Ingrid Blans and Tjibbe Knol relax outside their home. The glass doorway features and etched poem by Dutch writer Willem Wilmink, who is also known for commemorating the firework disaster that ravaged the site ten years ago. Inside, a vintage shop display case exhibits a small fraction of the couple's collection of art and objects.
The kitchen frames a natural division between the public and private spaces of the house. The couple's private dining area features a round wooden table by Frank Bolink, and white chairs that are from Hema, a low-cost Dutch retailer.
A view from the main entrance, looking toward the kitchen, reveals part of the public space of the house. Blans bought the vintage glass display case from a retailer. Behind it, the early 20th-century Amsterdam school dining table, formerly her grandmother's, has been carefully restored. The stairs lead to the builder's lift, kitchen, and the couple's private living and work area.
From the outside, the house appears as a composition of cubic volumes that barely hints at its reused nature. Expanses of glass, skylights, terraces, and balconies all strengthen the relationship between inside and outside and make the interior uniformly light.
The facade is clad with 600 recycled cable reels. According to Jongert, "It took about seven minutes to dismantle each one, yielding quite a lot of wood each time." The wood was heat-treated at high temperatures, a natural weatherproofing technique.
Looking for a creative way to light Blans's painting collection, the architects collected old, broken umbrellas from Utrecht residents, and transformed them into whimsical and adjustable halogen lamps that latch onto the interior walls.
The cabinetry in the kitchen and elsewhere is crafted from discarded, chopped-up billboards. White paint camouflages their fronts, but when pulled open, their colorful sides offer a glimpse of their previous life as streetside advertising.
The steel frame of the house was entirely recycled from mill machinery formerly employed in the region's textile industry, which has since declined. Leaving the steel skeleton visible in places, as here, makes a tangible link with local history.