-Re House

“-Re” House no. 27 – The Living Room Mania

“-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. 

I find it fascinating how many projects provide extremely large living rooms in contrast with the rest of the apartment. Is as if we don’t actually use the rest of the spaces, and they are there only for occasions…

Original layout:
•  Completed: 2006
Surface: 78m²

Original Layout
• It is nice that the hallway has an easy distribution to all the spaces. It is however, less appealing how crowded and rather inconvenient it feels.
• Similar to the living room issue, the desire to provide as many options in the bathrooms, results in crowded and cramped spaces. Having both a bathtub and a shower is always nice. Bumping into shower doors and barely maneuvering oneself in the space, let alone two people, not so much.
So, let’s see what the two items imply: A bathtub is desired by most people. It appeals to parents as they can bathe their children more easily, however it can lose its appeal after a certain age due to obvious safety reasons. A shower appeals to working people that need to move fast. It appeals to people that do a lot of sport, but so does a bathtub. It appeals to people that want to save water, but hey, a bathtub won’t stop you from doing that either.
Basically, the idea is that both of them have their appeal and serve one well. So, if the bathroom is small, just pick one. Allow yourself the decency to use the space with ease and joy instead of bumping into doors and furniture. And hey, if you want both of them, remember that there are more options to choose from. 1 / 2 / 3 / 4
• The apartment has 78m², which is quite generous. Yet the only storage/utilitarian space is a tiny square shoved between the small bedroom and the living room. It is placed right next to the entrance door of the living room and accessed through the most cramped spot of the house.
• And what’s with that tiny itsy bitsy balcony? Really? I have 78m² and I can’t even stretch my legs?

New layout:
• I moved the secondary bedroom and in the process allowed the living room door to be accessible from the entry hallway as well as created a more private section where the laundry space can be accessed.
• I increased the laundry room and allowed for a little more storage space.
• Based on the explanation above, I chose the bathtub with a glass wall that allows for an easy use of the shower.
• I grew up in a house. A small house, but with a garden. I could easily go outside, plant a flower, chase the dog, grab a chair and read in the sun. Later in life I got to live in apartments, some with balconies, some without. The ones without made me truly feel the importance of that little piece of true balcony. You can’t give somebody a tiny box and call it done. Even at the present high rate of relocation, a small period lived in an apartment that has the option of a balcony deserves the decency of an actual one and stretched legs.
• You must have noticed by now that with all the mentioned changes the living room surface has decreased. Do I think that is a problem? No. Most people work through out the day and use their couches only in the evening and weekends. By the time kids turn to teenagers they barely come out of their rooms. And so, the 32m² left (out of the initial 38m²) are more than enough to cater to all the needs of the space and its residents. And I’d venture to say that for the price of 6m², the gain of a bigger balcony, storage space, privacy and ease of use is a fair trade.

Click here for more “-Re” House projects
Click here for more “-Re” Adapt projects

Leave a Reply

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