In Chihuahua City, Mexico, architect Rodrigo Seáñez Quevedo of LABorstudio held his first professional offices in an original 1909 building owned by his former professor. Several years later, the owners employed Quevedo and his team to add onto the home in a cohesive way, changing the program from office to residential. During the transformation, great care was taken to preserve the historic structure and reuse existing materials where possible. Notably, clay tiles from the old roof were added to the new balconies, wood formwork from the concrete was reused as wall covering, and uncovered limestone was reused on the patio and gardening floor. The end result is a creative, integrated mixture of old and new, both in materials and architectural plan.
Architect Karen Curtiss’s clients gave her only one mandate concerning the renovation of their early 20th-century cottage in San Francisco: convert the one-bedroom into a three-bedroom. The architect’s first thought was to expand, but challenges with a neighbor significantly limited the possibilities of an addition. Forced to work within the home’s existing footprint, Curtiss got creative. “My inspiration was not so much a this or a that but a how — how would it be to live there fully?” she explained. Instead of bumping out walls, she efficiently reorganized the space, increasing ceiling height on both levels by adjusting the floor plate and removing the rafters. She also introduced a central skylight that ushers light to the deepest corners of the tall, narrow structure, making it feel more spacious. In the end, she says, “I think we ended up with a better house.”
Self-taught designer Tom Givone continues his practice of updating 19th-century farmhouses with unexpected details and salvaged materials with this creation—a torqued-volume addition to an 1850s family homestead in Pennsylvania. "You sketch a concept, model it, but to see it actually take shape is always surprising." Givone says. "Building this specific structure, that payoff was more dramatic. It looked just as I had imagined and rendered it, by hand in Play-Doh, all those months before."
Mark Fekete and Viviana de Loera, co-founders of interdisciplinary design firm MARK + VIVI, happily took on the challenge of building their dream home in a transitioning Montreal neighborhood. Working with a relatively small footprint that gave them just 1,100 total square feet of finished living space, the couple used simple and minimal materials to embrace and celebrate the original character of the 1880 home. Space was thoughtfully maximized by opening up the ceiling to expose both the original and new beams, removing partition walls to create an open floor plan, and converting the crawlspace beneath the home into usable storage. The result is a bright, quirky, and imaginative blend of old and new.
Architect George Bradley and his husband, Eddie Baba, renovated this 1941 house in San Francisco. After decades of renovations, the place had become a pink stucco box with pseudo-Brutalist gestures in the form of cantilevered bays punched randomly through the facade. Among the main objectives were to unify the house, maximize the views, and create a destination where the couple could “finally have our friends and family come as often as possible,” Baba says.
The house gained a mere six inches in height and now rises just above the tree canopy, allowing it to blend into its setting despite having increased from its original 2,800 square feet to 3,800. The redwood cladding continues inside, becoming a wall of the entrance hall, a double-height space brightened by floor-to-ceiling glass and European white-oak flooring.