Minimalist Design Transforms Amsterdam Apartment Into Quiet Retreat

From its earliest days as a fishing village, Amsterdam has grown into a gorgeous city centered around its historic canals where stylish homes are in high demand. Inside an old brick apartment building in a popular neighborhood is this fully redone, light-filled residence. A minimalist oasis of calm smack in the middle of Amsterdam, this apartment is the perfect residence for enjoying the highlights of the city, which are just steps away.

The 90-square-meter apartment takes up two floors in a former warehouse that was converted into modern homes. The uneven facade of the building is characteristic of central Amsterdam architecture. In fact, the building is located on the Prinsengracht canal, between the Anne Frank House and one of the city’s most famous theaters, the Stadsschouwburg. Architectural studio Willem Benoit Interieur collaborated with fabricators Houtwerk BV to create a minimalist haven of peace and quiet in this popular but bustling area of the city.

Plenty of natural light and strategic lighting make the most of the open plan.View in gallery
Plenty of natural light and strategic lighting make the most of the open plan.
The building is located in a very popular and busy area.View in gallery
The building is located in a very popular and busy area.
The side streets of the Amsterdam neighborhood offer plenty of charm as well.View in gallery
The side streets of the Amsterdam neighborhood offer plenty of charm as well.
The exterior is of a traditional, if slightly industrial, style.View in gallery
The exterior is of a traditional, if slightly industrial, style.

The apartment is the ultimate in modern and minimal design, devoid of busy wall decor and window treatments. The eye is drawn to the clean lines that punctuate the open space and form the basis for the peaceful interior. Original structural beams on the ceiling are painted white, allowing them to become part of the architecture without drawing too much attention. The dominance of white highlights the black of the iron door and window frames — important elements in the original building — as well as the neutral gray of the large sofa.

The main living space is on the second floor, up a level from the main entrance, which is a comprised of a formidable glass door, also framed in iron.

A more versatile set of two wooden tables stand in for the traditional large coffee table.View in gallery
A more versatile set of two wooden tables stand in for the traditional large coffee table.
The long room is spacious, thanks to the carefully edited furnishings.View in gallery
The long room is spacious, thanks to the carefully edited furnishings.

Just off the living area is the open plan kitchen that features a wall of doors, which hide all the essential appliances when they are not in use.  The “hidden kitchen” concept is particularly useful in minimalist homes like this one as it helps maintain a sleek and clutter-free appearance. The kitchen countertop uses LG’s HI-MACS® as the primary material because it helps create the geometry and brightness the architects were looking to achieve in this space. The material is the latest in solid surface technology that comes in a range of colors and patterns, suitable for use throughout the home.

Seamless integration between the two spaces is key.View in gallery
Seamless integration between the two spaces is key.

The kitchen is an especially radiant white space, highlighted by the island and framed in area by the iron window casements and wall of kitchen cabinets. The kitchen is well-illuminated by the three pendants over the island as well as the ceiling lights, which are the Rand 111 by Delta Light. These lights work well for the space because they have no visible screws and come in an LED version. Of course, the room also has a good amount of natural light thanks to the tall, typically Dutch-style windows.

All elements in the space ensure a clean and calm setting.View in gallery
All elements in the space ensure a clean and calm setting.

At the island, four Miunn sled base chairs from LaPalma provide seating that is stylish and low-profile. They were designed by Karri Monni and are made of a multi-layer wood shell, which can also be had in an upholstered version. The aluminum base comes in three heights, here done in the counter-height model.

Dark and light extremes create drama without clutter.View in gallery
Dark and light extremes create drama without clutter.
The view to the living room shows how unified the space feels.View in gallery
The view to the living room shows how unified the space feels.

The hidden kitchen is revealed when the doors on the wall slide open. Necessities like the sink and shelving are hidden away when not in use. Recessed lighting under and around the shelves provides enough illumination for the work space without adding to the fixtures on the ceiling. This type of design makes it much easier to keep a minimalist home tidy.

