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This Wilhelminapark villa located in Haarlem (Netherlands) was designed in the late 19th century by architect S.J.W. Mons, who took his inspiration from the style of English homes and gardens. The building served as a recording studio for years, before recently being renovated as a home and restored to its bygone splendour by Studio Ruim.
The choice of modern, designer materials, such as HI-MACS®, rekindled this site’s former glory in homage to the classical splendour of yesteryear while also adding a modern touch.
For Sigrid van Kleef from Studio Ruim: “As historical monument restorers, we enjoy working with HI-MACS® because its thermoforming properties enable it to adapt perfectly to the technical and aesthetic constraints of old buildings. We can design and sculpt it into any shape, with almost limitless possibilities. The material is humble in appearance but fully embodies the qualities of a historic building, and that creates a wonderful synergy between the classic and the modern.”
Brimming with details and elegance
Light, streaming through the period windows and reflecting off the new Arabescato white marble floor is the first encounter as you step into this glorious building.
Everything has been designed down to the finest detail with assertive elegance, starting with the remarkable architectural pendant cluster light in the stairwell that reaches from the ceiling to the ground floor. The dark green steel door jambs match the velvet stair runner, and other, more modern, lighting has been beautifully incorporated in the restored period cornice.
In the centre of the living area, where double doors once sat, an impressive oak unit with an inset stove, now connects the kitchen and living areas. The fireplace is incorporated in the lounge side, while storage cupboards have been created in the kitchen side.
The kitchen island in Fiori di Bosco marble is a magnificent feature piece, enhanced with an asymmetric steel creation hanging above, consisting of a single shelf and bespoke designer lighting.
In the dining area adjoining the kitchen, marble worktops and oak elements sit under the backlit oak and HI-MACS® shelves, exuding purity and minimalism.
Cleopatra, the lady of the house
The centrepiece of the house can be found on the top floor, where the pure, majestic Cleopatra bathtub boldly draws the eye. It was specially designed in HI-MACS® to occupy the overhanging niche of the master bedroom tower. This bathtub utilises the thermoformable properties of HI-MACS®, so appears to have been cut from a solid piece and blends seamlessly into the HI-MACS® walls. The material’s non-porous nature and its invisible seams not only provide a waterproof surface but also make it extremely easy to clean.
“Given the historic character of this building, we were not allowed to change anything in the tower itself. So we designed this bespoke Cleopatra-style bathtub, which is an absolutely unique piece,” explains Sigrid van Kleef. “Furniture is literally built into the tower, which also helps to insulate the walls and window,” adds René van der Leest.
Using HI-MACS® here ensures a uniform, seamless design - with no visible joins - combined with a surface that feels smooth and soft to the touch, while also ensuring impeccable hygiene and ease of cleaning. The non-porous HI-MACS® material offers heavy duty protection from mould, dirt, viruses, bacteria and intensive use of chemical products such as disinfectants. In addition, thanks to its smooth, seamless surface, it is easy to clean. Those hygienic properties have been confirmed by an independent laboratory as compliant with LGA and NSF international standards.
The walk-in shower is fully lined with marble and set into a structure with the same oak wood as on the ground floor, while a minimalist white HI-MACS® washbasin unit on the right completes the luxurious bathroom. In the bedroom too, the central theme of brown oak can be found in the wall behind the bed. For Studio Ruim, it was important to create a unified design by subtly connecting the different spaces and ensuring the theme worked throughout the house.