Adding a contrasting modern wing to a historical structure seems to be all the rage, proving that something old, something new, and something modern can live in harmony. These renovations not only serve aesthetic purposes, but they also act as practical additions to these older homes that were built with a different kind of daily life in mind. Many of these additions come from a need to expand the floor plan, invite more natural light in, or find unique solutions for day-to-day energy use.
Be ready to do a double take at these eight traditional homes with modern additions that are vastly different from their original facades.
1. Wynant House
Architect: Dirk Wynants
Location: Poperinge, Flanders
In the Flanders region of Belgium, there are very specific building codes related to residential architecture. Architect and homeowner Dirk Wynants worked for seven years to get the details right on his 1850s farmhouse, preserving its historical integrity to hold the weight of its robust modern additions. According to Wynants, "If you want to respect the old, the contrast should be brutal. I want to be very clear what is old and what is new."
Architect: Matthew Baird Architects
Location: New York, New York
From the street view, it is hard to believe that this 1823 Federalist Era home in Soho conceals a fully modern interior and posterior facade. The glass and steel addition in the backyard stands in contrast to the historical details out front, allowing the style and theme of the interior to freely flow to the backyard and private living space.
Architect: Joeb Moore & Partners, Doug Patt
Location: Rye, New York
This Tudor-style home looks to be transported right out of a history book, making its minimalistic addition even more striking at first glance. The two sections of the house are intensely opposite, so the architects took great care to reference the materials and color scheme of the post-and-beam gable structure in the modern half, helping to ease the transition between tradition and modernism.
4. 35 Liberty
Architect: Todd Davis Architecture
Location: San Francisco, CA
This 1885 Victorian two-unit home is a classic picture of San Francisco architecture, while the backyard facade embodies the shift to modern conveniences and living. Though the front facade has the quintessential 19th century details fully intact, the back shies away from such ornamentation, opting for a cleaner look punctuated with wide windows to let more light into the home.
Architect: Stuart Silk Architects
Interior Design: Garret Cord Werner
Location: Seattle, WA
Built in 1906 in the Harvard-Belmont Historical District of Seattle, this stately residence underwent quite a change to accommodate the needs of its new residents. As much as the interior was changed, it is the rooftop transformation that is the most striking, communicating a more open and social atmosphere than the imposing facade of the original concrete structure.
Location: Granville, Ohio
Built in 1905, Arch11 and Hale Construction reimagined the interior and exterior of this three-story Victorian farmhouse with a purely modern spirit in mind. The full renovation "respects the historic integrity while creating a modern space ideal for 21st century living and entertaining." Facing the back property, a modern "glass dining cube" was added to blend the indoors with the outdoors.
7. Ogden Street
Location: Denver, CO
History and modernity live in close quarters with this renovation, displaying a unique architectural solution that was used to expand this 1890 home. The modern addition actually mirrors the shape of the home's original gambrel roof, peering slightly over the back of the home to pique just enough interest for passersby. According to the architects at Arch11, "Ninety percent of the home still stands," and only about 500 square feet was added in the end!
Architect: Christopher Polly
Location: Sydney, Australia
Nestled in the Annandale suburb of Sydney, this quaint home has a surprising modern addition only visible in the backyard. This was done by architect Christopher Polly in order to expand the living space for the residents, and in the end the space was effectively doubled, making plenty of room for the owners and their children.
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