Get inspired to elevate your heritage home to suit your modern lifestyle

The James Hardie Modern Homes Forecast 2024 reveals seven popular, enduring and emerging contemporary home styles. One particular trend that’s shaping modern lifestyles and contemporary directions in home design is Modern Heritage – giving homeowners the freedom to add a wealth of contemporary flair to their classic homes, perfectly suited for modern living.

The Modern Heritage trend revolves around sleek architectural enhancements that complement the charm and history of period homes, outside and within. Here's how to transform your home to match your modern lifestyle, while at the same time preserving its rich history and character.


What does the Modern Heritage style look like?

Transforming a traditional home in the Modern Heritage style may sound like an overwhelming prospect, but it’s more about adapting the property to modern life rather than replacing every single element.

Embracing the Modern Heritage style means being able to elevate, reimagine and define a home that meticulously blends old and new. It starts by introducing a contemporary flow throughout the house with a smart floorplan. The juxtaposition of character-rich period homes and sleek architectural additions defines Modern Heritage, striking that perfect balance with deliberate intent.


Large, sprawling windows and openings in the extension floods the space with abundant natural light, taking care of the ‘darkness’ often associated with older homes. The design philosophy itself revolves around restoration and sensitive changes – flat-roof extensions with matching flashings, gutters and bargeboards complement historical structures, while glazed walls and textured cladding delivers a modern twist to the facade.

There are also various expressions of the style, with Coastal Modern Heritage bringing charm to cottages with open-plan layouts, crisp weatherboard and serene native gardens. On the other hand, Box Modern Heritage homes lean into a more geometric form, accentuating the boldness of existing heritage homes with a contemporary palette.


Why Modern Heritage homes are on the rise

In the wake of a tumultuous few years, the Modern Heritage trend reflects a broader societal desire for the quiet comforts of a well-designed home. New floorplans can create a more contemporary flow throughout the house, and Australians are finding solace in the simplicity of this grounded, comforting style of home life.

Modern Heritage homes satisfy both the desire to preserve heritage features while embracing the simplicity of modern minimalism. It encourages juxtaposition above all else – so a unique personality can be expressed in the home design. This means homeowners can preserve heritage features while contrasting them against ultra-modern design. Moreover, it allows them to integrate new technologies and modern architectural codes into the framework of their heritage property.

In the search for stability and a sense of identity, Modern Heritage architecture can be your bridge between past and present.

How an Ascot Vale couple built their dream Modern Heritage home

When Elise Weavers and Sam Russell of purchased their property in Ascot Vale, Victoria, they knew they wanted to retain the charm of the period home but transform it in such a way that it suited their modern living needs.

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“When we purchased the home, it was just a 1900s single-fronted Victorian terrace house covered by a ’70s renovation with brick-look cladding over the original weatherboards,” Weavers says. “We wanted a modern black gable form in contrast to the period façade of the Victorian terrace.”

For their Modern Heritage extension, the pair added bedrooms, ensuites, as well as a spacious open-plan living and dining area that’s complemented by a gourmet kitchen. The result is a modern counterpart to the traditional home that gives them the best of both worlds.

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At the heart of their Modern Heritage renovation was Axon™ Cladding, a product both had used in previous designs and building projects.

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“We wanted to use Axon™ Cladding because of its modern vertical profile that contrasts with the horizontal blockwork weatherboards of the Victorian façade,” Weavers says.

In doing so, they were able to create the hallmark ‘contrast’ between old and new, while also getting a cost-effective cladding solution that met their project’s technical requirements.

Weavers and Russell aren’t the only builders who’ve used Axon™ Cladding to inspire a Modern Heritage renovation. Recent builds in Golden Point also took advantage of the versatility of Axon™ Cladding, while Northcote and a stunning Kinwolf project used Linea™ Weatherboard and Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding to create a truly memorable Modern Heritage property.

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Golden Point, BuildHer Collective featuring Axon™ Cladding

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Golden Point, BuildHer Collective featuring Axon™ Cladding


Northcote, Architect Lisa Breeze featuring Linea™ Weatherboard


Kinwolf, Three Birds Renovations featuring Linea™ Weatherboard and Hardie™ Fine Texture Cladding

Will the Modern Heritage style complement your modern lifestyle while matching your renovation dreams? Download the Modern Heritage Design Handbook and order your samples now to get started on the design and build process.

Modern Heritage Design Handbook

Find out how to achieve this elevated, defined, reimagined look of the Modern Heritage home.

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You can also explore all seven popular and emerging modern home styles in the James Hardie Modern Homes Forecast.

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