A Restless Real Estate Developer Builds His Ideal Live-Work Space

By Anna Lambert
An Amsterdam real estate developer accustomed to flipping properties renovates—and promptly falls in love with—a live-work space to call his own.

When Frank Nederhof, a property developer and former real estate agent, discovered a fixer-upper for sale near Amsterdam’s Vondelpark, his professional instincts told him it was an opportunity too good to pass up. "As a refurbishment project, it couldn’t have been better," he says. The house, which dates from the 1880s, hadn’t been renovated since the 1970s, and its last owner, an elderly woman, had lived there for three decades.

In the main living area of Frank Nederhof’s renovated Amsterdam flat, a geometric sculpture by Antonino Sciortino hangs above an Erik Kuster sofa. The coffee tables are made from fossilized wood so heavy that each one requires two people to lift it.

In the main living area of Frank Nederhof’s renovated Amsterdam flat, a geometric sculpture by Antonino Sciortino hangs above an Erik Kuster sofa. The coffee tables are made from fossilized wood so heavy that each one requires two people to lift it.

The edifice featured high ceilings and a footprint three feet wider than most late-19th-century houses. Nederhof decided to gut the outmoded structure and divide the property into a few apartments to sell and rent, plus a live-work space for himself.

Nederhof and his son Scott sit at a Tulip table by Eero Saarinen for Knoll in the flexible office area. The chairs are by Friso Kramer for Ahrend, and the Corona pendant light is from Established & Sons.

Nederhof and his son Scott sit at a Tulip table by Eero Saarinen for Knoll in the flexible office area. The chairs are by Friso Kramer for Ahrend, and the Corona pendant light is from Established & Sons.

"The area’s fantastic and close to the heart of things," he says. "Plus, my ground-floor apartment has a large private garden—something that’s pretty rare to find in central Amsterdam."

Nederhof purchased the vintage teak dresser from an online secondhand store. On it stand fertility statues and a miniature sculpture by Antonino Sciortino. The steel-framed glass doors fold back into the wall, and the space is oriented so clients can enter the office without traipsing through the entire flat.

Nederhof purchased the vintage teak dresser from an online secondhand store. On it stand fertility statues and a miniature sculpture by Antonino Sciortino. The steel-framed glass doors fold back into the wall, and the space is oriented so clients can enter the office without traipsing through the entire flat.

He reconfigured the floor plan of the 1,350-square-foot space and added glass doors to separate his office from his living area. "As a real estate agent, I’m always aware that eventually homes will have to sell," he says. "So I was careful to ensure that the office has access to both the hallway and the bathroom, meaning it’s a very versatile space. I use it for work, but it could be used as another bedroom."

A vintage Danish dining table in palisander wood by Arne Vodder is paired with chairs by Niels Møller.

A vintage Danish dining table in palisander wood by Arne Vodder is paired with chairs by Niels Møller.

Nederhof added a steel beam to the main room, which encompasses a living area, dining space, and kitchen. The beam’s distressed finish adds textural contrast to the room and supports an 11-foot-tall, 60-foot-long rear extension that projects into the garden.