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The Netherlands-based practice Unknown Architects have renovated a 200 year old house in Leiden. The renovation work includes stripping the interior to bring back the authentic character and adding a twisting white staircase. From the architects, “All the non-authentic parts of this monument, like partition walls and suspended ceilings, were removed to bring back the authentic character and spatial clarity. In this relatively small house, three fixed multifunctional furniture elements were added. Because the clients travel a lot, we gave this pied à terre a permanent invariable character by fixing the pieces of furniture to the house and making the house a stable basis to return to, a place to come home.
The ground floor functions as office and second bedroom. Here one bamboo furniture element incorporates storage space and a platform, covering a guest bed which can be pulled out. An important wish of the client was to make the kitchen – on the first floor – ‘’the heart of the house’’, a place where all essential activities of living, like cooking, eating, meeting, talking and reading, could come together. This was translated into two kitchen elements, made out of bleached walnut wood. The central element includes a table, kitchen dresser and a fixed bench that shields the stairwell and provides the best lines of sight to the outside.
On the second floor, we added one small dresser made of bamboo that shields the stairwell and provides a place to sit under the dormer. The walls are finished with white clay plaster. The uncovered ceilings are intentionally kept as we found them and form a contrast with the new.”
Photographs: Raoul Kramer