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Clean Lines

Category: Conversion Design Advice August 21st, 2008 by mbc

When I started out writing this blog (now over two years ago) I intended to both share my experiences and to provide advice to other people considering following a similar path. The advice has been a bit slow coming, but now as things are progressing I thought I’d start to share. Not so much hard and fast rules but my personal musings and accumulated wisdom.

new clean lines
new clean lines

Any old building will have a set of angles, curves and contours all unique and peculiar to it. Straight clean lines are unlikely to have been the norm when it was built (unless your building is a pristine example of Victoriana), instead an organic, contextually rich approach to construction is likely to have been prevalent.

When renovating a building with modern materials, building techniques, fixtures and fittings, we introduce precise, clean lines often in stark contrast to what has already been done. This is an opportunity to add layers of interest and character to your renovation if handled sympathetically. It is also an opportunity to respect and acknowledge the heritage and traditions that have gone before.

If sympathy is not shown, if new clean lines are forced in and stand alone rather than working with the building then the contrast will not be a harmonious and detract from rather than enhance the overall outcome.

mock tudor - concrete and softwood
mock tudor – concrete and softwood
(know where this is?)

Off course we can avoid this contrast, we can reject anything contemporary and seek out rustic or distressed materials and attempt to incorporate them in an original manner. But to me, that is missing the point. I prefer to be able to see the development of a building, recognise its different eras and see its history. The imposition of a historic look on a modern project too easily leads to the folly of artificial, non-structural beams or mock Tudor concrete and softwood concoctions.

If fresh, clean, modern lines can be made to work with the original more organic lines, then you’ll be heading toward a great renovation.

If you enjoyed that post, then read these…

Passive Solar Heating Systems – ideas
As I’ve posted previously: A direct gain system is one where the main means of thermal gain is through direct heating of the thermal mass by solar radiation entering the building…

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Join between…
There are a number of places in the barn where the rough pointed internal wall joins up to a smooth plastered and painted wall or ceiling.

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Maintenance [really does] matter
I discovered a great source of information on the maintenance and restoration of old buildings on the new Maintenance Matters website.

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  1. Clean Lines Update | my barn conversion Says:

    […] the building progresses so some of the clean lines that I’m so fond of start to emerge. Below are some of my current favourite examples, more […]

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