Mansion in The Hague is a residential renovation project of a hundred year old building, completed by designer Remy Meijers, located in the outskirts of The Hague, The Netherlands. The French owners wanted a surrounding designed in a neutral color scheme defined by a quite and peaceful ambiance with a lightness of space.
The original layout, the characteristic living room and the original ornaments have been maintained. ‘Because there was no need to change the structure of this impressive building.
Only the kitchen and bedroom were too small for actual standards. Therefore, these areas are increased.’ On the ground floor the separation between living room and kitchen was demolished allowing daylight to penetrate deep into the house.
The white walls contribute to the light and spatial character of the mansion. In this sober, open interior wooden elements act as modest highlights.
Contractor: In Toom Furniture: Bom Interieurs Furniture: Remy Meijers Collectie Natural Stone: Van Leeuwen Natuursteen Lightning: Flos, Modular, Delta Light Wooden Floor: Ebony and Co (begane grond)
Photos: René Gonkel
17BR-House is an early 1900’s Peranakan shophouse that has been just recently renovated into a contemporary family home by ONG&ONG in Singapore. The homeowners wanted to build a warm family home that would preserve the shophouse’s historical character and reverse the drastic alterations done during its previous incarnation as an office space.
In reinstating 17BR-House as a residence, an inner courtyard was created on the first floor, allowing sunlight and air to flow freely into and throughout the house. The installation of a green wall as well as the covering of the floor entirely in carpet grass transforms the courtyard into a quaint indoor garden. This space forms the visual focus for the first floor; with the absence of partition walls, there is a seamless visual transition from the kitchen at the back of the building to the living area at the front, allowing the family-oriented homeowner to interact with his children while indulging in culinary exploits in the kitchen.
A dramatic spiral staircase spanning all three levels maximizes vertical circulation while skylights in the jack roof directly above the staircase provide natural illumination. Timber beams installed in the ceiling of the first floor and the roof adds an old world charm to the home.
The second floor holds two bedrooms; both share a bathroom, a long corridor lined with bookshelves and storage space, as well as equally enjoyable views, one of the traditional facade and the other of the green wall in the courtyard.
The top floor houses the master bedroom and a separate bathroom visually connected to the bedroom via a long slab of limestone that serves as the top counter of the bathroom’s vanity and continues onward into the corridor, forming a functional desk area amidst a bookshelf-lined wall. The skylight in the master bathroom illuminates both the bathroom and the balcony on the second floor with natural daylight.
The shophouse’s rear comprises a kitchen, the service quarters as well as a 7-metre long swimming pool, with traditional glazed floor tiles and a replica spiral staircase at the back reminiscent of the shophouse’s early days.
The façade’s restoration, with the reversion to a single pintu pagar door, the reinstatement of the traditional, taller windows on the second floor, and the use of shiny enamel-finished dado tiles, completes the project that goes beyond the creation of a perfect, modern family home to a preservation of an invaluable cultural heritage.
The shophouse had been in a bad state, having been stripped of its historical characteristics and renovated for office use. With much support from the client, the architects made a conscious effort to bring these traditional elements back while also reinstating the shophouse to residential use. Considering the scale of the restorative work required the final product is both a perfect home for the modern family as well as a fitting tribute to the shophouse’s history.
Photos: Aaron Pocock
Many homeowners take a positive view about home renovation and believe that they can improve the look and value of their property by tackling some projects themselves or getting a contractor in to get the job done.
Unfortunately, a number of these same homeowners who have already gone ahead with their renovation work, would like to rewind the clock and start again or do things differently, if they knew then what they know now.
Try to be a savvy homeowner and avoid these common pitfalls, leaving you with an improved property and no problems to address.
You may need to lodge a development application with your local council for the proposed work, depending on the type and scale of your intended project.
If you are planning on making any significant or structural changes to your property, don’t take the risk of falling foul of the law. Failure to submit the necessary paperwork before you start your renovations could be a costly mistake.
It is possible that even relatively minor repairs and renovations like painting the exterior of your home or replacing some or all of your roofing, may require a council permit. Your local council can give you the advice you need on any regulations and requirements that you need to adhere to, so always give them a call and check the situation before you attempt to do any work.
Owner and builder
If you are one of the many homeowners who choose to take on the role of owner-builder, you should be aware that there are obligations that you still have to comply with.
An owner-builder may choose to either do all the renovation work themselves or employ the assistance of sub-contractors to help them with the tasks that they do not have the skills for themselves.
Owner-builders need to be aware that they are subject to their own unique set of legal obligations and rights, depending on the territory that you live in. If you are providing or using your own tools on site and either working by yourself or with others, you will need domestic building insurance and an owner-builder certificate of consent. Make sure your tools are to the right standards and will last a lifetime, check out Hi-Speed Tooling for any engineering tools you may need.
You will need to be aware of occupational health and safety regulations and certain work like electrical and plumbing tasks, need to be carried out by licensed tradespeople.
Accurate estimate of costs
One of the most common pitfalls for home renovation projects beyond the legislative and legal requirements is the failure to budget correctly for the work.
You need to set out a detailed estimated cost of renovations and break down the costs to a detailed level, including things like how many power points you want to add and even how many door handles you need.
Not taking the time to complete a detailed financial feasibility study and create an accurate budget is the downfall of many property owners, who end up running out of money and can sometimes be unable to actually complete the work.
Choose your renovation project carefully
Spending too much money on your property improvements or doing work that fails to add value will result in no financial gain and may even end up putting you in a worse financial position than when you started.
It is vital that a renovation project that is being carried out in order to improve the appearance and value of a property is capable of adding value when it is completed. Even relatively minor decisions, like putting in French doors rather than bi-fold doors which can be roughly twice as expensive, can make all the difference to the outcome of your renovation project.
If you are planning to renovate to suit your personal taste and have no plans to sell the property for some while that would be fine, but if you are renovating to improve its value in a sale, you need to think of your target market.
You should never renovate a property where your personal likes take priority over the general preferences of the type of person who is going to buy your property from you.
You need to make the time to properly project manage your renovation or you could easily end up paying too much for materials and labor.
A lack of time or preparation will often result in a renovator being unable to shop around and negotiate the best price for their goods and labor costs. Using something like Microsoft Project can really make the task of project management easier and help you to free up more time for the important art of negotiation.
Some home renovators wish they could go back and start over again. Avoid that felling by trying to plan properly and avoid these common pitfalls.
About the author: Michael Reimann is a home inspector with several years’ experience. When he has the time, he likes to share what he has learned with others. You can find his illuminating posts on a variety of websites and homeowner blogs.
Photo Sources: 1. Andrew Roby General Contractors, 2. Ply Gem, 3. M.J. Whelan Construction, 4. ísARK Studio, 5. Carlton Architecture, 6. BHG, 7. Apartment Therapy, 8. BHG, 9. Homelife, 10. McGill Design Group, 11. The Mom Tog Diaries, 12. -13. BHG, 14. Coop 15 Architecture, 15. Geremia Design, 16. BHG, 17. Harry Braswell Inc., 18. JJ Locations, 19. The Lettered Cottage, 20. BHG, 21. Pinterest, 22. Apartment Therapy, 23. BHG, 24. Tommy Chambers Interiors, 25. An Urban Cottage, 26. Design Sponge, 27. CCI Renovations
This Tribeca Loft project encompasses a complete modern renovation of a 10th story loft by architect Aaron Schump, located in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City. Extensive glazing on three facades presented a unique design challenge for this project.
A bar of walnut housing the kitchen and service areas organizes the plan. Bedrooms were pushed to the south and west, leaving the north-west corner free for entreating and unobstructed views of the Hudson river. Aaron Schump served as project manager at SPaN overseeing the entire project from design to construction administration.
AS//A is an architecture, urban design and research studio operating at the intersection of civic and ecological systems, urban and rural environments, and digital and physical processes. We explore the complexity of these relationships through a rigorous and collaborative design process aimed at uncovering the specifics of place, culture and materials to create buildings that are environmentally and culturally responsive. Focused on crafting value at multiple scales, we aim to achieve maximum aesthetic and social influence while employing minimum economic and environmental impact. We believe that well crafted spaces can positively affect our quality of life by creating sustainable places to live, work and play while maintaining respect for people, cities, and nature.
Photos: Courtesy of Aaron Schump
Long Courtyard House is a contemporary addition to a turn of the century terrace house designed in 2013 by SCALE Architecture, located in Alexandria, a suburb in the inner-east of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. By reorienting the courtyard to the side of the block, the project challenges the typical terrace configuration. It creates a north-facing side garden extending the full length of the addition.
The project is a compact building with a slender footprint, where each interior space relates to a new garden room. An equivalency of interior and exterior space is created, expanding the spatial relationship beyond the building envelope.
The addition is made up of two pure forms, each addressing its own garden. The concrete volume on the ground floor opens north to the long garden court, while a cantilevered timber box floating above opens east to a roof garden.
These discrete forms define the spatial arrangement – living takes place on the ground floor, inside the solid and elemental concrete form, while bedrooms are contained in the lightweight timber box above.
SCALE Architecture is a Sydney based practice committed to excellence in Architecture, design and urbanism. SCALE is a multiple award winning practice led by Matt Chan, established in Amsterdam (2002) and Sydney (2004). Our growing portfolio is extended by collaboration with architects, planners, artists and students both locally and internationally. The studio’s focus on architecture is cross fertilised by our active engagement in research, education, publication, exhibition and talks.
Photos: Brett Boardman
The contemporary transformation of North Bondi House was carried out by Australian studio MCK Architects, located in Bondi, an eastern suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. This project comprises a first floor addition and a ground floor reinvention to a space + light deprived semi-detached house.
Floorspace has been sacrificed on the first floor to create a double height open core to the center of the house, filtering natural light into the depths of the interior. Dead space has been otherwise eliminated where possible through open planning and recycling circulation functionality.
