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Apex Alterations & Additions

Adding Modern Extensions to an Old House

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Older houses, also known as heritage homes, serve as a reminder ofa bygone era. They possess design traits and sensibilities which, despite no longer being in fashion, are still charming in their own way. Many heritage homes are also protected by the local council to preserve their historical significance.

That’s why, heritage home owners often go to great lengths to maintain their property’s original characteristics – even when the time comes to add a modern extension to an old house.

These kind of upgrades can be significant for older homes. The design choices you make can drastically change the property’s value, style and street appeal forever. Even if you maintain the original layout, the way in which you implement a new extension or addition will naturally reflect on the base property.

With that being said, here are a few factors to keep in mind when adding a modern extension to an old house.


When adding or extending, you have two design choices: preserve the original look or choose a completely modern design.

If you take the first option, you have to wisely choose your building materials. Are the materials used to create the original property still available? Are they still safe and compliant? If so, can you afford them? A draftsperson will be able to help you answer these questions.

From a design point, this option is ideal if you want the design to be as authentic as possible. You may also prefer to have a consistent appearance across the board, with no stark contrast between the original vs extension part of the building.

On the other hand, a modern extension gives you access to the latest lightweight, durable materials. These range from Premium Fibre Cement and Matrix Panels through to Axon Cladding and Linea Weatherboards. These materials do a great job of protecting you from the elements, which helps you maintain a consistent indoor climate while reducing your energy bills.

Furthermore, despite what you may initially think, the stark contrast of modern exterior walls can add a unique touch. When placed alongside a traditional brick home, a sleek, modern extension can in fact make the older features stand out.

For expert advice and guidance on adding modern extensions to an old house, contact APEX Alterations & Additions today.


Most old homes have the potential to feature the same kind of extensions as newer homes. These include ground-floor extensions and second-storey additions to renovations. You may also be able to build a new garage or carport if circumstances permit.

Council regulations may limit the type of extension you can build. If your home is registered as a heritage property, talk to your local council about the kind of modifications you are allowed to build.

There may also be genuine concerns in regards to the buildings structural integrity. For example, some older homes may not be able to support the weight second-storey addition, at least not without additional support. An independent assessment from an engineer will determine whether your home needs additional support.


  • Energy-efficiency –Modern building materials have the leading edge when it comes to energy-efficiency. They’re lightweight, durable and offer great insulation from the elements. When implemented correctly, they can help you enjoy a more consistent temperature indoors all-year-round, and thus lower your reliance on expensive cooling and heating appliances.
  • Zoning considerations – Places of local significance are subject to slightly different zoning laws than other properties. The purpose of these laws is to protect elements that add to the area’s significance. For these reasons, you should consult your local council first during the design phase, ensuring the final layout is compliant.
  • Surrounding properties – It is only natural for a heritage or older home to stand out among other houses. When designing your extension or addition, consider how it will impact the street appeal of your home. While this may not matter much to you now, if you ever decide to sell later on, this my influence the property’s resale value and public perception.
  • Choose a reputable building company – Choose a company with experience in heritage or older home modifications. They will know how to plan, design and build an extension that blends in with the current period home, yet is also sympathetic to modern design sensibilities. Plus, they will know how to closely follow local council guidelines, to ensure the project is legally compliant.

APEX Alterations & Additions has over 30 years of experience transforming older homes into timeless relics. Our hand-picked team of draftspeople, planners, project managers and builders can provide a custom solution that suits your lifestyle, budget and long-term goals.

To add a modern extension to your old house, request a quote from us today!

Find out how APEX Alterations & Additions can make your current home even better. Get in touch today for a free SITE VISIT.

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