10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK

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By Melissa Dalton
These 10 modern renovations take history into account.

Whether they're refurbishing a ruin from the 1700s or rehabbing an old ambulance station, these architects deftly create modern living from historical shells.


1. The Gables by Patalab Architecture

For this 2014 project in London, Patalab converted a 1950s industrial compound into a three-bedroom house and two one-bedroom apartments. Inside, the building's original white-washed bricks surround a spacious open plan. "The result is a richly textured internal perimeter, imbued with the memory of place," write the architects on their website.

10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 1 of 18 - The renovated industrial compound is clad in metallic bronze-glazed bricks from Modular Clay Product, which match the neighboring Victorian terrace homes. The reflective bricks change in appearance as the sun moves through the sky, but always echo the Bronze Casements by Vale windows.

The renovated industrial compound is clad in metallic bronze-glazed bricks from Modular Clay Product, which match the neighboring Victorian terrace homes. The reflective bricks change in appearance as the sun moves through the sky, but always echo the Bronze Casements by Vale windows.

10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 2 of 18 - In the dining room, a James Burleigh table sits beneath a sizeable skylight. Throughout the ground floor, additional lighting is recessed in the coffered ceilings. Painted brick walls provide a reminder of the building’s industrial past.

In the dining room, a James Burleigh table sits beneath a sizeable skylight. Throughout the ground floor, additional lighting is recessed in the coffered ceilings. Painted brick walls provide a reminder of the building’s industrial past.


2. The White House by WT Architecture

This 2010 project merges an abandoned ruin on the Isle of Coll in Scotland with a new house that preserves the "character of the ruin by being visually separate but physically connected." See more pictures on the architect's website.   

10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 3 of 18 - The White House was originally built in the mid-1700s on the Isle of Coll, but was subsequently abandoned for over 150 years. With only ruins remaining, the owners enlisted WT Architecture to complete a renovation that would incorporate what was left of the former structure with a modern and low-impact home. The result is a stunning mix of the original stone façade with new large windows that frame the ocean view.

The White House was originally built in the mid-1700s on the Isle of Coll, but was subsequently abandoned for over 150 years. With only ruins remaining, the owners enlisted WT Architecture to complete a renovation that would incorporate what was left of the former structure with a modern and low-impact home. The result is a stunning mix of the original stone façade with new large windows that frame the ocean view.


3. Chevron House by AMA

Bold Bauhaus colors enliven a brick Edwardian house in London that was renovated for an art collector. AMA first created a warehouse-like atmosphere by removing walls, then applied strategic color to the kitchen floor, cabinetry, and counters.

10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 4 of 18 -


10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 5 of 18 - London studio AMA uses bold Bauhaus colors to invigorate Chevron House, a five-bedroom home in a brick Edwardian building in West London.

London studio AMA uses bold Bauhaus colors to invigorate Chevron House, a five-bedroom home in a brick Edwardian building in West London.


4. Salthouse by Carl Turner Architects

A former cottage for farm workers nestled in the Salthouse Marshes in Norfolk is now a comfortable, modern home with a laid-back Scandinavian aesthetic, thanks to an open interior plan and pared-back materials. 

10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 6 of 18 -
10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 7 of 18 -


5. The Deckhouse by Black Architecture

Just 50 deckhouses were constructed in the late 1960s and early 1970s at Emsworth Yacht Harbour in Hampshire, England. When architect Paul Hinkin found this one, it was in a state of disrepair. After stripping it back to its original composite steel and timber frame, he installed high performance insulation and photo-voltaic array, as well as a stainless steel kitchen, poured resin floors, and English ash joinery. 

10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 8 of 18 - Architect Paul Hinkin and his partner, Chrissy Pearce, bought and restored a 538-square-foot Deckhouse at Emsworth Yacht Harbour in Hampshire, England.

Architect Paul Hinkin and his partner, Chrissy Pearce, bought and restored a 538-square-foot Deckhouse at Emsworth Yacht Harbour in Hampshire, England.

