Updating a Historic Home for Today’s Lifestyle

Published: January 9, 2024

This article was originally published on January 10, 2024; it was updated on January 15, 2024.

Updating a Historic Home for Today’s Lifestyle

In our latest From the Tap podcast, we speak with Keven Kaminski and Alexis Pew, principals of Kaminski + Pew, an architecture firm in Philadelphia, about sensitively updating historic homes for today’s lifestyle.

One of the hallmarks of Kaminski + Pew’s work is their unwavering commitment to respecting the historical context of the structures they transform. Their designs are not just about individual spaces; they’re about establishing a cohesive narrative throughout a building that ensures every element harmoniously contributes to the overall aesthetic, from architectural planning and details to furnishings, fixtures, and décor.

The conversation starts by exploring about what qualities about working on historic residences appeal to the designers. We learn that stewardship is central to their practice. While Philadelphia has a rich existing building stock, it is quickly being demolished. K+P point out the value the context old buildings bring to the city and the positive impact salvaging a building can have on the environment.

Get the latest kitchen and bath products, trends and news delivered to your inbox.

Next, we review how the building code influences the design process. Kevin and Alexis talk about common – as well as unusual – problems encountered when working on vintage structures, and how they address these challenges while refining the floor plan and functionality of the home to accommodate modern living.

The designers stress the need to find balance in each project; they work to ensure that each project respectfully listens to the past while responding to the needs of present day.

The conversation then focuses on specific ways the designers work to sensitively incorporate modern kitchen appliances and/or bath fixtures into a historic interior. They also identify trusted product sources for surfacing, plumbing, lighting and more.

The talk wraps up with Kaminski + Pew speaking about the rewards of working on older buildings. “We’ve been successful when it’s difficult to tell what is old and what is new, what has been salvaged and what has been replicated. It’s a slight of hand we are strive for on every project.”

To hear more from Kaminski + Pew about working on historic buildings, listen to the podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Pandora and other outlets.

—By Leslie Clagett, KBB managing editor

Photo credit: Rebecca McAlpin

Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
B2B Marketing Exchange
B2B Marketing Exchange East
Buyer Insights & Intelligence Series
Campaign Optimization Series