Antonia Reif Architecture, or ARA, is a young architectural firm founded in 2010. It focuses on the construction, renovation and interior design of private homes as well as catering, retail and cultural construction assignments. Characteristic of their designs is the use of natural materials and attention to detail. In the repertoire of ARA is this renovated bungalow built in the 1960s. Below we show you step by step the transformation of this property from dull and dated, to dream home…
In this picture, we see the original building, before the renovation work began. The compact bungalow from the 60s faces the road, which is the first disadvantage we notice. The bungalow was built for a couple without children, and ARA faced the challenge of making this bungalow suitable for a family. This involved updating the interior and exterior so that it would meet modern requirements, and providing enough space to accommodate a growing household.
The facade was modernised without much change to the form and structure. The walls were plastered, re-finished and freshened up with a new coat of paint.
The rear backs on to a large garden, which can be seen here. However, the original rear of the bungalow was badly connected to this great outdoor space. The facade looks uninviting and has few openings to let in the natural light.
To increase the living space, the bungalow was extended into the garden. This expansion features large windows and bi-fold doors which completely open up the ground floor and allow floods of natural light to illuminate the interior. From the terrace, the residents have access to the garden.
The old entrance of the bungalow is characterised by a variety of soft colours and materials, but due to the mish-mash of textures and tones, it looks somewhat cramped and dark.
What a transformation! We no longer need to enter the house through a narrow, dark corridor. In place of the old entrance is a bright and spacious hallway with a much more practical layout. The hallway opens out to the kitchen, which we can see to the left. The large glass rear ensures that the kitchen is provided with enough daylight, and the rooms feel bright and open. From the kitchen you can follow a generous staircase to the floor below, where the stylish but comfortable living area is located.
The old kitchen is consistent with the images we have of the other rooms before the renovation took place: drab and dated. The rooms in the old bungalow make us feel as though time has stood still. Thankfully, the new modern kitchen is worlds apart from this shabby room.
The new structure of the house allows for an open communication between the spaces, without the rooms feeling bare or sparse. The entrance leads in to the kitchen, which in turn runs into the living room and out to the terrace.
Here we see the new modern kitchen. The left wall reminds us of the dark wood that we already encountered in the original interior, executed in a contemporary way and polished for a luxurious finish.
The old living room was oriented to the street, and looked exactly as we would expect a 60s bungalow to look: beige, brown and other earthy tones dictating the ambience. The floor tiles, lamps and wooden decorations need replacing with some fresh and modern furnishings. An inherent part of the bungalow is its low ceiling, which combined with these busy rugs and dark colours, makes the room feel stuffy.
The new living room is on the other side of the house, facing the garden and leading out on to the terrace. This ensures that there is a sense of space and freedom which was missing from the previous living room. At the top of the modern staircase is the kitchen, and this 'topsy-turvey' layout actually works really well in this home. The colours and muted and calming, and like the rest of the house, this room is a huge improvement on the original.
If you've enjoyed this article, take a look at the following ideabook: Before & After: From old barn to stylish family home.