This Blackened Timber House Triumphantly Emerges After a Fire
When Bas van Bolderen and Willem van Bolderen visited the site of a 17th-century farmhouse in the small Dutch town of Duiven, only ash remained. Forty years ago, newly married Gerard and Wilma bough the home, where they raised their now adult children. But, within a single night, it was all lost to a fire. Rebuilding a replica of the original house was out of the question; an approximation of the centuries-old home would never do.
They invited the brothers, each with his own architectural firm, to come up with something new. Called Huize Looveld, the new home is deeply rooted in the familiar landscape. "The old house faced inward," Willem says, "This one engages the surroundings much more thanks to large, well-placed windows and a harmonious transition between indoor and outdoor space."
Though it’s significantly smaller than the original home, the new design feels spacious thanks to its airy interior. Varying ceiling heights set off distinct zones within the central living space which is used for cooking, dining, and hanging out. Forgoing fussiness, the brothers went with stainless steel in the kitchen, and used American ash, known for its hardiness, throughout. The ground floor has poured concrete flooring, which is perfect for visiting grandchildren, muddy dogs, and hauling in firewood ("It’s the country, after all" Wilma says.) It’s also used on the decks and in the bathrooms, making the exterior spaces feel like a natural extension of the first floor.
The house is made up of three wings and forms an almost Z-shaped structure, with ninety degree angles. The master bedroom is downstairs and guest quarters are on the second floor, facilitating privacy in an otherwise open home.
The architects encouraged the couple to embrace new technologies and a bit of luxury, but deferred to the homeowners when it came to maximizing the views. Together, the made sure that every turn produces a new vista. As Gerard explained, "Since the surroundings and the location were all that we had left, we wanted to embrace the landscape as much as possible."