queen ann home renovations bay area

Home Renovations That Will Modernize Your Queen Anne Style Home

A Queen Anne home is a gorgeous dwelling with so much old-style charm. They are elegant, whimsical, and a vibrant call back to a more unique architectural style. They’re usually found in more historical districts, so there are sometimes local regulations in order to preserve their nature. Not all of them are however, and thus more freedom with renovations and stylizing your own home is granted.

Remember that style is subjective, and a home’s value is only improved with quality work. Do not attempt to DIY major home renovations. Hire a professional to ensure the job is done right with lasting results, as well as ensuring the project is within local ordinances and regulations.

Modernizing a home is one of the fastest ways to increase the home’s value, as long as it is done well. It also can give a much-needed facelift to an old style such as the gloriously elegant Queen Anne, or just bring a breath of fresh air to a space that has been stagnant for a while. Keep reading for ideas on how to modernize this beautifully unique Victorian style home.

outdoor garden for queen anne home

Exterior Home Renovations

Exterior renovations are essential for keeping up the integrity of an old house, as well as bringing lasting curb appeal. These sorts of renovations can set the house apart from everything else on its block, which is something such an elegant building is already trying to do.

Some examples of exterior home renovations you can go through with to modernize your Queen Anne style home are:

  • Paint the exterior walls of the house
  • Hire a landscaping service to spruce up your yard
  • Fence in your yard
  • Add in outdoor recreational areas around your yard
  • Introduce water features to your yard

Now, let’s dive deeper into each one of these types of renovations below.


It’s easy to fall into the same neutral tone trap as every other house out there. The thing is, a Queen Anne isn’t like every other house out there! As such, it lends itself well to more than just the typical browns and greys. Consider painting the exterior walls something in a jewel tone if your local regulations allow it.

Another option is to keep the standard color of the exterior walls while painting the door a bright color.


Landscaping is critical to the curb appeal of a house regardless of style. A quick way to brighten up the exterior of a home while ensuring a positive look is to keep the landscaping maintained. Fresh mulch has the added benefit of smelling good while it brings in a nice color, so it should be used to help enhance other aspects of the landscaping.

Some more ideas for landscaping the yard of your Queen Anne home include adding:

  • Flower Gardens
  • Rock Gardens
  • Ornamental Trees
  • Shrubs and Bushes
  • Tasteful Lawn Décor

Now that you know some ideas for landscaping, let’s move on to fencing.


Fencing is an underappreciated part of the exterior of a home. While it is useful for designating property space, it also can be used to break up gardens and other parts of the lawn. Take into consideration the exterior look of the house when choosing a material to make a fence out of so that it will align with the elegant style of the house itself rather than take away from it.

Wooden, Metal, and Brick fences can all be used with success. Ensure they are clean and well placed and consider adding a little flair to them. A Queen Anne is an elegant, over the top Victorian style and the fencing should also reflect this. However, going overboard can actually detract from the view to the house itself and should be avoided.

Outdoor Recreational Areas

Inevitably, time will be spent outside of the home. This could be for personal relaxation purposes, but also for entertainment. Taking into consideration any local ordinances and potential HOAs, an outdoor recreational space can be beneficial to modernizing an otherwise slightly dated looking home.

Consider some of the following to help bring in some good recreational additions to the exterior of the home:

  • Arbors
  • Gazebos
  • Screened-in Porches
  • Firepits
  • Benches
  • Water Features

Now that you know some ideas for fencing, let’s move on to water features.

water features for queen anne homw

Water Features

Water features are great ways to bring some class into a space. They can also be used to cool down in the summer heat! They make great additions to garden spaces and interesting features for guests. They can also be used to help accent the owner’s style and bring a little bit of beauty to the world around them.

Some examples of water features you can add to the yard of your Queen Anne style home are:

  • Fountains
    • Decorative
    • Bird Baths
  • Ponds
    • Fish
    • Plants
  • Pools
    • In-Ground
    • Above Ground
    • Children’s
    • Decorative

Now that we’re through with exterior renovations, let’s move on to the interior to see what can be spruced up.

open kitchen

Interior Home Renovations

Modernizing the interior of the house takes a lot of personal style, but there are always some simple methods to really do something great for a space and bring it closer to the current era. Focus attention mostly on the kitchen and any bathrooms within the house, as these are the rooms that have the highest return in value.

Outside of those two rooms, remember to keep to a lot of clean lines and keep a focus on color. That is what will transform a space from outdated to modern chic the fastest.


The good news is that a modern style is easy to color coordinate for. It relies heavily on neutrals such as beige, white, and black with a singular pop of bright color.

Consider having all of the walls a white or a grey, grey flooring, with a lot of white and/or black furniture. Then pop a bright color as a focus wall or a focus piece of furniture such as a nice chair. This alone will quickly modernize the look of a space and give it a sleek appearance.


Flooring can be used to either unify a whole space or to designate smaller spaces apart from one another. It’s a critical design choice as well as a functional choice.


