Refurbishing a canalhouse from the seventeenth century is one thing, but doing it while maintaining respect for the old glory and seamlessly combining that with modern elements: that is a true art. An art that Sigrid van Kleef and René van der Leest of Studio R U I M master like no other. As interior architects they have supervised the restoration of a monumental building on the Herengracht in Amsterdam and managed to let the old atmosphere submerge effortlessly with modern design and craftmanship.
At first sight, the house exudes the serenity of a classic canal house, but if you look closer, you see a total symbiosis between old and new. Classic components as the paneling, the shutters and beams fit perfectly with modern materials such as steel, Corian and power floated concrete. The raised platform of steel and wenge wood in the center of the living room makes the huge space manageable and gives it its homey look. The black steel frame on the ceiling is an original way to refer to the decorated ceilings of centuries ago and is the absolute highlight of the house. The baroque light-artwork (self designed by Studio RUIM) immediately attracts attention and makes mouths drop open in surprise. This masterpiece clearly shows the background in theater design by Studio R U I M. "Our designs always have something of a twist," explains Sigrid van Kleef.
This background is also reflected in the design of the kitchen. Here traditional murals (glimpses of the river Vecht) take up a large part of the walls. The paintings have been restored and left in their original wooden frames. They set the stage for a modern kitchen in which the huge industrial lamps of copper at the table (also self-designed by Studio RUIM) form the limelight of the scenery. "We really wanted to make a statement with these big, sturdy lamps," says René van der Leest. "It's a bold choice, but if we would have picked a more subtle design, the lamps would have been competing with the space surrounding them.”