How to Give a Modern Makeover to an Historic Home

11 Oct 2018 | Updated on: 27 Sep 2022 |By Ellen Millard

From crumbling cottage to contemporary abode, a new book by Teneues charts the changing face of architecture and the historical homes that are being adapted to suit the modern world

Anyone who’s watched an episode of Grand Designs will know what a painful process building a property can be. It’s easy to abandon dream plans of a villa in the Bahamas when the episode reaches week 30, and the designers have not only gone over budget but are two Kevin McCloud eye-rolls away from pulling their hair out. Harder still is adapting an already built property into something modern – particularly if the house in question is in any way listed.

Old Houses Made New, a new book by interior architecture enthusiast Macarena Abascal Valdenebro, looks at the impressive and creative ways in which designers and architects have rehabilitated decrepid properties and turned them into cosy hubs for the modern world, from a once crumbling cottage to a historical Italian building in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site – now a handily-located hotel.

The main method of modernisation, Valdenebro found, is through expansion; simple in theory, less so in practice. Many old buildings, are compartmentalised, with more rooms that are smaller in size. Now, new building technology allows for the safe removal of walls, allowing these properties to be opened up into the airy, open-plan spaces that we are used to living in today.

In Valdenebro’s book, more than 30 projects are detailed from concept to conclusion, complete with the initial architectural drawings to photographs of the final phase. Alongside each feature are ideas for your own home improvements, including tips on how to add value to your property. Kevin McCloud, eat your heart out.

Old Houses Made New by Macarena Abascal Valdenebro, published by teNeues, £50,