It was a long time ago in an idyllic village near the ‘Turmburg' (Tower Hill) in Karlsruhe, Germany. Here, on the mountain, stood a chalet-style villa. Unfortunately, as the years passed, it became increasingly unsightly and almost fell into a state of disrepair. In 2011, architectural firm Nagel + Braunagel took over the sad-looking building and transformed it into a true gem of a family home. A life in the community with plenty of privacy as well as a nature-based lifestyle was the key vision behind the project. This place calls out to families looking to explore the outdoors.
Take a look at this photo from times gone by. Monumental in size, this villa from the 1950's sits on the side of the mountain.
Here we can see a photo taken in 2011, shortly before the renovations. The back of the house doesn't look particularly contemporary yet: the villa seems to lie dormant in a deep sleep. The building was completely overgrown with weeds, trees and wild berries. It was only possible to enter through the front of the property.
Previously, the circular driveway served as a right of way for drivers and their vehicles. Now, children can play here in a car-free area. The conversion of the garden and driveway gives the once derelict property a new lease of life.
After careful consideration from the builders and the architects, the design was finally brought to life. Maximum emphasis was placed on the connection to nature and the creation of a family-friendly atmosphere. First, the former family house was divided into three separate houses: it is now a large estate home to three different families. The vertical arrangement of the building is extremely concise. The individual homes are designed differently according to the inventory, and are adapted to the needs of the individual residents.
For a nature-friendly build sympathetic to modern requirements, the renovated property was clad with timber. In the wooded area surrounding the house lies a 16-inch-thick organic cellulose insulation system, which provides a modern standard of insulation. The original form of the property has been preserved: only the openings of the house have been reorganised to provide a more structured look.
This room was the former conservatory, which was seldom used. After the renovation, the room was transformed into a cosy living area. The fireplace provides a homely warmth, and a plush chair has been placed in this spot, which is a perfect place for relaxation.
As before, this room is still used as a living room. A number of halogen spotlights have been embedded in the ceiling, providing optimum illumination. The shiny floor reflects the light from the ceiling to stunning effect. The living room design is very focused on comfort and offers an inviting seating area ideal for unwinding after a long day.
The 50's décor has gone, and now the kitchen has a contemporary design with wood fittings and clean lines. The island has a small area for two bar stools that can be pushed underneath the work surface to save space. The positioning of the electrical appliances are at a practical, user-friendly height.
From the lodge on the first floor you can get a great view across the nearby forest. The former park-like garden is now characterised by diverse and interesting natural surroundings. The extensive grounds are home to a tower, rocks, and a small lake. The 'garden' is an adventure playground with tree houses, seating areas and fire pits to delight all generations living in the household. However, there are also plenty of places where you can retreat and feel completely undisturbed.
The cosy dining room is light and welcoming. The large patio windows provide plenty of natural light, so the room looks particularly inviting. In addition, a square skylight has been inserted into the ceiling and illuminates even the back corners of the room. A wooden ladder then leads us to the next floor.
Previously this room was just an attic. Today, the spacious room is used as a bedroom. A special feature is the dual use: tucked away at the back of the sleeping area, you will find a bath sitting below a window with a view out onto the grounds.
The Eastern side of this large family house reveals its lively character. The balconies and galleries soften the linear ensemble and lend the property a distinctive style. Thanks to the additional components, the relationship to nature is made strongly apparent. For similar renovation projects take a look at this Italian renovation project and this attic conversion.