Balancing Act: The Intersection of Modern and Heritage Design  


The transition between what is old and what is soon to be new and how to sympathetically treat that transition is always top of mind for our clients when considering a renovation.

For all their charm and history, period home layouts rarely suit our modern lifestyles. I find this to be especially true for homes in Sydney, where we are blessed with such beautiful weather nearly year round.

For our Wiltshire House, the new open plan living, dining, kitchen and pantry/laundry space was planned to be a big open space with an expansively pitched ceiling, wrapping the home’s new courtyard. Steel frame doors were designed to create a beautiful connection between the indoors and out allowing for natural light and green leafy views to be enjoyed by the whole family in this busy zone. 

Creating a Seamless Fusion of Old and New

Our intention in this house was to create a clean divide between the new and old part of the home, but still ensure a strong connection of similar materials ensuring a holistic aesthetic carried throughout.

To achieve this the old floorboards were sanded back and treated to achieve a light oak colour which complemented the new floorboards in the modern extension. We chose to lay the new boards perpendicular to the original floorboards to create visual interest and make sense of the different board widths. The junction between the old and new flooring was bridged by a marble threshold- a beautiful detail executed to perfection by the build team and trades. 

Steel Doors: Functional Artistry in Design

My absolute favourite detail however has to be the new sliding steel frame door designed to section off the hallway (containing all the family’s bedrooms) from the open plan and more entertaining-focused part of the home. The sliding door was designed from fine steel frame with both fluted and clear glazing panels.

We loved this design detail so much that we repeated a similar design for the doorway from the kitchen to the pantry/laundry space. This time we used more fluted glass to conceal this back of house utility space from the main entertaining areas. 

“The best bit is that we’ve lost none of the character of the house. Its beautiful heritage features have been refreshed and brought to life with natural light and new materials.” 
Robert & Rebecca Lee

Take a tour

Take a tour through Wiltshire House and the merging of modern and traditional design elements. 

The formal sitting room’s original patterned ceiling and timber fireplace are paired with modern furniture and a show stopping contemporary chandelier. 

The powder room’s window is highlighted with soft grey paint. These original timber windows contrast beautifully with the new steel frames in the kitchen. 

The expansive three meter long marble kitchen island is the undeniable hero of the space and is paired with traditional shaker cabinetry. 

Photography by Pablo Veiga

Styling by Atelier Lab  

See the full Wiltshire House project below: