The curtain rises on a contemporary mix of Bohemian and industrial influences, with lots of vintage items.
Watch as the curtain goes up on a striking modern home with industrial and Bohemian influences, and lots of vintage items.
FOR THIS HARDWORKING COUPLE,
turning a quirky old building into a striking modern home proved an irresistible challenge. Sige Bart and Tessa Witte, along with their pet rabbit, live in a space built in 1950 that was originally designed as a theater. “When I was a little boy, the local nursery was located in this building, which was next door to my parents’ home,” says Sige, who is the co-owner of a demolition company. “When I was growing up, this building accommodated lots of different companies: I remember a cinema, a community center, a dance school and a gym. My father started his store, buying and selling secondhand furniture here in the 1980s, when thrift stores were not very common yet. In 1996, he started what is now our removal company here. Because I felt very connected to the place, I decided to buy the first and second floors of the building in 2007.” The building was used mostly for storage, but by 2012, Sige had decided to renovate it and transform it into a home. Easier said than done. “Because the building had known so many different purposes and owners, the maintenance was very poor,” says Sige. “In fact, it was a bit of a mess. It took me weeks to demolish the inside, which I managed with a lot of help from my friends.” Surprises lurked. For example, when they removed the old theater stage, they found nearly 16,000 pounds of demolition waste that a previous owner had stacked there. “You can imagine the amount of work it took to remove all that.”
"It was a bit of a mess. It took me weeks to demolish the inside.” —Sige Bart
There were opportunities too, though. The former theater’s balcony was a perfect setting for a bedroom and a bathroom, and a building contractor was hired to work on that. The kitchen became an improvised setting made from the former gym. Sige also built a new stage looking almost exactly like the original one because he felt it belonged there. After Tessa, who works as the social media manager for an insurance company, moved in, they both decided the whole apartment needed further renovating to turn it into a more comfortable home.
Tessa says, “I really loved the large spacious living room, but it just wasn’t cozy. Even with the heater on, it was never really warm enough, and you always needed to put on extra clothes. So, when we decided to renovate this floor, the first thing we tackled were the old windows and frames, which were replaced by large sturdy steel frames with double-glass windows.” They later reused the old frames to decorate a corner in the living room.
A proper kitchen was also high on Tessa’s wish list. “The new kitchen came
from Ikea, but we reused the old wooden floorboards to frame the new kitchen counter,” she says. “All the doorframes were replaced as well, and we also placed heating inside the floor.” The couple removed the suspended ceiling and left it open because they both loved the way it looked. “Our interior decoration is a mixture of styles,” says Tessa. Since Sige grew up with vintage furniture, there are plenty of vintage items engaging the eye. “I love vintage as well,” she says, “and in my opinion, a spacious living room like this needs large furniture and large plants. For me it is very important to have lots of plants in our home. I just love them.” The couple spends a great deal of time in the kitchen, entertaining when friends come over. “Thanks to all the home improvements we did, this house really feels like a home now,” says Tessa.
THE GREEN VELVET SOFA in the living room, which Tessa is very proud of, is new, while the vintage carpet on the floor was a gift from a friend. The leather chair on the right is an heirloom that has been in Sige’s family for many years. The pillows on the sofa came from H&M, and the paintings and prints have been collected over the years. Tessa chose this blue tone on the wall especially to complement the sofa, and the hanging lamps on the cable tray came from a shop specializing in industrial materials.
THE DINNER TABLE was handmade from wood pallets by Sige’s father and complements vintage chairs from the designer W. H. Gispen. The mirror cupboard on the right is also vintage, as is the mirror collection, which came mostly from the thrift store owned by Sige’s dad.
SIGE REMOVED THE LEATHER from the vintage chair in the living room, and redid it. The wooden elephant he inherited from his grandmother, while the floor lamp is vintage.
THE SOFA was also handmade from pallets by Sige’s father, with custom-made cushions. The two throws on the backrest are souvenirs from Thailand.