This mashup of a house in the English countryside is a gorgeous and dramatic reminder that building something new doesn’t mean getting rid of the old.

Will Gamble Architects designed a home addition for a couple who wanted to convert a cattle shed on their property in Northamptonshire, England, into an expanded kitchen and living/dining room that would live alongside the main house. Also on the property: the ruins of a 17th-century parchment factory, which dotted the land as crumbling slabs of light brick.

Instead of tearing down the ruins, the studio embraced them and built the extension within the confines of the old bricks. “It has real charm both historically and aesthetically,” the studio’s director, Will Gamble, told Dezeen. “It was very much part of the character of the building as a whole and therefore we felt strongly that it needed to be preserved and celebrated.”

Kitchen extending into living area that faces windows.

A wise choice. The resulting extension features layers of texture, with the lighter ruins living right alongside the darker brick from the renovation. Outside, the ruins frame an outdoor terrace like leftovers from an ancient amphitheater; inside, they create texture as painted walls. The design also plays up the contrasts with a sleek kitchen, softened by timber ceilings above.

Kitchen featuring dark cabinets and timber beam ceiling.
Exterior of brick home featuring large square window.

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