A Spotlight on 10 Traditional Homes with Modern Interiors

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By Annie Fleming
Historically, the terms "traditional" and "modern" have not gone hand in hand (especially when speaking of home design). However, many people are now learning to celebrate the differences between these two types of architecture and design. While some people prefer to stick with one style, others like to mix it up and embrace both. To each their own, right?

Take a look at 10 homes that champion both traditional and modern design at the same time. 


1. A Former 1850s Schoolhouse by Andrew Magnes and Koray Duman

Location: Milford, Pennsylvania 

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Both saw the school as such a fine example of the white clapboard structure that prevails in Milford that they resisted the idea of installing an anonymous contemporary interior. Instead, they sought to embrace both periods of the building’s history when making all design decisions. "The relative simplicity of the historic exterior needed to be mirrored by a comparable feeling in the inside," says Duman.

Both saw the school as such a fine example of the white clapboard structure that prevails in Milford that they resisted the idea of installing an anonymous contemporary interior. Instead, they sought to embrace both periods of the building’s history when making all design decisions. "The relative simplicity of the historic exterior needed to be mirrored by a comparable feeling in the inside," says Duman.

To add to the feeling of spaciousness, bookcases are set back on the upstairs landing.

To add to the feeling of spaciousness, bookcases are set back on the upstairs landing.

2. Writer's Coach House by Intervention Architecture 

Location: Birmingham, England

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.

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

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

3. 1880s Bungalow by Troppo Architects 

Location: Adelaide, Australia

Brammy and Kyprianou hardly touched the front of their house, an 1880 sandstone and brick Victorian with galvanized iron ornamentation.

Brammy and Kyprianou hardly touched the front of their house, an 1880 sandstone and brick Victorian with galvanized iron ornamentation.

We positioned the window seat in the northeast corner of the window so that as the sun goes down it catches the last rays. I often read there. When I stop and am still, the dogs love it, lying down below me on the floor.

We positioned the window seat in the northeast corner of the window so that as the sun goes down it catches the last rays. I often read there. When I stop and am still, the dogs love it, lying down below me on the floor.

4. A Traditional Edwardian with a Twist by Drew Mandel

Location: Lake Ontario, Canada

Mandel mounted the fireplace in a blackened-steel frame, which echoes the window and door treatment on the house’s new facade.

Mandel mounted the fireplace in a blackened-steel frame, which echoes the window and door treatment on the house’s new facade.

Mandel designed a six-by-eight-foot extension for additional space on the ground floor.

Mandel designed a six-by-eight-foot extension for additional space on the ground floor.

5. An Old Furniture Workshop by Kirkwood McCarthy 

Location: London, England

Set in a conservation area, the home’s façade was designed to blend into the street’s terrace style. To that end, it is clad in red bricks from Traditional Brick & Stone and punctuated with sash windows. The concrete toned lintels hint subtly at the modernity that lies within.

Set in a conservation area, the home’s façade was designed to blend into the street’s terrace style. To that end, it is clad in red bricks from Traditional Brick & Stone and punctuated with sash windows. The concrete toned lintels hint subtly at the modernity that lies within.

The kitchen is situated in a sunken basement, underneath the staircase’s walnuts steps. The same joiner who built the house’s timber elements built the white cabinetry which are finished in a 40% gloss lacquer. Silestone countertops and integrated appliances maintain the space’s simple lines. Additional storage is fitted under the staircase.

The kitchen is situated in a sunken basement, underneath the staircase’s walnuts steps. The same joiner who built the house’s timber elements built the white cabinetry which are finished in a 40% gloss lacquer. Silestone countertops and integrated appliances maintain the space’s simple lines. Additional storage is fitted under the staircase.

6. 1920s Bungalow by Tribe Studio 

Location: Sydney, Australia

From the street, the house’s decorative facade reveals nothing of the dramatic contemporary extension at the back. But architect Hannah Tribe says its two faces have more in common than a first glance reveals. Its basic forms were delineated in sharp black paint that highlights their geometry. She calls the effect "suburban uncanny"—"clean, blunt modernism that is slightly odd and familiar at the same time."

