“-Re” House together with “-Re” Adapt are two series part of a project in which I review, refine and redesign residential projects available on the Dutch housing market. “-Re” House touches projects that have been completed after the year 2000 and could have been done more efficiently to begin with, while “-Re” Adapt looks at how to better adapt older residential architecture that was designed in a different cultural and historical context.
Weird features such as angles, windows or stairs are generally good elements to create interest and thus design around them. That being said, here is an exception. ;)
• Completed: 1995
External storage: 22m²
• This is a not so little apartment, with a non standard shaped living room. It comes with a basic layout: main distribution hallway with direct access to all main spaces. So far, so good. What can we do to make it even better?
• The bathroom is incredibly crowded. Despite the general consensus that having all possible options would improve one’s life, such confined spaces create stress and discomfort.
We might all strive for all encompassing morning routines to ground us, but most of us haven’t gotten there yet. We might not even be aware that that is something we need. Most of us will sleep walk through morning, taking our frustration on the corner of the bed while jumping on one leg on the way to the coffee maker. And so, there no need to create more corners to bump into, reasons to get frustrated and grounds for crankiness.
On a side note, some of these spaces are so efficient, that even a zen monk would have a difficult time with them.
• There is not much to say about the living room. It is a weird shape and might take a little more work, but is not an impossible challenge. There are two elements that do require a little bit of attention in order to make the space more efficient: the laundry room and the kitchen, with what I assume to be, its breakfast nook.
With the access straight from the kitchen, the storage/laundry room can act as a well placed pantry. However, how many people in modern Nederlands still have a proper pantry? Most storage space is used for non food items, such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners, Christmas decorations, forgotten boxes and even bikes. These, and particularly the washing machine are items best accessed from the main corridor. Walking around with laundry baskets though half the house is no ones favorite past time.
Lastly but not the least, focusing on the present layout of the kitchen we can see that the shape and access point force anybody entering the space to interact with the entire living room. This might not be desirable at all times, making an easy and closer access to the kitchen a rather important element.
• Despite its surface, this is only a two bedroom apartment. The general maximum occupancy for this layout is three, maybe three and a half. Thus, unless one of the members decides to take permanent residency on a toilet, there is no need for two of them. (If however, desired, the second toilet can be added in place of one of the two sinks.)
It can be hard to choose between a bathtub and a shower. Both have their advantages as well as disadvantages. I grew up with a bathtub (Adding also shower would have been impossible. It was, and still is, a really small bathroom. Just for the fun of it, I recently measured the door. 50cm wide. Told you it was small! ;) ), and so I will always add one if possible. I do however, know people that despite having had both options while growing up, will stick to the shower camp. I do think that more important than having the options is the ability to use the space with ease and dignity.
That being said, the space is large enough to allow multiple layouts based on preferences, including the two in one option. 1 / 2 / 3 / 4
• The biggest changes I have made, concern the living room. Based on the elements already explained I relocated the entrance to the laundry/storage to the main corridor. I have changed the layout of the kitchen to allow better access and independence from the rest of the space. And I have removed the so called breakfast nook to achieve a better flow for the space.
• Though I like and believe in emphasizing the weird features of the spaces I design, it happens sometimes, that the better choice for the layout is to do quite the opposite. Which is why this time, I left the diagonal wall alone. I promise not to habit. ;)