A historic townhouse with modern features

James Rippon James Rippon
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It's the same story the world over. From London to Paris, New York to Amsterdam, large inner city townhouses are being internally remodelled and divided up to become multiple dwellings. In London this has been happening since the 1960s, and in Amsterdam, the story is much the same. Once a grand 5-storey townhouse overlooking one of the Dutch capital's most beautiful spots, Vondelpark, this home has been split in half to become two apartments. Built in the 1800s, this stunning example of Dutch architecture has been divided with the bottom apartment in the basement and first floor, and the upper apartment now occupying the top 3 levels. With the owners occupying the bottom apartment and the upper apartment occupied by tenants, both inside and out has been completely transformed. With help from Lumen Architecture, let's take a peek inside a beautiful home in the lively Dutch capital.

House on the park

As viewed from the leafy park right across the road, we know this once glorious mansion house has had some serious work done both inside and out. The exterior façade is sleek and modern, yet utterly respectful to the existing look and feel of this lovely row of terrace homes. The modernised existing brickwork is complemented by bright white windows frames, which now house new double-glazed glass windows, creating a highly insulated, highly soundproof, and highly burglarproof home for both apartments alike.

Fresh look

The rear of the 5-storey terrace has also been given a tasteful facelift, using a palette of stark white to modernise the otherwise classic façade. More highly insulating HR++ glass features at the rear, and the two respective balconies have been replaced.

Eclectic dining room

On the lower level apartment, a complete internal remodelling has taken place, to greatly effect the way the owner's live in their apartment in a completely positive way. Previously, the living areas such as the lounge room, dining room and kitchen were in the basement, with the bedrooms and bathroom on the upper floor (ground floor of the building). This arrangement has been switched, with the living spaces now occupying the ground floor to allow access to natural light to these rooms. As the owners are ageing, and they wish to live in this home until much later in life, it was suitable for their lifestyle now and in the future to have these rooms on the brighter upper floor. As you can see, the interior design style is a mix of classical elements and modern furniture and fittings. New parquet floors are paired with eclectic furniture, intricate ceiling detail and cornices, generous ceiling heights, creating an overall fresh and homely feeling.

Mixing old & new

Adjacent to the dining room is the new kitchen, with the spaces separated by original doors that have new glass panels inserted to allow light to easily flow from front to back. We love the subtle mix of old and new in the doors, as well as other inconspicuous pairings, such as the contemporary lampshade hanging from the centuries-old, detailed ceiling decoration.

Remodelled staircase

With a desire to live in their newly designed apartment well into old age, the staircase has been remodelled to better suit ageing bodies. A spiralling staircase at an angle of 53 degrees is steep and winding for even the fittest of bodies, let alone the elderly. So, it was decided to install a new custom-built staircase that was at a more manageable 42 degrees, and without a vigorous spiralling design. This will allow the occupants to feel more comfortable and mobile in their home for many years to come.

New living room

The living room also moved from the basement to the upper level, with the owners desire to spend more time in these spaces when retirement comes around. The beauty of living in old houses is their undenaible charm; high ceilings, large window frames and original ceiling details create a charm just not possible in a newly built house or apartment. 

Want to see another historic, multi-storey townhouse converted into modern flats? Then take a look at this conversion project of a townhouse in Primrose Hill.

How would you design the interior scheme of a home as charming as this? Let us know your design ideas below!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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