A Former Factory Worker’s Cottage Converted into a Home

Renovating an existing building can sometimes be the greenest choice, and this revamping of a traditional worker’s cottage into a modern family home is certainly a prime example of this. The renovation was carried out by the Australian firm A For Architecture and the home is located in Melbourne, Australia. The house was once the home of a local factory worker and was built in the middle of the nineteenth century, along with hundreds of others just like it.

The original layout of the house featured many small rooms, and consequently a lot of walls. They started the renovation by first taking down a number of these dividing walls, to make the spaces more open. They kept the two bedrooms, which are located at the front of the house, but they moved the bathroom from the rear to the middle of the home, where it is now located next to the laundry room and a storage space. It was completely redone and is quite large, featuring a sink, shower and toilet. A third bedroom is located just above it.

The living area is at the rear of the home and opens onto the back garden. They also installed several skylights into the roof here to let in even more natural daylight. Apart from having a good connection to the garden, the clients also wished for a layout that would allow for both privacy, as well as spaces where the family could spend time together.

For this reason the architects kept the original layout of the bedrooms in the front, while the rest of the home is now basically one large space. Glazing was installed along the entire back wall of the home, which together with the many skylights makes the interior appear spacious, aids ventilation and lets in lots of light. They kept the existing brick walls, but added timber and concrete during the renovation to make it more robust and give the home that modern, industrial aesthetic.

All in all, this is a great renovation of an old building, and they managed to keep heaps of material out of the landfill while transforming it into a lovely family home.

New Hardwood Flooring Improves Value of Home and Quality of Life

When it comes to flooring your home, you can’t go wrong with hardwood flooring. Maple and oak floors don’t just look nice they have other benefits including:

  • They’re easily cared for
  • They’ll last a long time
  • They’re easily restored and maintained
  • They’re always in style
  • They have natural insulation properties
  • They work to improve the overall structural strength of your home


Maple Engineered Hardwood Flooring

There are many reasons so many homeowners turn to maple engineered hardwood when they wish to upgrade the flooring in their home.



Maple has a lovely creamy appearance that is quite unique and which creates a homey feel. Some homeowners choose to keep the natural cream color, but even those that desire a slightly different look will turn to maple since the wood does an excellent job absorbing stain, allowing the homeowner to create the exact, unique look they want for each room. Many have found that the stained maple flooring adds a great finishing touch for remodeling projects.



Maple engineered hardwood flooring resists wear and tear. It has a 1450 Janka Hardness rating which makes it a great choice not only for families with young children and pets, but also in office buildings.

After installing maple engineered hardwood flooring in your home, be prepared for lower heating and cooling bills. The flooring provides an additional layer of insulation.

Oak Flooring

Oak flooring is a very durable type of flooring you can install in your home. It’s one of the strongest types of wood that nature creates, so no matter how much traffic you get through your home, the floor will always look great. It’s a great choice for anyone who has pets.



Oak flooring is a great choice if you live in a humid environment or have a house that’s prone to moisture. Unlike other types of flooring that swells when damp, oak naturally resists moisture, making it a good choice for anyone who struggles with asthma, arthritis, or other conditions that are aggravated by damp conditions.



It’s important to remember that when you choose to have hardwood floors installed in your home, you take steps that significantly increases your home’s overall value.

Some realtors advise their clients to invest in hardwood floors before listing a house on the market. The new hardwood flooring may increase the value of the home, while also increasing the amount of interested buyers.

Author: Sara Rose

Old Barn Turned Into a Modern Home


Here is another example of a great conversion project, which breathes new life into a structure built a long time ago. The project was dubbed Ancient Party Barn and the conversion was carried out by the firm Liddicoat & Goldhill. The home is located near Folkestone, Kent, which is one of the most scenic areas of England. The architects did a great job of mixing the old with the new with this conversion, creating a gorgeous modern home, which pays homage to its historical roots yet is firmly planted in the new millennium.

The finished Ancient Party Barn is made up of a series of 18th Century agricultural buildings, which include the dairy, stables, and a big threshing barn. Owners John Sinclair and Deborah Harvey purchased the property in a dilapidated state, and wanted to turn it into a country home that could be kept secure when not occupied, but which would also offer great views when they were staying there.




The architects catered to this wish by installing insulated shutters that can be used to cover the large windows when needed. They also built a unique mechanism, that they adapted from a chain lift, to open and close these shutters when the occupants so desire.


