By Laura Maggi — photos by Kasia Gatkowska
A home for the soul — p. 152
In the heart of Amsterdam, overlooking a canal, the hideaway of an illuminated writer designed by Studio Bakker “It has always been my safe port of call. A home to live in, which is also a cosy, warm, peaceful haven. Right in the centre of the city”, says its owner, Dutch writer Andre Plateel. When it was purchased by Plateel, this early seventeenth- century building, was in a state of total abandon. Turning these 400 square metres into a home was an almost titanic undertaking: “A full- time job for four years, together with my father and brother”, continues Andre. “But renovation of the house also served to rebuild our family, struck by a devastating death”. The interior design came later, out of an encounter with the interior designer Stef Bakker, who adds: “The effect of the interiors was incredible, the walls and the materials spoke of the past. Such huge spaces called for a gentle but thorough approach, some what brutal but non- invasive design”. Finally the clean lines of the newly designed pieces by Studio Bakker together with a hand picked selection of vintage pieces create the perfect dialogue with the original architecture and turns what was once a big storage space into a real home. Now you glide from one level to the next, from the living area with its built- in steel fireplace that looks onto the dining room and open kitchen, through to the areas dedicated to work and meditation and the bedrooms. Beams and load- bearing structures have been exposed, the walls have clay plaster, the ceilings look like the overturned hull of a boat, furniture and furnishings feel like they have always been here. Wood is a constant presence, both for the old load- bearing structures and the original flooring, and for the new additions. “Real wisdom is knowing that everything we need is to understand who we are”, Andre ends by saying. “The house has existed and lived for more than four centuries. I am only passing through”.