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October 6, 2015
When architects say a building has "good bones," they aren't speaking in reference to any human anatomical lifespan. A well-made, well-maintained structure can be re-inhabited after well over a century of use (or disuse). The earliest of these five dates to 1899!
renovating uncommon structures

Subverting the traditional, conservatively cozy British barn conversion, Carl Turner created a getaway in rural Norfolk for himself and his friends to visit, repose, and consider the beauty of agrarian minimalism. Long and low, the Ochre Barn (seen here) began its life as a threshing barn in the 1850s.

 

Originally appeared in A Pair of English Barns Hide Unabashedly Bold and Budget-Friendly Minimalist Interiors
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Modern cabin renovation in France

In 1981, Londoners Anthony and Gillian Blee purchased the ultimate fixer-upper. The property in southwestern France was idyllic, but its old mill, built in 1822, and three flanking outbuildings had fallen into terrible disrepair.

"We really wanted to capture the ruinous quality of this old building rather than do something overtly new," Blee says. Before construction could begin, however, he and Halligan had to patch the remaining walls using stones found in the nearby river. Wherever a wall had collapsed, the designers inserted framing to create windows and doors. For the roof, they turned to the original tiles. "My father's terrible at throwing things away," Blee says. "We took the tiles off 30 years ago, as it was too dangerous to have them up there. They've been sitting in the fields ever since, and this was out last chance to use them."

 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Renovating An Aging Mill in France
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Gasworks Barn Horseshoe Courtyard, England

Chris Dyson Architects created a contemporary extension to a traditional cottage in the heart of the Cotswolds.The addition forms a horseshoe around a buried brick pit from the original gasworks building. During construction, workers unearthed a large valve and its associated pipework, the only historic features of the plant to survive. The owners plan to display them in the central courtyard as a reminder of the site’s former life.

 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in This Modern Barn Looks Completely at Home in the English Countryside
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Modern Brooklyn renovation street facade

A creative couple flips the script on their family home, a former ca. 1899 workman’s cottage on the northern edge of Brooklyn. Margarita McGrath and Scott Oliver of Noroof Architects termed the 1,650-square-foot house in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, “Pushmi-Pullyu,” in reference to the interior-exterior flow they created. Resident Jill Magid, pictured on her front steps with son Linus, is a conceptual artist; she fabricated the neon house numbers.

 

Originally appeared in History Stays Alive in This Brooklyn Home
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From the buzzing front yard the Gorman-Angelucci family (and a young friend) is always at it. Dean Angelucci tends the garden and Lisa Gorman minds the kids—Pepa (with basket) and Hazel (in red)—who are hard at play.

On a shady street just off the main drag of Melbourne, Australia’s hippest inner suburb, a pair of creative types and their two kids have made a bright, cheery home by renovating an 1860s stable, oddly named “Villa Boston.” 

From the buzzing front yard the Gorman-Angelucci family (and a young friend) is always at it. Dean Angelucci tends the garden and Lisa Gorman minds the kids—Pepa (with basket) and Hazel (in red)—who are hard at play.

 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Glazed Old Fashioned
5 / 5
renovating uncommon structures

Subverting the traditional, conservatively cozy British barn conversion, Carl Turner created a getaway in rural Norfolk for himself and his friends to visit, repose, and consider the beauty of agrarian minimalism. Long and low, the Ochre Barn (seen here) began its life as a threshing barn in the 1850s.

 

Photo by Christoffer Rudquist.

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