The former farmhouse, which has been transformed with a light filled, airy extension, is tucked away behind typically North Holland’s houses that date from the beginning of the 19th century. Just under 500 m2, the farmhouse - though some might say barn - has been repurposed and more than doubled in size, in order to become a new private home for a local family of three. The idea for the project was simple, as are most behind noteworthy architecture: take the existing house, retain its materials and structure, yet expand its volume by adding a glass-walled living room and kitchen on its west edge.
The extension overlooks a canal and, in the distance, an endless horizon. The home was being outfit with its final interior touches during my visit with Search’s founder, Bjarne Mastenbroek; the better to observe clever custom details that make the project so special and exciting to the senses.
‘Architecture should be fun; it is, after all, for living; explains Mastenbroek, as we cross the threshold of the side door. The house is indeed playful: two of its facades have been covered with burned wood. It seems as if it’s been here for ages - exactly the purpose it was supposed to achieve, I’m told. Windows of various shapes and sizes dominate the southern and eastern facades; some appear as though they could be original, though only due to their square shape; yet others hint at the interlocked geometries behind them. The northern and western exterior facades are composed of only glass walls. They define the light, airy extension, which spans the home’s entire length. When scanning the exterior from the southeast corner, it would hardly seem worth noticing, as typically North Holland’s materials dominate the view: red brick, clay roof tiles and, as noted, many planks of seemingly aged, reused wood. Upon looking closely, however, it becomes apparent that these facades, brick or black, bear little resemblance to those of the neighbours. On the eastern facade, the many windows dominate; on the southern facade, where the brick wall ends, a glass wall extends.
Only when entering the house, or when walking around it, does the enormous glass extension come into view. It’s roughly 5 m wide and 23 m long, and functions as a living room, dining room and kitchen. The roof of the glass volume meets that of the original house at a slightly acute angle; in that way, the two low-sloped roofs hardly seem ‘sewn’ together, and instead appear to seamlessly merge. The original farmhouse’s typology bears the name ‘Stulp’ in Dutch, and a core defined the building; it is where the farm’s animals would sleep and served as storage. Compression occurs when entering the home from its ‘traditional’ front door, and it continues when transitioning through its oak panelled hallway, decompressing when continuing on through to the glass extension.