Before & after: Renovation of an old mill

Caitlin Hughes Caitlin Hughes
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Today we want to introduce you to a wonderful before & after project. It is a historic building, first mentioned in documents dating back to the end of the 18th century. The Beerenbach mill is one of four mills between Eberstadt and low-Beerenbach, Germany.  To begin with, the mill was used as for tanning leather, and in later on, as a fulling (or cloth) mill.  In 1856 it was converted to a traditional grinding mill, and believe it or not, from 1924 until the 1960s it was a popular restaurant.! This was the last time the building was used commercially:  since then, the building has been listed, having been deemed an important part of local and national heritage. 

The architect Anja Thede from Architecture and Space Communications, built around the building and created within the historic walls a place of comfort, which both respects the tradition of the property and presents a contemporary, modern design. Let's take a closer look:

An Overview

From this birds-eye-view perspective we can see the arrangement of the entire grounds, including a four-sided courtyard, the mill house, a former private house, along with several barns and stables. The renovation and refurbishment was a big project and had to be separated into two phases. In the first phase, the top floor of the main building, which consists of two adjoining houses, was developed. In the second and final phase of construction, another part of the former mill house was carefully restored and redeveloped.

Before: Interior

The layout of the mill before the conversion was fragmented and not particularly appealing for a family. The rooms had not been renovated for many years, and the dust collected over many years of neglect coated the whole interior.

Before: Rear view

Level with the forest area is a long balcony. As you can see, the roof was in a state of deterioration due to cheap materials, which had a very negative impact on the overall appearance of the exterior. 

Before: View of the façade

Here we can see what the property looked like prior to the renovation. The mill was in good structural condition, and the window inserts are a testimony of 1970s architecture. This is apparent from the convex curvature of the glass panes.

After: View of the façade

Today, the mill is a family home to a total of four generations. The architect Anja Thede created a feel-good space big enough for a large family plus guests. The design allows the occupants to realise their dream of living in an old mill, renovated to modern standards both in terms of interior design and sustainability. 

The mill house is spread over three floors in total. On the ground floor there is a small work studio. The upper floors house a spacious living area, and on the top floor there are three bedrooms. The façade was refreshed with the introduction of contemporary blue window and door frames. New window panels were fitted to optimise the thermal insulation and make the home more eco-friendly.

After: The bedroom

Throughout the house, the charm of the old building is still evident. In the bedroom, the wall was liberated from the plaster layer, so that the underlying red brick was revealed. The bright bricks now form an artistically valuable eye-catching feature. The counterpart to this is the pink canopy, which marks the sleep zone. The furniture is presented in a simple and timeless fashion.

After: Bathroom

Just off  the spacious master bedroom is the en-suite. The exposed wall in the wet room is eye-catching and continues the theme from the bedroom. The toilet and sink are hidden away,  freeing up the centre of the room

After: Living area

Here we are in the main room of the house: the living area. Elements from the history of the building have been preserved and serve as a reminder of times gone by. The floors are connected with an industrial style staircase. The open plan living area links to a terrace. The panoramic windows allow plenty of natural light into the spacious room, and bold colours play an important role in the design and form.

Bedroom

The bedroom is a fine example of contemporary architecture. The grating made of galvanized steel, in combination with the parapet, gives the room an industrial feel similar to that in a hip city centre loft—it's easy to forget we're in an old mill! 

After: Kids room

A true paradise for children has been created in this converted attic space! The original beams are a striking feature which, having been stripped back, act as a decorative element and at the same time define the storage areas.

If you've enjoyed taking a tour of this impressive historical building, check out the following projects:

Before & after: a 19th century barn conversion

Before & after: Renovation of a small flat

Are you impressed by this large scale project? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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