14 comments | Posted | by Fawn Interiors Studio

How To : Merge Old and New Interiors

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

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.

Image Pinterest


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.



Post Comments

  • Posted On May 01, 2018 by Marlene

    Countryside house goals !! The pictures are stunning! The mix of old and new here is a great inspiration!

  • Posted On April 26, 2018 by Ricky

    This is such a good post! I do quite like the look of a building that has been made to look older than it really is. It can easily blend into its surroundings and look very nice. However, I am obsessed with a beautiful old Georgian house with a modern glass extension to the rear. The blend of old and new does look beautiful. I think it all depends on the setting. That cottage with the glass extension is STUNNING!!

  • Posted On April 23, 2018 by Anne Marie

    Gorgeous interiors and exteriors. I think my favourite would be the first cottage with this beautiful glass extension 😍

  • Posted On April 23, 2018 by Camilla Bellord

    What a great blog! We are such huge fans of mixing old with new to create an eclectic mix. But it is not always an easy thing to successfully achieve. Absolutely love the examples you have shared here. Wonderful photography too!!

  • Posted On April 22, 2018 by Susan

    Oh this is right up my alley, I love mixing old and new, some great examples here too!

  • Posted On April 22, 2018 by Stacey Sheppard

    Some fabulous examples here that really make your point well. I think my favourite is the glass box extension on the thatched cottage. Such a contrast with the original house.

  • Posted On April 21, 2018 by Sam

    That thatched cottage is so dreamy!!

  • Posted On April 21, 2018 by Hollie Brooks | Audenza

    Fabulous examples here! Blending old and new can be really tricky, but you’ve given lots of great tips here to help.

  • Posted On April 21, 2018 by Lin

    Just love that bedroom with the bath and fabulous beams. Great post to read!

  • Posted On April 21, 2018 by Donna Ford

    Oh my word! I am so in love with this whole concept. I love the creativity and ingenuity that comes by mixing styles. These images are incredible! What great kind of project to work on x

  • Posted On April 21, 2018 by Nicola Capper

    Such an informative post, love the McGarry Moon project.

  • Posted On April 21, 2018 by Becky

    Oh wow I am drooling over these! We have a 1970s house so have zero character! Gorgeous examples x.

  • Posted On April 21, 2018 by Jumi Awomosu

    Wow what amazing imagery. I’ve always found the concept of blending old and new very interesting, it certainly makes for a more interesting home. That kitchen with the leather handles is to die for! Thanks for sharing!

  • Posted On April 21, 2018 by JENNY KAKOUDAKIS

    It’s a real challenge this one and where you need your designer the most! It is very easy to submit an unsuccessful application and lose time! I love the idea of glass rooms but do have issues with privacy, even if the house is in the middle of nowhere (well… ESPECIALLY THEN!). Favourite photo: Barnsley Hotel

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