One of our current projects is for clients who are renovating and extending their 17th century farmhouse. While the extension is sympathetic (with exposed A-frame oak beams in the bedroom), they were facing the challenge of making sure that there is interior synergy between the old and new parts of the whole house, which is where we were brought in to help.
And it got us thinking about the various ways to extend on a period property... Depending where you are in the UK and whether your period property is listed or not, some planners like to totally preserve the original house and therefore insist on the extension looking completely different, like the thatched cottage above. As you can see it is very clear where the original house ends and the super-modern extension begins.
Image Kitchen ArchitectureSome extensions, like this project by McGarry Moon Architects, are distinctive but use similar colour tones and textures to create synergy. By using wooden slats, they have created a modern take on the juxtaposed tilework, and the oak framed glass area continues the look and feel. But on the end is their very modern concrete block extension, which still blends well as the viewer has been taken on a textural journey to it, rather than bolting it straight onto the original house.And our final example of extensions is the most sympathetic one - using an oak frame to create the extension, with stone surround to sit very neatly alongside the original house. If you want to go the sympathetic route, using oak frame feels the most traditional in its construction, but also allows for lots of glass and light, which many of us are looking for.
Image Wye Oak
So that's the exteriors of extensions sorted but what about the interiors? What do you do when you have beams, low ceilings and old oak floors on one side, and soaring ceilings, white-box rooms and new floors on the other? We've got a few examples and ideas on how you can use a variety of textures and materials to either modernise the old, or make the modern more rustic.
Modernise the old
In the beautiful beamed Barnsley House Hotel, they have cleaned up the old beams and plasterboarded around them. The room is then finished with new floors and modern materials, like steel and acrylic, to stop it all looking too old.
This barn had many period features - beams, the range cooker, exposed brickwork and the original fireplace but we love the modern kitchen that has been added. Its rustic materials sit well with the other rustic features in the room, but the styling of the clean lines are the perfect way to update the space.
Image deVOL Kitchens
This beamed cottage has been modernised with new floors and a fresh neutral colour palette. To add more modernity to the space, they have also painted the beams to avoid the heavy-ceilinged feel you can sometimes get in an old cottage.
Image Anton & K
Rusticate the new
In this extension, the clean new lines of the room have been softened by the traditional kitchen with leather handles and the antique-looking terracotta floors. As well as the rustic textures of the leather and terracotta, they both add a warmth to the room.
Image Plain English
In this large open plan space, they have been panelled every surface with wood, which immediately gives the room a more rustic feel. They have also taken the rustication a step further by using natural tree trunks for the staircases and the dining table, which we love the idea of.
Image Pearson Design Group
This is the interior of the thatched house (above and below) we first showed you and is a clear example of how to merge old and new, with the use of flooring that suits both. It could be wooden floors or carpets but in this case they've used large tumble-edged flagstone floors, which work beautifully to create a harmonious flow between the two spaces.
Images Kitchen Architecture
Here is another modern space making great use of wood as a rusticating texture. Wood in general is such an amazing material and one of the few materials we can think of that can be used either modernly, rustically and a whole load of variations in between. In this room, we love the use of the natural planks as a wall feature, juxtaposed with the modern lighting and graphic art print.
So whether you are extending an old house, or even building a new house that you don't want to be too clinical, we hope these tips help you achieve the balance you may be looking for.