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Elle Decor Italia

Former school converted into spacious loft with the headmaster’s office housing the guest room

Rotterdam based Eklund Terbeek architecten transform ex 1900s school into a contemporary building, a design apartment loft with a striking, unconventional allure

René de Wit © Eklund Terbeek

Spacious apartment in a former school by Dominique ter Beek & Jenny Eklund, Rotterdam

A loft apartment housed within an old Rotterdam school where Dutch studio Eklund Terbeek have managed to wonderfully blend contemporary style with the original features of the former edifice: a 1912 building converted into a six apartments complex through private funding. 

“One of the main challenges was to create apartments that comply with current regulations and contain all contemporary comforts, without compromising the place’s most authentic character and unique detailing,” studio Eklund Terbeek cofounder Jenny Eklund said in an interview.

All photos by René de Wit © Eklund Terbeek

Eklund Terbeek architecten were responsible for the renovation of the whole building and designed one apartment in detail, transforming it into an open space loft that was formerly made of two classrooms and a hallway.

The wall between the two classrooms has been removed to create a large loft-like living space. Whitewashed walls and a row of sash windows add light and airiness to the room, while the concrete ceiling provides a striking juxtaposition with the whiteness of the walls.

The kitchen is housed in the open plan living and features a big concrete island for light meals and breakfasts. To add a touch of warmth, dark walnut wood has been used to form the cabinetry and nearby dining table. A trio of ultra-modern lamps featuring classic spherical, transparent shapes is suspended from the ceiling beams.


Towards the front of the room, there is a lounge, which features a gridded bookshelf and soft grey furnishings. Overhead, a box-like volume that extends from the ceiling accommodates a study area, accessible by a staircase hidden by the bookcase and illuminated by a small square window. The home’s lofty 5m high ceilings enabled the architects to insert a mezzanine level into the hallway, which provides extra sleeping space. Another mezzanine floor has also been added on top of the former headmaster's office, which now serves as guest room.

As Eklund Terbeek were keen to keep some of the building’s existing features, the loft hallway features original mustard-yellow tiling. In the bathroom, five of the school's original toilet cubicles have been renovated and each given different functions – for example, one now contains a shower. The cubicles are finished with black anthracite tiles, while a big mirror further enhances the bathroom’s rear wall. 

“The apartment’s interiors manages to blend old and new, contemporary and traditional, refined and raw, into an original whole with perfectly balanced volumes,” explained said Jenny Eklund and Dominique ter Beek.

by Elena Marzorati / 12 February 2018


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