: "When this building was constructed the toilets would have been outside. ...We planned this grand freestanding bathtub-and-sink unit with the same materials as the kitchen."
Behind an unassuming 19th-century facade in Singapore's Joo Chiat neighborhood, Ching Ian and Yang Yeo's renovation of a typical shophouse venerates tradition while looking squarely to the future. Here, Yeo descends the spiral staircase that connects the public and private spaces while Ian relaxes on a pair of Cappellini Superlight 750 sofas designed by Barber Osgerby. See the complete renovation and exterior of the home here.
This Richmond, England Victorian home had the typical compartmentalized layout favored at the time—large, formal reception rooms to the front and subsidiary rooms to the rear, including a small, dark kitchen. It may have had curb appeal, but inside it was gloomy, rundown, and in desperate need of attention. Architect Gregory Phillips was retained to make the 19th-century house work with their 21st-century lifestyle. The kitchen, for example, is understated by virtue of its simple cabinetry by Boffi, and its white walls that flow with the rest of the house.
On a shady street just off the main drag of Melbourne, Australia’s hippest inner suburb, a pair of creative types and their two kids have made a bright, cheery home by renovating an 1860s stable, oddly named “Villa Boston.” Shown here, the formal lounge plays host to Angelucci’s collection of mid-century modern furniture. A pair of Leather Sling chairs by Aussie-born sculptor Clement Meadmore sit under the window; a black Snoopy lamp by Achille Castiglioni for Flos is on the mantle.
Athens, Greece, the cradle of classical architecture, is home to this modern renovation of an 810-square-foot apartment. The Slab apartment is an enclave of contemporary simplicity within a neoclassical shell erected at the turn of the 19th century. Here, a stairway of white oak, oiled to impart a matte finish, leads into the apartment. The residents left the design decisions up to K-Studio, only requesting that the house have a "contemporary and calm" feeling.
A dim Toronto Tudor gets an airy new look. The home’s second-story hallway, which serves as an open office and library, was suffering from a severe lack of light. Lifting up one side of the old pitched roof made room for a linear skylight, which faces south to allow in as many rays as possible, and the modification transformed the top floor into a loftlike double-height space. Inexpensive detailing then added texture and scale: Simple plywood panels attached to cold-rolled-steel frames serve as guards along the stairs.