On the penthouse level of a recently renovated late 19th century home, a clever intervention unites the bedroom space with the openplan ensuite. 

open plan bedroom with ensuite in renovated home in netherlands - grand designs - home improvements

Image: Daniel Nicolas

Having most recently been utilised as a recording studio, restoration specialist interior architects Studio Ruim took on the task of reinstating this Wilhelminapark villa located in Haarlem, Netherlands, to its bygone splendour. 

The building was designed in the late 19th century by architect S.J.W. Mons, who took his inspiration from the style of English homes and gardens.

Take a tour of its penthouse level bedroom suite to explore some of the clever design aspects the architects have employed here. 

Read more: Ensuite bathrooms: 6 ideas for open plan designs

Box clever 

ensuite bathroom with walk in shower enclosure - grand designs - home improvement

Image: Daniel Nicolas

The concept of a central volume made from oak has been used elsewhere in the house too, connecting the living room and kitchen, and featuring as a material choice for the likes of the kitchen cabinetry too. Though intersected by the steel doors, it creates a continuation here that helps unite the ensuite bathroom with the bedroom as a whole, connected space, in spite of the staircase that sits between them. 

On the bathroom side, a framless glass double shower enclosure is lined with luxurious, dramatic marble, which appears to align itself more with the dark oak than the other, simpler finishes throughout the bathroom, keeping the aesthetic of this central box in tact. 

Read more: Spa bathrooms: how to create a therapy room

Soak with a view 

bespoke window bath tub in niche in bathroom - grand designs - home improvement

Image: Daniel Nicolas

This cleaner aesthetic can particularly be noted in the ensuite's Cleopatra bathtub, which occupies an overhanging niche. Utilising the thermofoldable nature of HI-MACS, the bathtub looks as though it has been cut from a solid piece of stone, and blends seamlessly into the walls and step, also made from HI-MACS.

“Given the historic character of this building, we were not allowed to change anything in the tower itself. So we designed this bespoke Cleopatra-style bathtub, which is an absolutely unique piece,” explains Sigrid van Kleef for Ruim Studio. “Furniture is literally built into the tower, which also helps to insulate the walls and window,” adds René van der Leest.

HI-MACS is a non-porous material, and thanks to this and its invisible seams, its ideal for an easy-to-clean bathroom space. 

Tucked away 

modern bathroom with built in vanity sinks - grand designs - home improvement

Image: Daniel Nicolas

In spite of its open nature to the bedroom, the ensuite bathroom has been designed to wrap around, offering screened privacy when in use. HI-MACS has also been used for the basin and vanity, offering the same stark minimalism that is the perfect foil for the warm wood and marble elements in the design. 

Brokenplan design 

spiral staircase down through crittall style glass windows - grand designs - home improvement

Image: Daniel Nicolas

As the main bedroom of the house, the space is afford privacy by its penthouse level positioning. Dark green steel doors perfectly match the stair runner, while a central cluster pendant chandelier reaches from this top level, through to the ground floor. 


For inspiring ideas for self build homes and renovations, read Grand Designs magazine digitally for free now by registering your details

read a free issue of grand designs magazine


5 clever design tips to make your bathroom feel bigger

Ensuite bathrooms: how to design a luxurious space

Bathrooms in loft conversions: what are the requirements?

Kevins Column

Grand Designs Live: Ask an Expert Weekend 22-23 May 2021

Discover free home project advice and product recommendations from the comfort of your own home. Register now to express your interest.
Home Improvements

How to plan your kitchen storage

Follow this guide when planning the storage in your new kitchen to ensure your scheme is well-organised, easy to use and has room for everything...
Home Improvements

A view to thrill – a stunning Surrey home with weathertight sliding doors

Sliding doors and windows can open up a home and deliver security, weather protection and incredible views. We look at a beautiful case study from...
Home Improvements

Grand Designs launches a sustainable sofa collection

Discover what is available in the Grand Designs collection of sustainable and stylish sofas, armchairs and accessories, manufactured by furniture retailer DFS.
Home Improvements

Which is the best front door to buy?

Choose the best front door for your property with this guide to selecting the best design
Home Improvements

Add a sense of space and light with sliding glass doors

Whether you’re extending, self-building or improving, discover how sliding glass doors can create a sense of space and flood your home with natural light
Home Improvements

Let a wood fired oven revolutionise your al fresco lifestyle

Putting the right wood fired oven at the heart of your al fresco entertaining can enrich your weekends and evenings, if you get it right....