Shadowed by its ecclesiastical history, this grand Dutch estate by Studio Niels reveals the timeless interior grace of a monochrome palette.
In the centre of Maastricht, an ancient university city on the southern tip of the Netherlands, three Gothic churches peer over the shoulder of a brick residence. They’re a pertinent reminder of the home and its guesthouse’s history as a monastery and chapel, whose foundations can be traced back to the 13th century.
Faced with the monumental task of restoring and transforming the home, guesthouse and surrounding landscape was designer Niels Maier of Studio Niels.
It was the second project the owners had engaged Niels Maier to design, sharing a common interest in honouring the intricacies of the original buildings and dissembling parts that were insensitively added. Inside, both the owners and Niels wanted to achieve a crisp and calm atmosphere by focusing on a monochrome palette and minimalist opulence.
Niels began by opening up and rearranging the layout of the master bedroom suite, living and kitchen spaces. The designer modified the circular, tiled ‘loggia’ to create a dining room readily connected to the living space and manicured landscape, while preserving the glasshouse in jet-black to make a dramatic wine bar.
“I carefully restored the handcrafted wooden doors and frames and the original moulded ceilings, leaving them all-white to create a natural play between light and shadow,” Niels says. “White ensures that natural light deeply pierces the home.”
“The round Tulip dining table by Eero Saarinen is a perfect fit in the loggia and adds a feminine and subtle, sexy feel to the space.”
– Niels Maier, director of Studio Niels
Adding to the all-white scheme is the polished Corian kitchen worktop and cabinetry, together with the top-to-toe Corian surfaces in the bathrooms. In juxtaposition, Niels introduced coffee black oak flooring to match the existing oak boards.
Niels says furniture was selected for its aesthetic and functional value. “My client and I shared the same passion for modern classics, so we chose pieces with an extra layer of personality for a bespoke solution,” he says.
One of these key objects is the LC2 Poltrona Armchair by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand in custom black velvet from Raf Simons. In a bid not to stray from the ebony and ivory, Niels was able to customise icons like the Multi-Lite Pendant by Gubi into an entirely white fixture.
Niels measures the success of this regal project through his client’s most recent request; a summer home where he can again apply his precise and persuasive approach to design.
This piece originally appeared in est magazine issue 33.