From the street, the house’s decorative facade reveals nothing of the dramatic contemporary extension at the back. But architect Hannah Tribe says its two faces have more in common than a first glance reveals. Its basic forms were delineated in sharp black paint that highlights their geometry. She calls the effect "suburban uncanny"—"clean, blunt modernism that is slightly odd and familiar at the same time."

As in the kitchen, the bathroom features custom wooden cabinetry and Brodware faucets.

As in the kitchen, the bathroom features custom wooden cabinetry and Brodware faucets.

7. Glass and Brick House by Cousins & Cousins Architects

Location: The London Borough of Hackney, England

With the deliberate exception of its glass wall, the addition blends in seamlessly with the existing Victorian home. Its bricks were repurposed from the demolition process as were the windows for the upper level’s new bedroom.

With the deliberate exception of its glass wall, the addition blends in seamlessly with the existing Victorian home. Its bricks were repurposed from the demolition process as were the windows for the upper level’s new bedroom.

The dining area looks out directly at the garden with only a solitary hanging light interrupting sightlines. Eames fiberglass chairs surround the dining table. Pale finishes, including the wood flooring by Reclaimed Flooring Company, further augment the sense of airiness.

The dining area looks out directly at the garden with only a solitary hanging light interrupting sightlines. Eames fiberglass chairs surround the dining table. Pale finishes, including the wood flooring by Reclaimed Flooring Company, further augment the sense of airiness.

8. A Sophisticated Townhouse by SHH Architects

Location: London, England

Behind a traditional facade, the house was stripped to the studs and rebuilt with a timber and steel frame and a rear extension. "We were working in a conservation district," says McLauchlan, "and there was a lot of back-and-forth with the community before the design got off the ground. We accommodated specific concerns about light pollution by adding a one-way film to the glass stair shaft."

Behind a traditional facade, the house was stripped to the studs and rebuilt with a timber and steel frame and a rear extension. "We were working in a conservation district," says McLauchlan, "and there was a lot of back-and-forth with the community before the design got off the ground. We accommodated specific concerns about light pollution by adding a one-way film to the glass stair shaft."

The kitchen, Bulthaup island, and overhanging entrance-level comprise the remainder of the extension. A five-story double-sided, weld-free aluminum bookcase begins in the kitchen and rises through the lounge. A staircase traces every inch of it so that material can be readily accessed.

The kitchen, Bulthaup island, and overhanging entrance-level comprise the remainder of the extension. A five-story double-sided, weld-free aluminum bookcase begins in the kitchen and rises through the lounge. A staircase traces every inch of it so that material can be readily accessed.

9. The Historic Duplex by Blouin Tardif Architecture Environment 

Location: Le Plateau Mont-Royal, Canada

At the city’s request, the design at the front of the home did not receive a major change—which included keeping the duplex’s stairs. "Everything is restored, but in a way that is respectful," Blouin said.

At the city’s request, the design at the front of the home did not receive a major change—which included keeping the duplex’s stairs. "Everything is restored, but in a way that is respectful," Blouin said.

Uniformity was the basis of the home’s design, and the stairs were included in that mindset. The steel structure was painted white, and walnut steps conform to the same wood used throughout the home.

Uniformity was the basis of the home’s design, and the stairs were included in that mindset. The steel structure was painted white, and walnut steps conform to the same wood used throughout the home.

10. A Victorian Gets a Modern Makeover by +tong tong

Location: Toronto, Canada

The triangular window from the bedroom looks out towards the street. The window includes a custom blind for shading. A zinc awning covers the front door.

The triangular window from the bedroom looks out towards the street. The window includes a custom blind for shading. A zinc awning covers the front door.

The space includes a vent-free fireplace in the dining room from EcoSmart Fire.

The space includes a vent-free fireplace in the dining room from EcoSmart Fire.