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August 4, 2014
Designing a modern house doesn't have to mean building from the ground up. These six renovations show how to update existing facades with modern details and bring old buildings into the future.
minimal modernist home renovation in Germany

A family of cost-conscious Hamburgers converted a kitschy turn-of-the-century villa into a high-design home with a strict budget in place. To unite the quaint masonry of the original villa with the squat, ugly add-on built flush against it, the architects decided to paint the old-fashioned facade graphite gray and then covered the box next door in plain, light-colored larch.

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Originally appeared in Paint it Black
1 / 9
courtyard house exterior side

A wide cut across the top of an old factory building in Toronto made room for a second-floor courtyard where its residents can catch some sun but maintain their privacy. On the ground level, the front door is tucked into an ivy-covered alcove lined with ipe, a material used throughout the house.

Originally appeared in Growth Spurt
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A photograph from 2002 shows the Courtyard House renovation in progress, as its carved out from a former industrial space in Toronto.

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Originally appeared in Inside Job
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Modern geometric house with roof deck

This Newton, Massachusetts, neigborhood has seen its fair share of lot-busting renovations in the last few years. A common tactic is to knock down one of the 1,100-or-so-square-foot ranch houses from the late 1950s and replace it with a setback-hugging behemoth built as high as the local zoning laws allow. This resident hired architecture firm SsD to add square footage without sacrificing his home's lawn. They built up (adding a second floor and roof deck) and down (creating a split-level kitchen and office space). Now, a generous roof deck atop the garage was a winning way to allow a survey of the neighborhood during Massachusetts’ Indian summers.

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Originally appeared in Braver's New World
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Storefront facade with salvaged double-insulated window glass panels

San Francisco architect couple Andrew Dunbar and Zoee Astrakhan renovated their 1908 Edwardian in the Mission District into a low-cost, high-impact tour de force. The new storefront facade was constructed from salvaged double-insulated window glass panels arranged in a shingle pattern.

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Courtesy of 
justin fantl photography
Originally appeared in Just Redo It
5 / 9
Built around the twin trunks of a maple tree, the Campbells’ outdoor deck provides tranquil views of the lake and a chance for the family to spot roaming wildlife while enjoying their morning coffee. During warmer months, the wide space creates an ideal s

Instead of tearing down a worn rancher, this Michigan couple renovated a lakeside cottage into a rustic stage for their heirloom mid-century pieces. One feature they insisted on saving is the deck, built around the twin trunks of a maple tree, that provides tranquil views of the lake and a secondary dining room during warmer months. 

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Originally appeared in Campbells' Coup
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With the help of a local contractor, the Campbells ripped out drywall, reconfigured windows, and gave up a garage in the well-worn ranch house.

The "before" shot of the facade, prior to renovation. With the help of a local contractor, this Michigan family ripped out drywall, reconfigured windows, and gave up a garage in the well-worn ranch house

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Originally appeared in Campbells' Coup
7 / 9
renovated modernist home in Austin exterior

Austin architect A.D. Stenger designed and developed scores of houses in town, including this one, whose Jetsons-esque facade is rumored to reference the aeronautics classes he took in college. Rick & Cindy Black Architects updated the facade with similar proportions but upgraded the single-pane aluminum doors to double-pane, insulated, 98-percent UV-blocking Marvin windows. Now the residents use the front patio for playtime with their daughter, who likes to blow bubbles while sitting on the rebuilt planter the Blacks designed for cacti and succulents.

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Originally appeared in A Renovated Midcentury Gem in Austin
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renovated modernist home in Austin exterior

The original roofline of this Austin home, set on top of glass clerestories on a transparent central volume, begat the building’s local nickname: Butterfly House.

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Courtesy of 
Whit Preston
Originally appeared in A Renovated Midcentury Gem in Austin
9 / 9
minimal modernist home renovation in Germany

A family of cost-conscious Hamburgers converted a kitschy turn-of-the-century villa into a high-design home with a strict budget in place. To unite the quaint masonry of the original villa with the squat, ugly add-on built flush against it, the architects decided to paint the old-fashioned facade graphite gray and then covered the box next door in plain, light-colored larch.

Photo by Mark Seelen.

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