At a glance, this urban townhouse located in the Hague, Netherlands doesn’t discern itself from its like-looking neighbors. But behind its shell lies an alfresco paradise – a veritable retreat right here in the city center. Designed by Netherlands-based firm Personal Architecture, the redesign and renovation transforms a traditional townhouse with a new, fully glazed rear facade that opens its fresh modern interiors to the outdoors. From the architects, “The combination of ambitious design visions and a large measure of trust from the client have resulted in a rigorous and uncompromising redesign, in which voids and split levels accentuate the full height of Den Haag’s typical row houses.” Here’s a sneak peek at this private house.
The multi-residential building features a street face lined with windows and classic brickwork. Walking by, you’d never guess at what’s beyond the front door of this cool, contemporary house design.
Interiors open to the outdoors via a huge glass wall rising 11 meters up, stretching from floor to ceiling and flooding interiors with sunlight, fresh air and lush, leafy views of the private rear garden. The glass wall slides out of sight, creating a seamless transition from indoors out.
Interiors have an industrial aesthetic and casual comfort about them. They ooze fun and funk, thanks to a mix of materials that ranges from cool glass and earthy wood, to glossy cabinets and clean white walls. It’s all sun-soaked, lending these indoors a warm look and feel that reminds us of a totally decked out garden shed.
The “industrial” and “garden shed” references really come to life with unconventional interior elements like the steel spiral staircase winding its way up through the house, to the upper level loft with a chain link fence enclosure, offering unobstructed views of the living areas below and nature on the outside of the glass wall. The result is an open living space with an uninterrupted dialogue between upstairs and downstairs, inside and out.
We love this loft design idea, finished in rough wood walls and shabby-chic fencing, with this striking steel spiral staircase rising through it like a piece of sculptural modern art. The barely-there glass facade overlooks the private courtyard outside, and the city beyond. The staircase continues up to the next level – just try to stop climbing, we dare you!
At the main level, a doorway at the back wall leads to a more private area of the home featuring a distressed white staircase leading up to the bedroom, in sharp contrast against the dark wood floor and dramatic black wall. The home’s historic antique elements contrast its many new contemporary touches, showcases side by side in all their glory.
The home’s second level is a private oasis housing the sleeping quarters. On this dedicated floor, the bedroom offers an escape from the outside world just on the other side of the expansive glazing.
At the back of the bedroom, a doorway leads to the wardrobe room which features a translucent back wall delivering privacy without compromising on natural light.
As you can see from the outside through the glass wall, this vertical house just keeps going and going and going… up four levels to the rooftop terrace area, complete with a hot tub and outdoor entertaining area. By night, the glass house glows like a lantern among the trees.
As you’ll see from these floor plans, this vertical house plan boasts lots of living space – it’s deceiving from the exterior.
Here is a diagram illustrating how the house was renovated, and the new layout incorporated into the existing structure. The architects added a void running from the main level right up to the top, creating an open views downward from every level of the house.
photo credit: Rene De Wit