-Re House

“-Re” House no. 24 – Adapting Existing

“-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. 

City centers are filled with old narrow beautiful buildings. Sometimes though they are beyond saving. So then something new takes its place. This apartment is part of an insertion on a narrow plot bordering another building on one side and a somewhat claustrophobic path on the other. It is a one bedroom apartment with a generous enough surface.

Original layout:
•  Completed: 2011
Surface: 52m²

• The hallway kitchen works. It does, but imagine you have friends coming over. You are in the kitchen, they’re in the living room. You can’t really entertain, while being in opposite corner of the apartment. Well, you can scream your lungs out, however I doubt that will make either your vocal cords or your neighbors happy. It is dark and depressing and if your air vent gives up on you, the smell will take a while to fade away. It is close to the bedroom so making popcorn on an insomnia night at 2 AM could easily wake up your significant other.
• Unless the person living here is majorly into minimalism, some storage space is usually required. The bedroom is rather small so either you’ll end up crowding it to the point of madness or you’ll end up spilling into the living room. There goes the Feng Shui…
I’m really not a fan of the bathroom being accessible through the bedroom, but since it is only a one bedroom apartment it is not the worst option. You could say it is an en suite. True, however that works when there is another bathroom available. I also, really, don’t understand the shape of the wall that separates the toilet and bathroom from the bedroom. Unless there is an actual structural need for that I would allow the bigger bathroom space. Is not like that little niche can make up for the lack of storage space of the apartment.
The very first thing you see as you enter the apartment is the bedroom door. So, as a guest, one would assume that’s where to go. In this configuration it is also rather easy to showcase the bedroom and pajamas to visitors (bell rings, door opens when guests arrive, etc…). Unless you like the look of arrows on either the wall or the floor to point the right direction, I’d move that door. Though that could be a look! 

New layout:
• Firstly, I moved the kitchen to the living room. Might not be the biggest kitchen, but it offers better conditions for entertaining, ventilation as well and cooking something that requires a watchful eye (less back and forth, etc…).
• I replaced the kitchen with a tiny laundry room and a bunch of storage. I’d say that is useful. 
• I straightened the bathroom wall, allowing for a little more room and a tiny bit of storage.
• I moved the door to the bedroom. People don’t really like lying in bed and not seeing the door. It is a instinctual desire to have control over the space in such a vulnerable moment of the day. Bob from Life of an architect explained this so beautifully over here. The new location provides better circulation and more privacy.

Click here for more “-Re” House projects

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.