Integrating an office, workshop, gallery space and home, Studio Modijefsky taps into the potential of transforming industrial buildings for personal use.

An industrial building renovated by Studio Modijefsky in the Dutch city of Zaandam illustrates the ‘work from home’ lifestyle at its best. The Amsterdam-based design practice took on an existing 353-sq-m warehouse structure, splitting it into two levels and developing it to accommodate both the personal and professional needs of the artist couple behind Studio Molen. Ketelhuis – or ‘boiler house’ – has an office and workshop on the ground floor and a gallery space and home on the first.

The interior is enveloped in white painted materials, oak wood and brass, a palette that plays on the building’s structural grid and history while imbuing a sense of naturalness and light. Connected by two sculptural staircases, the floors are self-sufficient, creating a necessary separation between the spaces for living and working. The designers explain that each area has been designed to complement the original building while enhancing its modern functionality.

And, while separated, the spaces are symbiotic. The large gallery space, for example – with an industrial ceiling studded by skylights and herringbone wooden floors – can be serviced by the house’s open kitchen during shows and presentations. An island crafted entirely from brass with a countertop of stainless steel is the centrepiece of the cooking space – the back of the kitchen is fitted with an open white shelving system. Dining takes place at a big oak table accompanied by a set of vintage chairs. And the main lighting source? A kayak, installed overhead and converted into an illuminating art piece.

The kitchen gives way to the rest of the residential spaces. In the living room, a series of wooden objects, a wood-burning stove and comfortable sofa are combined for the ultimate cosy atmosphere – or, as the Dutch would say, gezellig. Further down a hallway, sliding doors camouflaged with the walls conceal a guestroom, walk-in closet, bathroom and toilets. Then, at the end, the master bedroom appears, a spacious room with a double-height ceiling, mezzanine, and balcony-like area hosting a free-standing bathtub. A variety of plant species make the bedroom a veritable oasis.

It makes sense, being that Studio Molen is renowned for its monumental bronze lighting sculptures, that light plays the integral role it does at Ketelhuis. Windows that had been rendered dysfunctional by the annexation of a new building were turned into lightboxes, and bronze light fixtures designed by the client punctuate the space. The saturation of natural light is controlled by a system of minimalistic white shutters which gives the users the possibility to adjust the level of brightness throughout the day.

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