The hidden kitchen concept demonstrates how "less is more."View in gallery
The hidden kitchen concept demonstrates how “less is more.”
Large, overhead ventilation hoods are no longer required.View in gallery
Large, overhead ventilation hoods are no longer required.
The fully equipped kitchen is easily disguised when necessary.View in gallery
The fully equipped kitchen is easily disguised when necessary.
From any direction, the design of the space is clean and open.View in gallery
From any direction, the design of the space is clean and open.

At the end of the living space, large iron-framed doors separate the kitchen from the hall and stairs to the bedroom floor. They can remain closed, or be left open wide to increase the flow of people when entertaining family or friends.

The iron frames are a common element throughout the home.View in gallery
The iron frames are a common element throughout the home.
The glass doors allow extra light into the hall and stairwell.View in gallery
The glass doors allow extra light into the hall and stairwell.
It's a pleasing view from the stairs into the kitchen.View in gallery
It’s a pleasing view from the stairs into the kitchen.

The stairs to the upper floor are done in a dark gray color that is complementary to the overall design of the home. It coordinates with the iron framing and adds dimension without introducing another hue.

Electronic necessities and switches are confined to one area of the wall by the door.View in gallery
Electronic necessities and switches are confined to one area of the wall by the door.

Upstairs, the bathroom and bedrooms occupy an unusually defined space, thanks to the sloping roof of the building. The larger dormer windows let in natural light and innovative integrated fixtures around the trusses in the ceiling provide additional illumination. Dark beams in the room are definitely a design element as well as a structural necessity. Opting to have them done in black provides a unifying outline to the eclectic lines of the space.

A partial wall adds a little privacy to the sleeping area.View in gallery
A partial wall adds a little privacy to the sleeping area.

A rustic platform bed and muted sage green bedding help maintain the natural vibe of the bedroom. The mood  is also highlighted by the floor lamps that imbue the space with added ambiance.

Large and glowing, the floor lamps are part sculpture, part lightingView in gallery
Large and glowing, the floor lamps are part sculpture, part lighting
The convergence of beams is highlighted with a long and rustic tree branch.View in gallery
The convergence of beams is highlighted with a long and rustic tree branch.

Around the dormer window, otherwise difficult, oddly shaped spaces are utilized for storage. The dark beams continue all the way to the window, helping tie in the small area with the rest of the loft-like bedroom.

Sloping roof lines can present design challenges in a home.View in gallery
Sloping roof lines can present design challenges in a home.

A free-standing tub in the bedroom turns this from a mere sleeping space to a true relaxation retreat. A ladder-style towel rack — in the same dark iron as the window frames — is useful and artful. With the added glow from the floor lamps, the area becomes a spa-like retreat.

Including this style of tub in the bedroom is becoming popular.View in gallery
Including this style of tub in the bedroom is becoming popular.
The view toward the stairs affords a good look at the angled beams.View in gallery
The view toward the stairs affords a good look at the angled beams.
The sloping ceiling is not an issue when adding a tub in this space.View in gallery
The sloping ceiling is not an issue when adding a tub in this space.

Following the white color palette set in the main living space downstairs, the bathroom features a basin and shower tray also made from HI-MACS® in Alpine White. It’s a simple look with a smooth texture that is perfect for this minimalist bathroom. The white walls and bathroom elements are a nice contrast with the dark brown wide plank flooring and black contrasting beams.

View in gallery
Black glass framed door
The bathroom has the same minimalist attitude as the rest of the home.View in gallery
The bathroom has the same minimalist attitude as the rest of the home.
Iron-framed windows allow light into what would otherwise be a dark and confined space.View in gallery
Iron-framed windows allow light into what would otherwise be a dark and confined space.
The roomy shower continues the spa-feeling.View in gallery
The roomy shower continues the spa-feeling.

An open floor plan, minimalist design and unified elements help make this a stunning Amsterdam apartment, fit for anyone who wants a little slice of peace and quiet — with all the modern necessities of course!