Collection by Kate Santos

Modern Renovations of 19th Century Homes

From a Greek and Gothic revival to the birth of suburbs, the 1800s brought about new innovations in technology and architectural styles embody those historic changes. Careful to walk the line between renovation and restoration, we spotlight five designers that gave their architectural artifacts a modern update.

Nicknamed the Floating Farmhouse, this 200-year-old home inspired one former copywriter to delve into architecture as a living. Inside, renovator and owner Tom Givone mixes vintage and industrial decor. Photo by Mark Mahaney.
Nicknamed the Floating Farmhouse, this 200-year-old home inspired one former copywriter to delve into architecture as a living. Inside, renovator and owner Tom Givone mixes vintage and industrial decor. Photo by Mark Mahaney.
The original 1820s farmhouse.
The original 1820s farmhouse.
The exterior of this 1878 Victorian offers little insight into its new, expansive, light-filled interior. The house even keeps its solar-powered personality under wraps, with its panels tucked neatly (and unnoticeably) behind its low-pitched roof.
The exterior of this 1878 Victorian offers little insight into its new, expansive, light-filled interior. The house even keeps its solar-powered personality under wraps, with its panels tucked neatly (and unnoticeably) behind its low-pitched roof.
Jonathan Nelson’s one wish for the master bathroom was for views from the Zuma tub. He got that and then some, and now three-year-old Jonas (pictured) and his older brother refuse to bathe anywhere else. The stand-alone faucet is by Lefroy Brooks from the XO collection.
Jonathan Nelson’s one wish for the master bathroom was for views from the Zuma tub. He got that and then some, and now three-year-old Jonas (pictured) and his older brother refuse to bathe anywhere else. The stand-alone faucet is by Lefroy Brooks from the XO collection.
Oakland, California, doesn’t want for stately old Victorian houses, but heritage and zoning regulations often make them tough to renovate, particularly if you have an aesthetic depar-ture in mind. By raising the house, Mike McDonald was able to preserve the façade and create a modern new office space below.
Oakland, California, doesn’t want for stately old Victorian houses, but heritage and zoning regulations often make them tough to renovate, particularly if you have an aesthetic depar-ture in mind. By raising the house, Mike McDonald was able to preserve the façade and create a modern new office space below.
Ian Read wanted the addition to reflect the time in which it was constructed, not the Victorian times in which the house was erected. The industrially styled doors situate the office space squarely in the 21st century.
Ian Read wanted the addition to reflect the time in which it was constructed, not the Victorian times in which the house was erected. The industrially styled doors situate the office space squarely in the 21st century.
“Shophouses brought back memories of our childhoods, of open back doors and neighbors and relatives wandering in and out of the kitchen and cooking and eating and coming and going whether you liked it or not.”—Yang Yeo
“Shophouses brought back memories of our childhoods, of open back doors and neighbors and relatives wandering in and out of the kitchen and cooking and eating and coming and going whether you liked it or not.”—Yang Yeo
Behind an unassuming 19th-century facade in Singapore's Joo Chiat neighborhood, Ching Ian and Yang Yeo's renovation of a typical shophouse venerates tradition while looking squarely to the future. Photo by Richard Powers
Behind an unassuming 19th-century facade in Singapore's Joo Chiat neighborhood, Ching Ian and Yang Yeo's renovation of a typical shophouse venerates tradition while looking squarely to the future. Photo by Richard Powers
New residential buildings are few and far between in England, so architects like Phillips have increasingly been charged with creating groundbreaking modern environments within the shells of historic houses. “People just find it easier to work within existing houses to transform them to be sleek, stylish and functional,” says Phillips. “Extensions have almost become a requirement for any homeowner who wants to be a part of modern living within the U.K.”
New residential buildings are few and far between in England, so architects like Phillips have increasingly been charged with creating groundbreaking modern environments within the shells of historic houses. “People just find it easier to work within existing houses to transform them to be sleek, stylish and functional,” says Phillips. “Extensions have almost become a requirement for any homeowner who wants to be a part of modern living within the U.K.”