Restoration and transformation of historic apartment
2020 - 2022
Repair over Replace
‘…the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life — the light and the air, which vary continually’. Claude Monet
This 250 sqm historic apartment consists of a majestic corner suite of rooms remained largely unchanged from their original arrangement from 1859, and a back suite of rooms which had undergone less careful additions and alterations over the last 163 years. A visit to the archives revealed historic drawings rich in intricacies and details of an internal wall paneling and marquetry, which while somewhat maintained in the front rooms, all building craft was missing from the back. Djernes & Bell have used the existing apartment, its context and archive drawings as the starting point and have taken different approaches to the front and the back rooms. The front rooms have been restored with minimal visible changes, where a 'make do, and 'make good' approach has been favoured over replacing materials and building parts; such as the pine floors which had over 30 repairs to broken board edges. The kitchen which is the only new addition to the front suite of rooms is inspired by the historic paneling already found in the apartment and is designed and fitted as 'free-standing' units which do not damage timber paneling or plaster cornice work.
Material Localism & Craftsmanship to last
The entrance hall, scullery, bathrooms and bedroom to the back have had a more radical transformation, where the additions are clearly new but also obviously inspired by the historic paneling and timber detailing of the original apartment as well as the quality of craftsmanship and materials. Certified local pine or oak tri-board has been used for all internal linings and joinery and local Swedish sandstone has been used for bathrooms floors and kitchen countertops, as well as as a skirting in the entrance hall. Circular internal windows inspired by round relief coins have been installed to pull day-light into the entrance hall and guest bathroom. The generous scullery doubles as a muck-room and creates comfortable circulation for guests and residents. The kitchen and scullery sink are enclosed by pocket doors which allow quick 'tidying' of these spaces. The custom stone washbasins are constructed from largely standard tiles in falling lengths.
Custom Walnut Tables
As part of the project Djernes & Bell designed a new series of walnut furniture. The tables take notes from groups of columns and intertwined tree trunks as well as Japanese notched joinery. All pieces are made from mature European walnut (90 years +) grown sustainably and locally sourced. The tables are available to order via Green Collective, and will officially launch in June.
Lars Rolfsted Mortensen