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Apr 25, 2019

Historic Meets Contemporary: How to Make Historic Homes Feel Contemporary and Fresh

Preserving the timeless elements of historic homes is essential to keeping their original design and aesthetic thriving. In our fast-paced and contemporary world, though, it can be tricky to live in a relic of the past, and designing within these spaces is challenging.

Functionally, historic homes often have extensive renovation needs – from rerouting and adding code-friendly electric sources to completely revamping the plumbing and sewer system. Yet, these are elements that are usually unseen. It’s the finishing touches – the decor, furniture, and style – that truly makes a visual impact, so getting that portion of the home in perfect balance is a must.

Today, we’re giving you a glimpse into how we make historic homes feel contemporary and fresh while still preserving their original structures. It can be an in-depth renovation process, certainly, but in the end, it’s worth it all.

Keep the Original Structure In Tact

First and foremost, before rushing to install contemporary finishes, take an inventory of your home’s historic elements and embrace the past in your design. What can be repaired? What absolutely must be replaced? If you can preserve the base of your design (think plaster mouldings, original timber beams, hundred-year-old wood floors), then not only will your home retain its original beauty, but it will also be completely unique. Anyone can install modern tile patterns or shiplap, but if your home already has centuries-old features built in, we always recommend making those its focus.

Upgrade Your Essentials for Contemporary Living (Appliances, cabinets, etc.)

Once you have your historic base in place, then it is time to upgrade those daily living essentials. After all, it’s 2019 and it’s simply impractical to continue to use an ice box for your refrigeration needs. Invest in those gleaming appliances and streamlined kitchen cabinets. Go all out with incorporating smart technology into your space. Install a historic-style window to let in more air and light. You can’t go wrong with making key updates so you can enjoy your home to its fullest potential. Just remember that the trick is to add these elements in a way that complements the history of the house and is purposeful. You still want to preserve the home’s original essence as much as you can.

Avoid Going Too Modern – Strike a Balance with Your Style

Finally, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of striking a balance with your style. The last thing you want to do in a historic home is to make every surface and detail modern. The distance between the two is vast, and frankly, an ultra-contemporary home feels disjointed within the confines of historic preservation. Instead, think about your home as a curated collection where you can combine historically-significant architectural details with bold pops of whimsy (like eclectic wallpaper patterns or sleek tufted armchairs). Layer a mix of styles together for a blend of personality and the occasional unexpected surprise. By keeping things flexible between historic and contemporary, the overall aesthetic will feel fresh and elegant – a combination that evokes instant class.