Commissioned to renovate a century-old residence in Alkmaar, a picturesque Dutch town known for its traditional cheese market, Amsterdam-based architect Jeroen de Nijs has injected a new sense of life into the historic building by creating more open, bright and free-flowing interiors underpinned by simplicity and craftsmanship. Clean-cut lines and minimalist forms are combined with natural materials and artisanal finishes for a contemporary design language of unassuming sophistication and timeless appeal that both complements and invigorates the property’s architectural heritage. Add in a light-filled extension and a collection of mid-century modern furniture and you have a beautifully crafted home as much modern in sense as artisanal in sensibility.
Upon entering into an airy vestibule, the high ceiling, stately staircase and arched doorway attest to the building’s turn-of-the-century provenance – the house was built in 1906 – while a long sightline through the living spaces and new extension, all the way through to the back garden, hints at de Nijs’ bold intervention, namely the merging of the ground floor spaces into a loft-like, open-plan living and dining area that runs the length of the house. Thoroughly modern in design, the merged living space is awash in natural light courtesy of the new garden-side minimalist glass façade and adjoining skylight, the latter seamlessly connecting the existing structure with the new extension.
Underpinned by a muted palette of grey and beige hues, and swathed in hand-applied plastering and unpolished concrete floors, the living room is a paradigm of minimalist elegance and tactile beauty. Bespoke walnut furnishings and plush carpets add warmth, while the restored bay window and brick pattern parquet at the front of the space add nostalgic touches. Ensconced in the timber-clad extension, the kitchen is delineated by two stone worktops that extend into the living room, one taking the form of a wall-mounted console, the other as a dining counter complete with bar-style seating. Complementing the crisp, streamlined design of such bespoke elements, the owners’ collection of modernist furniture and ceramics allow the house’s centennial soul to effortlessly segue into de Nijs’ contemporary interiors.
Minimalist lines, natural materials and hand-crafted finishes continue in the master bedroom upstairs. Hand plastering in earthy hues, parquet flooring and muted textiles, plus plenty of natural light provide a soothing ambience of subdued elegance. As bright and airy, the adjoining bathroom is swathed in richly patterned grey marble boldly complemented by timber slat surfaces and dark teal wall paint. Arched mirrors and potted plants add playful accents, while the curvaceous sculptural bathtub which takes centre stage in front of the tall window provide the perfect opportunity to bathe in the natural light flooding the space.