THE PERFECT BLEND OF OLD AND NEW
IN A CHIC VILLA IN ROTTERDAM
Rotterdam is a city of contrasts; the “just do it” mentality versus the worldly, classy metropolis
with charisma. The same applies to residential areas. There are so many different neighborhoods
and each neighborhood has its unique character. Recently, I was invited to visit a new-built villa
in the chic, historic Hillegersberg district, where I interviewed AA + Ontwerpbureau.
‘Old residents’ to new lots
Hillegersberg was added to the municipality of Rotterdam in 1941, along with a number of other neighborhoods and has a rich history. Once named after Hildegard van Vlaanderen, the wife of Count Dirk II. The Hillegonda Church is one of the remains as well as flint finds, Roman pottery, a bust of Emperor Hadrian and various tokens indicate a pre-historic occupation. Lying on a sand ridge in peatland, it originates from sprayed sand from fallen river beds.
After the recession, the municipality of Rotterdam exchanged the old sports fields at this location for twenty-five generous lots. The majority of these lots were purchased by residents in the immediate area. The residents of this building also lived in the extension of this new street. Once they heard of this plan, they acted quick. “A new construction plan in Hillegersberg is unique. It almost feels as though we won the lottery by acquiring this lot, with a view over the Singel and the original 1930s residences. The charm of old and the ease of new. ”
The residents immediately had a very good idea of what their new house should look like. When they searched the Internet for a company that could help them realize their dream house, they ended up on the website of AA + Ontwerpbureau. They not only liked the style of Marinus Weijers, but also the fact that he likes to work with critical home owners and passionate professionals who pay attention to details. So they requested a brochure via the site, after which they were soon invited by Marinus to view one of his projects. This viewing resulted in an appointment at the old home, where all wishes, requirements and needs regarding the new home were discussed.
Subsequently, a first design was made. Already during that design process, both parties came up with new ideas and insights, which were immediately realized at the drawing table. The final design had more modern roof tiles with solar panels, the window distribution with rods was scrapped and the frames were painted in a dark shade. Everyone became very enthusiastic about this definitive implementation and after months of fine tuning, the license could finally be applied for.
Affinity with interior design
When everything goes so energetically, there is also plenty of time to familiarize yourself with the interior design and the decoration. The residents had always had an affinity with interior design and were inspired by the Scandinavian style. Light colors, basic elements, clean lines and natural materials, interspersed with black details; an oasis of tranquility and the perfect way to make your home look even more spacious.
Walking through the characteristic rounded front door, I arrive in a spacious hall with stylish steel doors, which give access to the spacious living room with an open kitchen. The stairs at the entrance got an extra step in order to give more space to the toilet, which is situated just below. In the living room there is a “gray waxed” oak floor that is also extended into the kitchen.
The eye-catcher in the living room is the fireplace, which acts as a kind of room divider. The transparent glass makes this fireplace a lot less pompous. And the high skirting boards also give a spatial effect. When walking to the first floor, it is striking that the square-shaped landing looks like a luxury gallery that runs along all the bedrooms. The residents indicate, that they are still thinking about the decoration of this gallery. “It could accommodate a custom-made cupboard with lots of storage space, but an artwork on the wall and atmospheric lighting is also a possibility.”
In and around the house environmentally and socially friendly solutions have been used as much as possible. There is an energy-efficient central heating boiler and the sofas in the living room are produced in a social workshop; a workplace for people with a work disability or long-term unemployed. In addition, sustainable insulation has been chosen and electricity is generated via solar panels. Although the production process of solar panels is not very environmentally friendly, thanks to the long lifespan and the amount of clean energy that they generate, solar panels are certainly sustainable. Moreover, it is possible to have solar panels reused after they have been served. By recycling solar panels, the waste material can be used to produce new solar panels.
Anyway, for the time being they still enjoy the convenience of new in combination with the charm of old. Are you also looking for a renovation in this style? Feel free to contact AA + Ontwerpbureau in Berkenwoude (near Gouda), www.aa-plus.nl.