Live, Work, Remodel: Bold Brick Home + Office Townhouse


One bold move follows another in this captivating (if experimental) interior and exterior redesign of a classic Dutch brick townhouse. Painting over not only the existing brick walls but windows too … well, it only makes sense in context. Take a look, and consider the client: an architect looking to make a livable space as well as a studio.

After laying a layer of paint, almost ‘resetting the canvass’ if you will, Studio Rolf (images by Frank Hanswijk) inserted a set of extremely contemporary box-shaped windows that do not align in the least with the original plan, but suit the needs of current users instead.

Unlike many modern refabs, the decisions were not based on black-and-white ground rules about preserving the existing structure. What starts on the outside moves inside, with select brick and stone surfaces being painted (surprise!) black or white as it suits the room in question.

That is not to suggest that there is no rhyme nor reason to the changes and choices made, but they are more subjective than one might expect to find – artistic moves rather than rigorous, function-driven design decisions.

One could argue that the design is taken too far – that it does not reflect its residential neighborhood and sticks out like a sore thumb. That argument, however, works both ways: after all, an architecture-and-design studio should, perhaps, stand out from the crowd … not just to advertise its services, but also to make a clear visual distinction between itself and the non-similar functions of surrounding buildings.

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