These Traditional Korean Homes Received a Modern Makeover

Have you ever stayed in a hanok?

Dating back from the beginning of the 14th century, these beautiful hanoks or chosun houses are traditional Korean homes known for their slanting roofs that mimic the gorgeous slopes of the countryside’s hills. If you’ve been to South Korea, it’s easy to understand the popularity of hanok homes among tourists eager to explore the country’s rich cultural heritage. But even contemporary interior designers have taken an interest in reinventing hanoks, with their unique structure and use of natural materials. With the increasing importance of eco-friendly architecture, there’s plenty of room to develop sustainable hanoks with a modern twist.

Here, we explore our favorite hanoks that have been re-imagined for the modern-day. Let’s take a look at the stunning transformation of these homes.

An Art Historian’s Home

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From the outside, this hanok in Seoul looks like a house straight from the past. With a wooden patio that opens to a fresh garden filled with organic elements, we can imagine the tranquil atmosphere perfect for contemplative days. As a dedicated art historian, Dr. Kim had this hanok transformed to fit the times, careful to retain the distinct characteristics that make it a hanok.

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Inside, the home features pitched ceilings made with exposed wooden beams connecting the indoors with the outdoors. We love the blend of the white walls and light wooden shades that add an air of zen around the space. Though the furniture pieces consist of sleek edges and clean finishes, they remain close to the floor and retain neutral colors consistent with the overall look of the home. You can see more of the home here.

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A Fresh New Start

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Located in the heart of the city, this hanok was renovated to serve as both residence and home office for the owners. Having done an amazing job in preserving the traditional structure of the house, the designers aimed to create a space that centered on the functionality of the home.

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The use of glass screens and dark toned dining room chairs give the home a more contemporary feel. Notice the use of traditional spoons as wall decor behind the modern dining set creating a fusion of past and present. Bookcases have also been built-in to allow for more storage space in the room. Here, the room retains traditional elements such as windows and doors. Find out more about the home here.

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Cherry Blossom House

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Surrounded by cherry blossom trees that bloom on the month of April, this modern home was designed with the spirit of traditional hanoks in mind. Wanting to get away from the hustle of the city, a retired businessman sought the help of TRU Architects to create a spacious home that allowed for plenty of interaction with the outdoors. The home is faithful to the slanted roofs of traditional hanoks, as well as the open patio for easy afternoons.

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Contrary to the low-pitched ceilings of traditional hanoks, the Cherry Blossom house features a raised ceiling that allows for an observation deck from the second floor. We love the minimal white interiors that blend a harmonious flow of energy around the home. See more of the home here.

Stylish Hanok with Vibrant Interiors

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When architect Simone Carena and fashion designer Jihye Shin were looking to move in 2007, they knew they wanted to live in a traditional hanok home. But buying an old home meant that the property needed a major revamp, especially fixing leaky roofs. The couple decided to give the home a stylish refresh, and they began with eye-catching green interiors.

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While the ceiling still features exposed wooden beams, plenty of modern adjustments have been added to the home. A ceiling fan was installed to maximize air flow around the room, while a storage system sits facing the recessed bed. Check out the rest of the home here.

Mixing the Old with the New

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This home nods to the traditional hanok structure with its pagoda-like roof and wooden windows, but adds a unique twist with the use of red bricks on the exterior. Designed by Guga Urban Architecture, this modern hanok is home to a family who wanted to escape the densely populated buildings commonly found in the city. They wanted their new home to have a peaceful garden, as well as plenty of space for the kids.

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The kitchen and dining area are surprisingly modern, you’d almost forget that the home is part hanok. From the inside, the courtyard seems like an illusion of the past, yet remains accessible from large glass screens. We love how the courtyard retains an air of privacy but still provides plenty of connection with nature. Have a look at the rest of the home here.

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What do you think? Would you enjoy living in a hanok home? Let us know in the comments. We recently wrote about tropical Philippine home decor, you can check it out here. If you’re interested in reading more about articles like this, you can explore all the other homes we’ve featured here.

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