CategoriesDesign Inspiration Home Extensions Home Renovation

Owning a period home is a privilege with a responsibility attached – you are the guardian of a piece of history, entrusted to treat it with love and respect. However, modern life has its demands, and it’s not uncommon for heritage homeowners to desire a renovation or extension that bridges the gap between their historic home and the modern day.

In this blog, we’ll explore a selection of approaches to seamlessly blending an extension with a period home’s existing style, ensuring a harmonious fusion of old and new. Read on to find out how you can respect the architectural heritage of your home, while cleverly incorporating elements that support modern-day living.

Understanding the Architectural Style

The first step in a successful period extension lies in understanding your home’s style. Melbourne boasts a rich architectural heritage – from the ornate details of Victorian cottages to the red-brick facades of Edwardian homes and the simpler lines of Californian bungalows. Recognising the hallmark features of your home’s period style allows you to understand the original design and craft a truly flawless extension. 

The Importance of Balance

A period extension is a delicate balance between preserving the character of the existing home and modernising for functionality. Respecting and maintaining the architectural style of your home is essential. You might choose to restore the façade or repair timeworn elements like ceiling roses or ornate cornices.

Of course, the aim of a period extension is to bring your home into the modern day, and modernisation is equally as important as preservation. Your extension is an opportunity to integrate features like state-of-the-art appliances, eco-friendly design elements and smart home technology that enhance comfort and cater to contemporary living.

Tips for Seamless Extensions

Once you have a clear understanding of what you want to preserve or restore from your existing home and what you might like to modernise, you can start to plan your extension. Some of the best ways to ensure a harmonious blend between old and new include:

Material Selection: Create harmony by either matching the existing materials used in your period home or selecting complementary options. For example, if your home features ornate lacework on the façade, you could replicate this in a new outdoor living area. Alternatively, in a Californian bungalow extension, you could use recycled timber as a feature through the interiors, paying homage to the original weatherboard cladding.

Windows and Doors: Replicating period windows and door styles in your extension is a great way to unite old and new. This might include tall sash or casement windows or you might choose to restore old stained glass windows or commission brand new leadlight windows. Modern reinterpretations can also work beautifully – select sleek, slimline windows with divided panes or stylish double-glazed French doors that echo the traditional feel while offering improved energy efficiency.

Bridging the Gap: A well-designed extension isn’t about hiding the age of your home, but rather celebrating the old and the new. Consider adding an internal courtyard to create a light-filled and eye-catching connection between the existing structure and new addition. Alternatively, use contrasting materials to visually define each space. For example, polished concrete floors in an extension can set it apart from original timber floors, clearly marking the shift in eras while ensuring a harmonious flow.


If you’re looking for an experienced heritage builder to craft a seamless extension of your period home, get in touch with the team at Period Extensions & Designs today.

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