Designed at the end of the 19th century by the architect S.J.W. Mons, villa Wilhelminapark in Haarlem in the Netherlands, is inspired by the style of English residences and gardens. For years the building housed a recording studio, before being renovated by Studio Ruim.
The choice of innovative materials enhances the architecture: a tribute to the classic beauty of the past with a contemporary touch. Sigrid van Kleef from Studio Ruim explains: “As restorers of historic buildings, we like to work with highly technological materials: the thermoforming properties of Solid Surface Hi-Macs, for example, allowed us to adapt the material to the technical and aesthetic constraints of the old building. I was able to design and shape any shape, with almost unlimited possibilities ”.
Natural light, which filters through the period windows and is reflected on the new white marble floor, is the first important element already from the entrance to the building. Everything has been studied in detail, starting with the sculptural suspension chandelier in the stairwell, which extends from the top floor to the ground floor. The door frames, in dark green steel, match the velvet runner of the stairs, while other more modern lighting elements have been inserted into the restored period frames.
At the center of the living area, once divided by a large window with double doors, there is now an imposing wall unit that connects the kitchen to the living room. A built-in fireplace has been placed on the living room side, while some wall units have been created on the kitchen side. The monumental marble island kitchen is a distinctive element, embellished with an asymmetrical steel structure, consisting of a single shelf and a lighting system. In the dining area adjacent to the kitchen, a long, backlit double shelf in Solid Surface and oak has been inserted in a minimal style.
The centerpiece of the house is on the top floor, where the Cleopatra bathtub catches the eye. The bathtub was designed in Solid Surface to occupy the niche of the master bedroom tower. A complement that takes advantage of the thermoformability of the material since it seems to have been cut from a single piece, becoming one with the walls. The non-porous material with no visible joints offers a waterproof and easy-to-clean surface. "Given the historic character of the building, we have not been able to modify the tower in any way. For this, we have designed this bespoke bathtub which is an absolutely unique piece, ”explains Sigrid van Kleef.
The shower is completely covered in marble and is inserted in a structure that recalls the same oak as the furniture-partition wall on the ground floor. Finally, the minimal white Solid Surface cabinet with built-in washbasins completes the bathroom.
Photo: Daniel Nicolas