" creating and remodelling bespoke homes, holiday retreats and boltholes "
DUTCH HOUSE II | nl
For the refurbishment of this house, originally built in the 1970s, the priority was to rethink the existing layout into a compact and yet highly liveable plan. The balance of the existing architectural composition gave us a strong diagram from which to begin our explorations.
The fact that the house is set back from the main street created an opportunity to extend the existing volume in two directions and carve out a sequence of spaces, varying in height and with different degrees of privacy. Designed as a one-level residence, the spatial arrangement of the new composition breaks down the overall organization of the back garden into in-between pockets of greenery that can be experienced from the inside through carefully framed views. Making the landscape part of the house and the house part of the landscape became central to the brief, sitting at the core of every design decision regardless of its scale (from the more substantial architectural and landscape gestures to the interior material choices and soft furnishings).
The unobtrusive street facade sits comfortably within the lush surrounding foliage with hints of green peeping out from behind low-pitched roofs and glazed partitions. In a contemporary nod to the traditional Japanese technique of 'shakkei' or 'borrowed landscape', the boundaries between interior and exterior are slowly dissolving. The sunken dining area and kitchen lead up to the double-height living room which opens further towards the garden and patio. Thoughtfully placed overhanging eaves and slats filter the natural light, adding a distinctly poetic aspect to the design. The bedrooms, clustered in the northern wing of the house, are enveloped in the greenery which adds to the dappling of light and shadow, creating a calm, restful atmosphere.
An elegant mix of handcrafted natural wood and polished stone is central to the interior feel. Built-in furniture, cabinets and doors respond to the practical requirements of each space while loose, hand-picked elements have been chosen with an eye to accenting the design of the house - contemporary leather armchairs and sofa and a wooden dining table surrounded by Danish designer H.J. Wegener's iconic Wishbone Chairs. The result is a unique, sensible approach to materials and context, mixing tradition and contemporary living.
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