Sinking into the background, this neighborhood home in Wroclaw, Poland was in need of a a serious facelift. In a bright and vibrant town known for its characteristic colourful facades of the buildings downtown, this shaggy brown facade was fading further and further from visions of
home sweet home, becoming a boring element of the background.
That's where architects from Marmur Studio stepped in.
Preserving the exterior structure of the home, and working within the tight boundaries between two other homes nestled on either side, the architect team created a brighter, bolder facade that commands attention while still conforming to the general look and feel of the other neighborhood buildings. In their overview, the architects explain how this home has gone unchanged for over 30 years – while many of the other modules built around it have undergone updates. Before the renovation, a passerby could walk down the street and never give the house a second glance as its dark colour and worn materials pushed the facade into the background. Now fashioned to match the style and comfort of its modular neighbors, this home has finally found its place as the missing element in a cheerful and friendly neighborhood street.
With a first glance, it's hard to get past the shaggy, overgrown lawn and untrimmed bushes that are creeping across the yard. Unlike its neighbors, this home has sat mostly untouched for the past 30 years, and it's beginning to show. The doors have been boarded up, the windows left bare, and the grass has been allowed to completely eliminate any homes of getting a car into the garage (much less playing a game of kickball). Looking at this home's placement between its neighbors, it's easy to see why the architects have determined it to be the
missing element in a neighborhood otherwise full of friendly and modern homes.
You'll notice that the left side of the structure appears to flop over onto its neighbor – these homes were design as separated modules of one long row of single family dwellings. The architects have to work carefully in order to perform this renovation, as there's not much wiggle room (or room for equipment) on the side of the home.
Not much is different in the back – although on this side of the house, the yard's grass has become sparse bare without proper lawn care. Looking at the materials of the home, you can see that it has already undergone a few repairs and replacements, turning its brick walls into a sort of rusty patchwork quilt. On the side of the home, you can see a modern home that offers a stark contrast to this outdated one, which brilliant white walls, a satellite dish, and patio on the upper floor.
Taking a step back at this new facade, you can barely see how it was a shaggy brick home just months ago. Given a new white exterior covering that matches that of its modular neighbors, this home now offers a welcoming (and modern) hello to passersby on the the street, and a well-maintained yard communicates a sense of care completely absent in the previous home.
It's amazing what a fresh dose of modern materials can do for a home – these architects haven't even changed the original structure of the house. Only the design and materials have been updated.
In this new version, windows all remain in their original places, but they've been given a sleek, polished look with frames and sizes that match one another. In addition, a patio has now been created in the center of the backyard. This new design provides outdoor access from the split-level bottom floor, with a tidy elevated deck for viewing the entire backyard without feeling cramped. With this added access to the outdoors, this renovated home establishes a fresh dialogue with its surroundings.
There's not a lot of
wow factor in this renovation job – the idea was to bring the home to terms with its modern surroundings, not to outdo them! Simple additions like this basic, fenceless elevated deck makes an enormous impact on the family's ability to enjoy the outdoors, but it remains a simple design that doesn't clamor for attention (and you can already see in this picture that someone is enjoying the opportunity to lay on the warm wood and soak up the sun's rays!).
The home has kept the original wooden floors (hardwood floors like these are harder and harder to re-create, as the new growth timber widely available today just isn't the same). However, above the floors, many aspects of the home give off a modern vibe. The open staircase is the most obvious of the new renovations, and the brightening effects of the brilliant white paint job are undeniable.
This small kitchen doesn't let lack of size get in the way of a beautiful space! Here, layers of shelves have been added in order to display pantry items and cooking herbs in an attractive way. With wall-mounted lighting that can be adjusted to highlight different areas of the room, the lighting in this kitchen is convenient and useful, illuminating any area where a person might be chopping, mixing, or pouring.
Facing a small space like this one? Learn some tricks for maximizing your space in a small home with this ideabook.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of this sitting room is the unique blend of textures present in the space: a round, sturdy wooden coffee table brings the raw textures of nature, while an abstract pattern on the upholstery adds a soft texture to the space. Metal lampshades above add an edgy, metallic element, while the heavy, draping curtains ground the room with their weight and richly textured fabric. All around, this room is a blend of materials that bring a sense of establishment and comfort to the room – there's not too much of anything, but just enough of everything.
In the end, the architects have created a modern and comfortable home that finally gives the neighbors something to look at. Gone is the shaggy, overgrown, and abandoned appearance: here sits a modern, convenient, and comfortable home offering a friendly space for a single family to enjoy.
If you're looking for more renovation projects that focus on creating modern and convenient everyday spaces, have a look at this Before and After ideabook that explores the transforming of a dark and gloomy home into a brilliant, cheerful space!