10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 9 of 18 - In the living room, Arne Jacobsen Swan chairs flank a Marcel Breuer for Isokon nesting table. Above the Florence Knoll–designed credenza is a print by English artist Terry Frost. The adjacent deck holds Breuer’s Folding Armchair and a table from Aram in London.

In the living room, Arne Jacobsen Swan chairs flank a Marcel Breuer for Isokon nesting table. Above the Florence Knoll–designed credenza is a print by English artist Terry Frost. The adjacent deck holds Breuer’s Folding Armchair and a table from Aram in London.


6. Writer's Coach House from Intervention Architecture

To refurbish this outbuilding in Moseley, Birmingham, the architects took advantage of the double-height interior to connect two floors and incorporate a rich material palette that includes oak timber floors, an exposed brick wall, and structural steel components. 

10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 10 of 18 - Faux timber doors, painted black, along with a brick facade help the dwelling blend with its surroundings: the Victorian homes of the Moseley neighborhood in Birmingham, UK.

Faux timber doors, painted black, along with a brick facade help the dwelling blend with its surroundings: the Victorian homes of the Moseley neighborhood in Birmingham, UK.

10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 11 of 18 - The kitchen features a porcelain tile backsplash and a quartz countertop.

The kitchen features a porcelain tile backsplash and a quartz countertop.


7. Ivy Cottage by David Sheppard Architects

In Southwestern England, an architect integrates a former postman's cottage into a sprawling estate by using the same stone mixture on the new exterior walls and referencing the original roofline. "We wanted to complement and enhance the humble dwelling," says Sheppard.

10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 12 of 18 - To integrate the former postman’s cottage with the new design, architect David Sheppard added a concrete column adjacent to an existing stone chimney and a new slate chimney "at the heart of the composition." From this, the roof structure fans out; the small structure now serves as an anteroom.

To integrate the former postman’s cottage with the new design, architect David Sheppard added a concrete column adjacent to an existing stone chimney and a new slate chimney "at the heart of the composition." From this, the roof structure fans out; the small structure now serves as an anteroom.


8. Ochre and Stealth Barns by Carl Turner Architects

For this retreat in rural Norfolk, the architects retrofitted a red brick threshing barn, the Ochre Barn, into a residence, then built an adjacent 800-square-foot timber-clad structure, the Stealth Barn, as a guest house or studio. Per their website: "Having seen too many agricultural buildings destroyed by over-domestication, we were keen to leave the exterior of this old barn in tact whilst transforming the interior into a flexible living space."   

10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 13 of 18 - For a bit of elevation in the overwhelmingly horizontal compound, step onto the deck of the Stealth Barn. A strip of mowed grass delineates a path between the two structures; otherwise the grasses grow wild.

For a bit of elevation in the overwhelmingly horizontal compound, step onto the deck of the Stealth Barn. A strip of mowed grass delineates a path between the two structures; otherwise the grasses grow wild.

10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 14 of 18 - At a fraction of the size of Ochre Barn, Stealth Barn is just one clear shot down the hall from the kitchen to the bedroom. OSB is an even stronger part of the interior here evoking bales of hay.

At a fraction of the size of Ochre Barn, Stealth Barn is just one clear shot down the hall from the kitchen to the bedroom. OSB is an even stronger part of the interior here evoking bales of hay.


9. St. John's Ambulance Station by Marta Nowicka & Co

Restored brick walls, grey oak paneled floors and cabinetry, and stainless steel accents make for an inviting family home in an old ambulance station in the town of Rye in East Sussex. 

10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 15 of 18 -
10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 16 of 18 -


10. Church Hill Barn by David Nossiter Architects

A once crumbling barn complex on the Essex/Suffolk border is refurbished into a grand private home, complete with cathedral-like proportions and a plethora of preserved historical features.

10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 17 of 18 -
10 Dwell-Approved, New-Old Homes in the UK - Photo 18 of 18 - The dining room looks out at the front courtyard. Working with the original openings, Nossiter set the doors back from the external wall line.

The dining room looks out at the front courtyard. Working with the original openings, Nossiter set the doors back from the external wall line.

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