Vinyl Laminate Tile Hardwood Carpet
● Cheap

● Waterproof

● Easy Cleaning

● Various Styles

● Cheaper

● Various Styles

● Easy Cleaning

● Durable

● Sleek

● Easy Cleaning

● Waterproof

● Temperature Regulation

● Sleek

● Classic

● Easy Cleaning

● Comfortable

● Various Styles

● Many Colors

● Not Durable

● Easy To Tear

● Frequent Replacements

● Dated Risk

● Easy To Look Too Cheap

● Breakable

● Wide Grout Lines Dirty Easily

● Maintenance Required

● Scratches

● Frequent Replacements

● Cleaning

modern sunroom oakland

Open Concept Vs. Closed Concept

Modern trends lean more towards an open concept floor plan, one where the kitchen, dining, and living spaces all flow together. There’s not much room for hallways or broken up spaces, making the area feel open and spacious.

Most older floor plans are more closed concepts with each room having its own designated space with walls, doors, and hallways closing it off. It has a tendency of making things feel closed in and small if not utilized correctly.

It is pricey to convert a plan from closed to open concept, as there are many hidden issues within the walls of older homes. The reward at the end however would prove to be satisfying and increase the appeal of the house.

Do not attempt to take down walls without an expert present. You do not want to jeopardize the structural integrity of the house, your health, or risk unforeseen problems. Additionally, if the house is in a historic part of town, opening up the floorplan might not be an option so please check with local officials before tackling such a project.


Lighting is very important in any space and is not just limited to lamps and ceiling fixtures. The natural lighting brought in by windows is also incredibly important to making a space feel open, roomy, and modern.

Here are some things to consider when deciding lighting options:

Natural Artificial
● Big windows with open panes

● Clean, open lines round the windows

● Blinds in a clean material

● Oversized curtains tucked to the side of the windows to enlarge the look

● Simple lamps

● Recessed Lighting

● Slim blades on ceiling fans

● Clean lines

● Neutral colors

Now that you know some options for lighting, let’s move on to efficiency in adding newer appliances and upgrading the house.


Older homes are notorious for their lack of efficiency. A quick way to help improve the overall maintenance cost of the home as well as bringing it up to modern standards is to look at ways to increase the efficiency of the house.

Consider some of the following options:

  • Sealing Windows and Doors
  • Exchanging light bulbs with energy efficient versions
  • Invest in a Tankless Water Heater
  • Install timers on electronics
  • High-Efficiency Washer/Dryer combinations
  • High-Efficiency Dishwashers
  • Low-Energy Refrigerators
  • Efficient Plumbing and HVAC systems
  • Upgrade insulation during major renovation projects

Now that you’ve found some ways to make the house more efficient, let’s move on to countertops.


There’s always a countertop somewhere within a home, be it in a kitchen, bathroom, or some other third space unique to the building. The material they are made out of can make or break a modern looking space.

Stay away from laminate or wood countertops at all costs. They are easy to destroy, build bacteria, and will ruin the modern look of a space. Instead, look at some sleek alternatives.

Concrete Granite Marble
● Durable

● Low Maintenance

● Easy To Clean

● Various Looks

● Sleek

● Classy

● Easy To Clean

● Various Looks

● Sleek

● Classy

● Easy To Clean

● Various Looks

● Hard to find pretty patterns

● Easy to look too industrial

● Porous

● Needs Resealed Regularly

● Soft

● Easy to chip



Kitchens are one of the biggest selling points in a house, and one of the best areas to get a return from a renovation. That being said, it is one of the most important spaces to really put forth the effort to modernize. What makes a kitchen modern is size, space, and materials. Everyone who wants a modern look wants a big, beautiful kitchen with plenty of space to work and entertain.

Things to consider for a kitchen:

  • Storage Space
    • Can be improved with racks, shelves, cabinets, drawers, and whatever little clever bits can be found about the aisles in a store.
  • Counter Space
    • Can be improved either by literally adding a counter, adding a floating counter, or adding a rolling counter.
  • Appliances
    • Risk being too big and bulky for a space, however there are some that can be built in such as microwaves and are worth considering.

Now that you know about some things you can add to a kitchen, let’s move on to what you can add to a bathroom.


Bathrooms are another one of the biggest selling points in a house. Therefore, it is also a space to put attention towards during renovations as they will almost always guarantee a return on the investment. It is easy to make a bathroom feel cramped and small, but with some good colors and lighting, it instead can be an oasis.

Other aspects to consider when altering the bathroom:

  • Bath/Shower
  • Toilet
  • Sink/Vanity
  • Faucets
  • Mirror(s)
  • Storage Space
  • Towel Racks
  • Flooring

Remember to use clean lines and neutral colors with a singular pop within the space, such as tiling the bath surround.


Just because a house is made to an older style such as the Queen Anne, it doesn’t mean that the house itself needs to keep up a dated look. The most important rule of thumb is that a modern look requires clean, simple, elegant lines and does not use a lot of color. It is a pair of neutrals and one bright pop at best.

Never attempt major renovation projects alone. Hire a professional remodeling contractor in order to ensure safety, proper regulations are being followed, and quality. Focus the majority of the renovation attention to the landscaping of the exterior as well as kitchens and bathrooms. These are the places with the most bang for the buck and can shoulder the majority of the look themselves.

Element Home Remodeling East Bay is an Oakland based home renovation company. We specializing In renovating Queen Anne style homes in The Bay Area as well as modernizing the interior while keeping the charms that makes a Queen Anne special. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Element Home Remodeling

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *