|MIKA - A house for Karel and Miet
|Residential, Design, Interior Design
When Miet and Karel commissioned Antwerp-based practice i.s.m.architecten to renovate and extend their house in the Flemish town of Hasselt, they had to contend with an awkward footprint of just 5.5 metres width and a maximum depth of 18 metres, typical dimensions for a Belgian terrace house but challenging none the less. It’s usually the case that the more restrictive an architectural brief is, the more creativity it demands, and this case is no exception. Taking its name from the combination of the owners’ first names, MIKA demonstrates how the creative use of a handful of materials can produce a house of playful sophistication that revels in its spatial quirkiness.
Redressing the property’s spatial limitations, the architects devised an open-plan configuration that unfolds across the entire depth of the house, uniting - in one sweeping gesture - the renovated house at the front, and the new one-storey extension in the back, as well as visually connecting the street front with the back yard. Subtle differences in floor level and the clever use of complimentary materials establish different zones without the need for partitions, while the use of skylights and mirrors ensure that the house is uniformly bright and airy despite its long depth.
The architects have cleverly managed to break down the open plan living space into different zones without upending aesthetic consistency by strategically using a limited range of materials in different applications and configurations. The blond natural veining of the wooden wall cladding in the living room is echoed in the wooden ceiling in the kitchen/dining area, its underlying structure whimsically revealed midway, as well as in several pieces of furniture of Scandinavian simplicity, while a lush light pink carpet gives way to a polished concrete floor that continues onto the terrace outside.
Lighter and darker grey tones complement this modest colour palette whose subdued sensibility is jazzed up by the marble used for the countertop and backsplash in the kitchen. Featuring a whirlwind of red and brown highlights, the marble surfaces animate the space with an expressionistic fervour, as well as pick up the earthy hues of the brickwork on the terrace outside. The transition between interior and exterior is also facilitated by the use of a floor-to-ceiling mirror on the side of the kitchen cabinet that allows views of the backyard from the dining table, while an angled mirror integrated into the kitchen counter creates playful reflections. With plenty of skylights to boot, Karel and Miet’s home leaves no stone unturned when it comes to upending its awkward footprint.