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March 12, 2014
Some of our favorite renovation stories involve recasting period architecture into modern residences, and these seven projects give historic structures a new history to call their own.
Modern cabin renovation with glass facade

When Londoners Anthony and Gillian Blee encountered the ruins of an aging mill in southern France, they knew they had found their fantasy. Built in 1822, the old mill was uninhabitable. A careful renovation oversaw the structure's transformation into a modern home with old-world charm.

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Originally appeared in Renovating An Aging Mill in France
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entryway victorian london exterior

Just outside of London in Richmond, England, the Brenner family found their double-fronted Victorian future home. Built in 1875, the house was designed for an earlier era, with a small, dark kitchen and reception rooms for formal calls just beyond the entryway. An understated and various redesign refreshed the home's palate, welcoming it into the modern era.

Originally appeared in Porches We Love Around The World
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Modern custom-tiled floor.

After 200 years, a tobacco factory in Spello, Italy, was little more than a romantic ruin. When Andrea Falkner-Campi and her husband commissioned designer Paola Navone to renovate it, they brought the building back to life, and into livability.

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Originally appeared in Paola Navone's Industrial Style Renovation in Italy
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Mike McDonald, an Oakland, California–based builder is the savior of his Bay Area San Francisco Victorian. Dating from 1892, an extensive renovation was in order. Raising and laterally shifting the house on a matrix of braces, McDonald was able to beckon a grand home into the modern era. Long live the Queen.

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Originally appeared in Modern Victorian House Preservation in Oakland
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“I know not whether it is owing to the tendernesses of early associations, but this part of New York appears to many persons the most delectable,” wrote Henry James in Washington Square.

Pre-Gilded Age New York lives on in the Greek Revival façades of “the Row,” on Greenwich Village’s Washington Square in New York City. When New York University professor Mo Ogrodnik moved in, she was delighted to be living in such a historic, and spacious, structure. With the help of architect Matthew Baird and interior designer Janet Liles, she was able to address the structural and spacial deficiencies of the apartment, pulling the structure into the present while 'honoring its bones.'

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Originally appeared in Row House Revival
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church renovation connecticut

For Bonnie and Santiago Suarez, home sweet home is a house of worship: more specifically, a 19th-century Baptist Church in Greenwich, Connecticut. A minimalistic renovation left intact the church's original facade as the Suarez family filled the interior in the eclectic tradition of postmodern pastiche, filling the space with odds and ends from their life together, including a Venetian chandelier and Deco screens from a movie theater.

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Originally appeared in Pastoral Manner
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Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium

Built in 1941, this Belgian water tower is a veteran of the World War II, when it was used by the Nazis as a watchtower. Serving as a water tower until the 1990s, daring clients and an enthusiastic architect took a chance, renovating the structure into a family home. 

Originally appeared in Living in a Belgian Water Tower
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Modern cabin renovation with glass facade

When Londoners Anthony and Gillian Blee encountered the ruins of an aging mill in southern France, they knew they had found their fantasy. Built in 1822, the old mill was uninhabitable. A careful renovation oversaw the structure's transformation into a modern home with old-world charm.

Photo by Sarah Blee.

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