ATELIER KOLLER - Liberate the kitchen, The Hague/NL

What was once a small kitchen hidden under a mezzanine has become a modern, functional, open space complementing the adjacent bright and spacious living-dining area. The old kitchen had served its time and no longer satisfied the functional or space-related expectations and necessities of the owners. Storage space was sorely lacking, the ergonomics of the furniture were outdated, and the whole design was straight out of another era.

As foodies and avid home cooks, the owners envisioned a space that would be much more functional and open. This way, when preparing meals, one would be able to participate in the discussions going on in the living area. The idea of a kitchen island, where the cooks face the double height living space was the most obvious solution. On account of the mezzanine housing the library and TV room on the floor above, the kitchen ceiling height could not be altered. By breaking down the enclosing walls, however, it was enlarged and felt less restricted, and uses the available space more efficiently.

The old kitchen layout and a certain number of electrical and plumbing installations dictated the base for the new arrangement. The system and position of cabinetry changed completely. As a result of the low ceiling, no upper cupboards were installed. To compensate, custom-made ceiling-height cupboards line the walls: the refrigerator, microwave, oven, food storage and boiler could therefore be hidden away. Shallower cabinets were installed not only to mask vertical installation shafts, but serve to store home appliances like the toaster, coffee machine, blender, etc.

Hints of color accent the homogeneous white and shiny surfaces of the cabinets and ceiling. Color features specifically in the black handles, the smooth black stone countertop and the blue-grey glass backsplash walls behind the sink and the cooktop.

The idea of a kitchen island was the guiding element of this redesign. A decision was made to rebuild part of the former wall separating the kitchen visually from the living room. By doing so, the cooktop could be protected so that no cooking oil could splatter on the wooden floors, for example. Relocating the sink to the very back and darkest part of the new kitchen shields this typically messy area from view. Four lines of small LED spots in the ceiling illuminate all parts of the kitchen in a homogeneous way and provide adequate light for work areas, drawers and cabinets.

The owners were intent on keeping the hardwood floor, which extends into the living room. A parquet layer was used to repair the existing floor and new oak pieces were added where needed. A surface treatment was applied in a way that blends the new boards into the pattern of the old ones.
As a result of these design changes, the kitchen now looks like a huge built-in element fully integrated to the living area.

lieu / location: Schilderswijk, La Haye, Pays Bas / The Hague, The Netherlands
maître d'ouvrage / client: privé / privat
maître d'oeuvre / architecture: Atelier Koller, La Haye / 
Atelier Koller, The Hague
missions / design phases: Esquisse (ESQ) - Assistance aux opérations de réception (AOR) / Schematic Design (SD) - Construction Administration (CA)
menuisier / furniture maker: Woodlabs, Waddinxveen (
parquet / hardwood floor: Alert Parket B.V., Monster (

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