Old houses get renovated all the time. It’s how they keep on surviving in this ever-changing world. Yet no two projects are the same. Each time the transformation is different and there’s a new set of challenges to overcome and a new set of demands and ways to interpret the project.
For this old farmhouse, the transformation was a little bit more than just a renovation. This lovely A-frame house was originally built in the 50s. It had a barn next to it and they both needed to be updated for their new owners, a young family with a modern lifestyle.
The transformation was a project by Bureau Fraai, a studio that designs everything in close collaboration with their clients and future users and for which the user experience is essential to the success of the project. For the team, a successful project means a good interpretation of the concept, an optimal design and a harmonious relationship between the building and its cultural, spatial and natural environment.
This particular project was completed in 2015 and the house is situated in Aalten, the Netherlands. It occupies a total of 195 square meters. As we’ve already mentioned, the brief was to offer the house a complete renovation but also to renovate and extend the existing barn.
The old and the new features had to interact harmoniously, without creating undesired discrepancies. The clients requested a complete update of the interior and also wanted to open the house to its surroundings in order to take advantage of the nice views and the great freshness.
To satisfy these requests, the architects decided to open the entire ground floor plan of the main house and to also make the existing barn more spacious by adding a large extension to it. This strategy allowed them to maximize the usable floor space and to also visually connect the interior to the garden.
The extension has a contrasting exterior. The original structure was built out of bricks and with ceramic roof tiles. These were preserved. The new extension added to this building has its part of the facade and roof built out of black pre-weathered titanium zinc with aluminum window frames.
From the exterior, it looks as if half of the structure old and half is new. Although the contrast is strong, there’s still a nice cohesion throughout. The barn is a mixture of old and new, of bold and modern elements and rustic accents.
The interior is surprisingly bright, featuring a light chromatic palette and an overall very simple design. In this sense, it contrasts with the dark exterior. The wooden beams and frames add a beautiful texture to the décor, allowing it to be warm and welcoming despite the crisp white walls and ceiling.
Large windows and skylights let it abundant natural light, opening the interior to the large garden and the surroundings. At the same time, the fresh colors get in, becoming a part of the interior décor. This applies to both the extended barn and the main house.