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How to transform a period property into a modern home

Do you have a period home that you love, but doesn’t meet your needs in terms of modern functionality, efficiency and comfort? 

Do you want to modernise your period home but would hate to lose its unique features and distinctive charms ? 

Transforming a period property into a modern home brings several benefits. Yet it demands a careful approach to preserve the original character while upgrading the living spaces to match modern lifestyles.

Here we explain how you can transform a dated property into a modern home in more detail, overcoming common challenges to create your ideal home. 

The challenges of modernising period properties

Modernising a period property is not without its challenges. These buildings are often built with outdated construction materials and methods, and they have structural limitations. Not to mention, lots of period homes are subject to constraints in terms of the modifications that can be made and may be located in conservation areas. 

One of the main challenges during a renovation project is integrating modern conveniences without compromising the historical integrity. After all, this is usually what draws people to the property in the first place. Creative solutions are often required to sensitively accommodate modern specifications without altering the character of the living space. 

Maintaining charm while updating for modern living

Successfully renovating a period home requires a careful approach that strikes a balance between restoration and modernisation.

By carefully preserving the home’s distinctive architectural elements and incorporating contemporary features, experienced architects can help you achieve a blend of timelessness and functionality.

Cinderbridge Road was a derelict cottage and we transformed it into a light and spacious home.

Respect historical integrity

When updating a dated property to meet the needs of modern living, the overarching goal is to respect and maintain the property’s history. This involves preserving and restoring the original features that define its character, such as detailed woodwork and sash windows. 

The challenge lies in retaining these elements while ensuring modern standards of comfort and functionality are met. This requires a good understanding of both historical preservation techniques and contemporary design principles. Ensuring any renovation works not only conserve the property’s past but also meet your current needs.  

Strategic extensions

Extensions often play a crucial role in modernising period homes. They allow the expansion of living spaces to accommodate modern lifestyles, such as open-play living areas and modern kitchens with islands.

However, they need to be carefully designed to complement the property’s existing style and architecture. The success of an extension depends on a consideration of materials and proportions, ensuring that the new structure seamlessly integrates with the old. With the right design, you can benefit from additional floor space while respecting the aesthetics of the original building. 

Modern comforts

Incorporating modern comforts into a dated property requires discretion. The aim is to enhance the living experience by providing the convenience and comfort expected in modern homes. For example, luxurious bathrooms and kitchens or state-of-the-art smart home systems, without detracting from the home’s character. This involves upgrading the home’s functionality with modern heating, plumbing and electrical systems as well as data cabling and wiring. The key is ensuring these modern interventions are invisible or minimally intrusive. 

Energy efficiency 

Improving energy efficiency is essential for making dated structures more comfortable, sustainable and cost-effective to live in. This can be achieved by taking a fabric first approach and improving the air-tightness of the home through insulating roofs, walls and floors. Upgrading to double or triple-glazed windows, and installing new energy systems such as an air source heat pump or solar PV. 

However, when enhancing energy efficiency in period properties, it’s essential to be mindful of their unique character. For example installing new windows in the same style of original frames ensure that energy upgrades are not at the expense of the property’s aesthetic appeal. These improvements will not only contribute to sustainability but can also reduce ongoing utility costs.

Custom solutions

Investing in bespoke designs that mimic the property’s original style is key to successfully integrating contemporary features into the home. 

Custom solutions ensure that any additions or upgrades complement the existing structure, allowing modern functionality without losing or overshadowing the historical appeal. This involves custom-made windows, doors and other solutions that reflect the home’s aesthetic while creating a comfortable place to live.

This stone-built semi detached house in Sheffield had an infill extension between the off-shot kitchen and the rear of the house that was a sunroom.

The problem was it was plagued with leaks and was too hot in the summer and the cold in the winter. The kitchen / dining room also suffered from being dark without much natural light.

We replaced the conservatory with a more substantial extension with a fit for purpose roof and new glazing, which meant the kitchen and dining room could be enjoyed all year round.

We introduced a large roof light into the extension to flood the space with natural light, and remodelled the kitchen to remove some of the unpleasant dark spaces.

Working with an architects to transform your home 

Transforming a dated property into a modern home is a rewarding project that offers the opportunity to breathe new life into old buildings. 

If you’re considering modernising a property, using an experienced architects can guide you through the process, ensuring a successful transformation that respects the past while embracing the future.

Renovating a House: The Ultimate Guide to Modernising a Home – Homebuilding and Renovating Magazine

Get the modern home you deserve

A renovation of a period property can be transformational and cause you to fall back in love with your home.