An interior designer shapes the interior of buildings. Together with the clients, he works out a design concept by first ascertaining the clients’ requirements. The concept for a sportsperson with a lot of leisure equipment and the need for frequent changes of clothes has quite other requirements than for a family with small children, an art collector or someone who delights in frequently entertaining guests.
In an interior designer is often required when there is a change of property ownership. With the new owners, different lifestyles arrive. What was until now very practical, is suddenly just the opposite. In addition, living styles change over the years. Particularly in respect of older buildings, it can often be the case that there is no garage or no direct entrance from a garage to the house. Kitchens are outdated and the sanitary fittings are too functional – there is often not enough space for the modern bathing experience in the small rooms.
For the expert, the work begins with analysing the existing situation. He looks for the possibilities to integrate the new requirements in such a way that neither the structural stability will be affected, nor the original architecture destroyed. We have just completed the remodelling of a villa that is the subject of a preservation order. For the clients, it was an important requirement to emphasise the charisma of the Art Nouveau elements of the building. At the same time, neither the functionality of the building nor the creativity should be restricted.
Modern technology – Imposing rooms
We decided to restore such elements as stucco, wainscoting and floor coverings, as well as complete elements, such as a loggia. At the same time, it was necessary to replace such items as the wrought iron door and radiator panelling and to redesign a door in the same style as the old windows. The windows were adapted to today’s requirements with a modern tilting mechanism, taking care to ensure that this wasn’t visible, because it would have seriously impaired the appearance.
The modern age can be seen most clearly in the kitchen or in the technical installations. For this reason, we emphasised here modern design and functionality as a counterpoint to the charisma of the house. We extended the kitchen with an ancillary room and, in contrast to the period when the house was built, created an open-plan kitchen.
The new spaciousness is in accordance with the demands of a large family for a functional daily meeting point and, at the same time, as a result of the integration of personal accessories, this room has the quality of a retreat. The imposing dining salon, which is ideally suited to the reception of guests, was not impaired by the remodelling of the house and immediately adjoins the generous living and entertainment accommodation.
Interplay as in an orchestra
As general contractor, we held all the reins in respect of this project, which lasted 12 months and involved sometimes employing up to 40 craftsmen simultaneously on site. In order to keep to the time deadlines and budget and, at the same time ensure that the specialists didn’t lose valuable time waiting for each other, it is our duty to produce a time schedule that is exact almost to the hour and to ensure that this is adhered to. After the planning phase for the building works (including all necessary special plans for the building changes, the renewal of water and electric installations etc.) and the design work in team with colour and form specialists (in this case with “Fall Real Free Look” by Christian Felix), follows the development of the operational scheduling. During the whole building period, I am personally on site repeatedly each week. Mistakes can thus be discovered before they can result in follow-up mistakes or time delays. Flexible adjustments thus cause no insurmountable problems.
There was light
The exceptional features of this property are the high rooms with wooden panelling and highly-decorated stucco work, the generously-dimensioned entrance hall that in connection with the staircase has almost a sacral effect, and the lavish stucco plastering. With the help of modern LED technology, we found a way of emphasising these elements in a new light to give the rooms great splendour. Despite an almost overwhelming amount of fine decoration, these rooms now have a light effect and the rooms seem larger.
It is almost as if the artists who made the reliefs in 1899 had exactly the type of light in mind that we now witness over 100 years later and which makes the whole composition radiate.
In the detail lies the sophistication
In addition to the overall planning, it is one of my desires to help make the individual rooms as elegant as possible through creative details. A room that is intended to be used for the reception of guests with Apéros or drinks after a meal can be made into a favourite spot if enhanced with a home bar. The open-plan kitchen needs sufficient storage space. With the furniture we designed for this room, one has achieved both storage space and the possibility of personal decoration. A dressing room is only as good as the space it provides to store clothes, find accessories easily and try out suitable outfits and combinations. We didn’t just plan the rooms – we created the furniture according to the clients’ requirements and arranged for the cupboards and closets to be built and installed by the cabinet makers.
The old fireplace, which was part of the original entrance hall, was a particular challenge. The building regulation requirements for an open fire could not be fulfilled, so we created a possibility to retain the distinctive character and atmospheric ambience of this element by installing a gas-fired system with a closed air circuit and, at the same time, create an entrée full of atmosphere.