The eastern façade is covered by an aircraft hanger door, which they sourced from the US. This door can be opened upward to create a canopy over the home’s dining area. To make sure enough daylight enters the house, they installed a large long skylight, which runs along the roof of the barn.


The interior floor space of the home measures 2,292 sq ft (213 sq m), and they used the original wood in the renovation. This proved quite challenging, since the green oak framing originally used to build the barn was mostly rotten. So they had to first disassemble and repair it, and then put it all back the way it was. But it was well worth the effort since it gives the home that quaint old-world style. They did, however, also install a hidden steel exoskeleton to give added support to the barn.




The home is quite sustainable too. It features a ground-source heat pump, which takes care of heating and hot water needs. They only installed original, reclaimed light fittings in the home, but they first adapted them to work with low-energy LED bulbs. The house was also fitted with a smart home automation system, which allows the owners to remotely monitor and adjust the home’s settings, such as lighting and temperature.

Another Smart Renovation


From the point of view of sustainability, sometimes renovation makes more sense than tearing down and building from scratch. Especially in densely populated urban areas, where tearing a building down might not even be an option. And that’s exactly what Anne Rolland, an architect from France, did. She turned an apartment in a townhouse dating back to the 1600s into a cozy modern dwelling. Her work is a great example of how easy and rewarding such a renovation can be.

Rolland turned the 258 square foot (24 sq m) apartment, which had been abandoned for over 70 years, into a modern studio. Due to the age of the building, the space had gone through a number of uses including being the stables and kitchen of a hotel. The apartment also has a hidden underground room, which is accessible via a ladder.


The first step in the renovation was the removal of all the partitions in the apartment, and then installing a multipurpose furniture unit that separates the space in two, and has a number of other functions. This unit is similar to the ones we’ve seen before on this blog, and includes a desk, storage area, a closet as well as cupboards. It is made out of birch plywood, which did not require finishing.


On one side of this separating unit is the bedroom, which is placed atop a raised platform. The bathroom is located next to it and is the only room in the main part of the apartment which can be closed off from the rest completely. On the other side of the partition is the kitchen and living area.



A very interesting part of this small apartment is the hidden underground room, which is accessible through a trapdoor. This room was once the so-called slurry pit, which was a space where the residents disposed of organic and animal waste. Since it was not put to this use for a very long time it is today quite sanitary to live in, and the owner will use the 107-square-foot (10 sq m) room as his music studio.



Couple Build a Mortgage Free Home From an Old School Bus


Richard and Rachel decided to build a home on a bus soon after they met. This decision was born out of their shared desire to own their own home, have the ability to produce all they needed themselves, and have the option of going anywhere they wanted to.

Their dream began turning into a reality once they bought a used school bus for $3000. This was followed by Richard and Rachel drafting the plans for their new mobile home using AutoCAD. They’d purchased an old bus, instead of just getting an RV or mobile home, because they wanted total freedom over how their new home will look. They also considered the other two options much flimsier than a steel-framed bus. The bus gave them a blank canvas of sorts to work from, and afforded them the ability to maximize the available space and functionality in the most efficient way possible.

Their new home is also totally off-the-grid, and powered by solar panels, as well as propane and butane. On the roof of the bus, they mounted 6 solar panels, which they bought used off eBay for $200 each. This gives them a total of 770 watts of power, while they are still in the process of buying larger batteries that will enable them to store 2-3 days of sunlight. They also fitted their new home with a catalytic heater fed by propane, and use a butane camp stove for cooking.


They also invested in an upright and front-loading solar powered refrigerator and freezer made by Sundanzer, for which they paid $1200. This is the world’s first battery-free solar powered refrigerator, and was developed by a former leader of NASA’s Advanced Technology Refrigeration Project .

Richard and Rachel are still finishing up the conversion, as they are doing it step by step. So far creating a home from an old bus cost them $12,000, which includes buying the bus and the fridge. They spent a further $1200 on a solar-powered composting toilet. They currently still don’t have plumbing, but this is next on their list of work to be done.

Their custom built home is fitted with transformable furniture and has room enough to sleep ten, since most of it can be converted into a bed. The main bedroom is located in a loft area. The home is currently still registered as an automobile, though they hope to change that to RV status soon. Currently, they are only paying about $100 per month for utilities and bus maintenance.