Dean Poulton & Borja De Maqua's Best Tips For Balancing Restoration And Modernization - Exclusive

After driving by the manor every day on their way home from work, Dean Poulton and Borja De Maqua knew there was something special about the place. The Georgian estate in Warwickshire once belonged to King Henry VII. It was gifted to the lord of the manor and passed down in the family for centuries. They thought the home was charming, and when it finally went on the market, they knew they had to have it. So the former real estate agent and architect bought it.

For the past three years, the pair have been fixing it up, creating a bed and breakfast as well as a home on this historic estate. Though they don't have backgrounds in construction or renovation, they were determined to restore the home to its former glory. Now, they document this progress on HGTV's "Saving the Manor." In an exclusive interview with House Digest, Dean Poulton and Borja De Maqua share their process and what they have learned while restoring, providing tips on how to balance restoration and modernization.

Reuse and Remix

When you have an older home, it can be difficult to know what to modernize and what to keep the same. "We wanted to keep most of the historic fabrics, so it was keeping that and adding modernization by color and types of furnishings, but not furnishings [that were] too modern," says Poulton. It's a balancing act between the two. Staying true to the style of the home — ultra-modern furnishing will just look out of place — but modern pieces with an antique aesthetic will look just right.

The pair also suggests reusing items when you can. "Yeah, we like reusing a lot. We [are] fairly good at mixing new with old. I'm very lucky that Dean's an architect because he is ... I know that I [can't] say the word "OCD," but [he] thinks too much about everything, where every wire will go through, because that's a difficult part when it's an old space — adding heating, adding lighting, adding all of that," De Maqua says. Modernizing for function is always a good idea. Poulton and De Maqua updated the outdoor showers to work better, and suggest that updating the electrical and plumbing systems are always a good place to start.

Natural materials

One way to bridge the gap between old and new is with timeless materials. Though the exact aesthetic may have changed over centuries, natural materials can fit easily into a variety of styles. According to Poulton, "With the materials that we picked as well, we tend to always go for natural materials like oaks [and stone]."

He goes on to say, "metals and stuff that is timeless so that it actually is appropriate in a traditional building, and it can be appropriate in a modern building as well. It works for both." Indeed, choosing to accent your home with furniture and decor that use these materials will allow your home to look stylish no matter how the trend cycle turns.

Of their ultimate goal, De Maqua says, "We do want to create something that in 100 years will be there, and [people] will be like, 'Whoever did that renovation and saved this place did a good job, and it's still here.' That's the aim."

"Saving the Manor" airs on Fridays at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT on HGTV or on HGTV GO.