MCK is a young team of multi-award winning architects based in Sydney, Australia. We specialize in residential and commercial projects of high-quality finish and detail that are sensitive to context and brief. Our distinctive aesthetic is known for its classic proportion and geometric form. We enjoy using unexpected materials that challenge and sometimes even surprise. We also believe that good architecture and respect for the environment go hand in hand. Working with your ideas, we can nurture your project from conception to completion. Our innovative and inter-disciplinary skill-set, and extensive network of suppliers, means we can take a project from the first sketch right through to construction. Our team can help you make the right decisions and guide you through the process by bringing our creativity and can-do expertise to the table. Our work-style is collaborative, open and driven by our love of good design.
Photos: Douglas Frost
Casa MT is a modern renovation project centered around the extension of an existing detached house by architect Rocco Borromini, located in Traona, Italy. The lot on which the intervention was, nestled in the mountains of Valtellina Rhaetian, is bordered to the east by the bed of a small stream, bordered to the north and west with the typical terraced vineyards to the south and enjoys a view of the valley and Orobian. The existing building, from traditional architectural composition, is placed in the frieze at the creek.
The intervention of extension consists of two parts. The first, used as a bedroom and bathroom, spread over 60 square meters on two levels, is located upstream of the existing house, and it takes the shape. Regarding the finishing of the interior of this area you have chosen to use an ash termocotto wall and a light marble lightly brushed to the floor and the shower.
The second part, with a surface indicative of 2,152 square feet (200 square meters), is used as a kitchen, pantry, bathroom, dining and living area with a swimming pool and is characterized by a play of volumes floors, fully clad in natural stone, for the most part covered with vegetation and open to the valley through two large windows.
The design idea arises from the need to relate to the pre-existence, from the choice of what dematerialize as possible the volumes causing them to become an integral part of the context, as a result of a major excavation in rock we proceeded to restore the original section terraced making them they themselves of the terraces.
For the flooring of the kitchen, bathroom and to the lining of the pool you chose to use an absolute black granite, sandblasted and brushed while the flooring in the living area and the area adjacent to the pool was used ash termocotto, this’ last choice to leave a strong interconnection between interior and exterior.
Also in this context it was decided to pay particular attention to alignment between interior and exterior through windows completely collected on all four sides, with sections of very thin profiles despite important light.
Photos: Marcello Mariana
This renovated four story brick townhouse has been designed by Turett Collaborative Architects, located on East 61st Street in the Upper East Side of New York. In the redesign of this 100 year old 4,500 square foot townhouse, the interior and back walls were removed and reconstructed; now, a large airy skylight above the staircase in the midsection of the house floods every room with natural light.
Expanding livable space appealing to modern aesthetics is a primary design challenge in townhouse renovation. In our renovation of this 61st street townhouse, the interior and rear walls were removed and reconstructed. With floor-to-ceiling windows and skylight, natural light now floods every room.
The beauty of this townhouse is in the simplicity of its design, and in the use of natural materials to enhance it. Stone, steel, travertine and fiber-cement panels are used extensively on the exterior, while frosted glass, white stained maple, and polished steel adorn the new interior. The clear spatial configuration, innovative glass addition, use of natural materials and attention to neighborhood integrity, work in harmony to redefine a modern townhouse.
The townhouse garnered national attention when it was used as the on-camera contestants’ residence for Bravo’s “Make Me a Supermodel.”
Townhouse Design Tip
Townhouses are often defined by a narrow width with multiple floors. Stair design demands design creativity and innovation to make optimal use of space and to amplify a sense of opens. Consider waterfall or “sawtooth” oak treads and risers which cantilever over the painted stair stringer enhancing the perceived thinness of the stair section. Glass walls define the stair circulation zone at the lower two public floors, transitioning to a custom designed steel guardrail.
Photos: Courtesy of Turett Collaborative Architects
Upper West Side Combo is a prewar apartment renovation by design firm StudioLAB of two dark and tightly configured units into a single unified space, located in Manhattan, New York. The designers were challenged with the task of converting the existing arrangement into a large open three bedroom residence. The previous configuration of bedrooms along the Southern window wall resulted in very little sunlight reaching the public spaces.
Breaking the norm of the traditional building layout, the bedrooms were moved to the West wall of the combined unit, while the existing internally held Living Room and Kitchen were moved towards the large South facing windows, resulting in a flood of natural sunlight.
Wide-plank grey-washed walnut flooring was applied throughout the apartment to maximize light infiltration. A concrete office cube was designed with the supplementary space which features walnut flooring wrapping up the walls and ceiling. Two large sliding Starphire acid-etched glass doors close the space off to create privacy when screening a movie.
High gloss white lacquer millwork built throughout the apartment allows for ample storage. LED Cove lighting was utilized throughout the main living areas to provide a bright wash of indirect illumination and to separate programmatic spaces visually without the use of physical light consuming partitions.
Custom floor to ceiling Ash wood veneered doors accentuate the height of doorways and blur room thresholds. The master suite features a walk-in-closet, a large bathroom with radiant heated floors and a custom steam shower. An integrated Vantage Smart Home System was installed to control the AV, HVAC, lighting and solar shades using iPads.
Photos: Courtesy of StudioLAB