Transforming Classic Home Styles With a Modernist Design

by | Dec 22, 2015 | Living Urban | 0 comments

Many of America’s most beautiful cities feature homes from bygone eras. While these architectural gems certainly hark back to a time when craftsmanship was of the highest order, modern homeowners face a dilemma when purchasing them. Are they willing to take on a labor of love, caring for these aging, outdated, and sometime crumbling properties in order to preserve the history and tradition of proud Portland neighborhoods?

The solution for many has been targeted modernization. Most homeowners have some idea of the differences between modern and classic design styles. Classic styles tend to feature a certain compartmentalization of living spaces, not to mention architectural embellishments meant to beautify structures. Modern sensibilities in design, on the other hand, call for open layouts, minimalism, and simplicity overall. A stroll through the city will highlight the differences between clean-cut, streamlined Portland modern homes and the decorative craftsman and Victorian structures that form the foundation of this Pacific Northwest metropolis.

While there are certainly some who prefer brand new Portland condos to the aging structures of yesteryear, there seems to be an equal number that have a love affair with architecture of old. Within this latter group, there are the purists that want to do all they can to preserve the homes in every original detail. However, many modern homeowners would prefer to keep the cosmetic aspects of older homes intact while enjoying the amenities to be found in the most modern of Portland lofts. Can the two be blended?

There’s a lot to be said for the marriage of classic design and modernist sensibilities. The elements of the two styles may seem entirely disparate, but with a little creativity, combining these two design aesthetics can make for truly charming and functional modern homes. For example, there’s no need to supplant a gorgeous, classic façade with boxy, modern edifice. You may, however, want to knock down a wall or two inside the home to open up sight lines, increase the flow of natural light, and create the open floor plan that current homeowners prefer.

You can also update functional aspects of the home like plumbing, electricity, appliances, and so on (and you should). Just think about the time period when the average craftsman home was built – think about the amount of electrical demand then versus now and you’ll see the wisdom of such upgrades. You don’t necessarily have to destroy the charming and unique aspects of classic homes in order to bring them into the modern era. You can implement elements of modernist design that will enhance the function and enjoyment of your living space while still preserving the classic form.