Damian Zarebski and Tom van Hal turned into a prospective demolition site into a sleek modern house in the up-and-coming Katendrecht neighborhood of Rotterdam. The couple purchased the four-story property two decades ago, and Zarebski, a building and remodeling advisor and planner, turned into a showcase showing that the quality customers can expect from his work. When they bought the home, it was in horrible shape. Constructed in the early 1900s, the house has been made up of three individual apartments. “You had to have an great imagination to see the potential,” Zarebski states. “Everything was shut , there were dead pigeons… it was just terrible!”
Throughout the year it required the building to be reconstructed, Zarebski treated the project as a major part of his design portfolio. “It was kind of an exam for me, in terms of whether I’d finally succeed with my company. Now I believe I passed the test”
at a Glance
Who lives here: Damian Zarebski, Tom van Hal and their Golden Retriever pup Jimmy
Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Size: 175 square meters, 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom
The two Zarebski and van Hal enjoy cooking and entertaining, and it had been significant for your kitchen to meet their design and functional needs. Located on the third floor of the house, the kitchen features a slender custom made staircase that is seven meters long and 40 centimeters off the ground. The glossy white cupboards are MDF (medium-density fibreboard) and includes electric-powered drawers and cupboards. Other features include a 6-centimeter granite countertop, a five- burner induction stove along with a round Küpersbusch extraction hood. To the left (not pictured) are built in stainless steel appliances: a fridge, oven, microwave and dishwasher.
On the rear wall is a custom made shelf unit comprising LED accent lighting to store glassware and cooking books.
Architect and buddy Willem van Genugten helped Zarebski design the kitchen of his dreams. “Everybody told me that the island proved to be a terrible idea because the space was so narrow, but I really like kitchen islands for the way they create togetherness in the kitchen,” Zarebski states.
A unique feature of the kitchen island is a sliding buffet pub. The concept is to start up extra space in the dining area to accommodate guests when entertaining, while also having the option for extra chairs at the kitchen.
The round extraction hood has been chosen to break the long space and also to provide the appearance of a light fixture.
The dining room is modern and uncluttered, with Eames Eiffel chairs surrounding a sleek glass-top table. Floor convector heating is lively and refined.
The use of glass is prolonged up into the balcony on the fourth floor, which overlooks the dining room and outside through the floor to ceiling windows into magnificent views of Rotterdam.
The master bathroom is spacious and modern, featuring a handmade oak vanity with signature closets, double oval freestanding basins, plus a luxurious oval freestanding bath.
“I always wanted to have a huge toilet, because in Holland, baths are notoriously small,” Zarebski states. “In fact, this isn’t referred to as a toilet, but a’bathroom salon’ for its dimensions.”
Mirrors that stretch up to the ceiling make the massive bathroom look more spacious, while the oak vanity brings warmth and feel into the space.
The toilet was designed with luxury in mind. The massive shower features side-by-side shower heads, a hand shower plus an overhead rain shower. They deliver 27 liters of warm water per minute.
Zarebski states,”I wanted comfort and a special bath because I really like to take baths. I read books, watch movies, and I study in the bath.”
To make a soothing atmosphere in the otherwise big space, Zarebski chose a neutral color palette. The rectangular tiling along the rear wall helps to heat the space, while maintaining a modern look and texture. The space is softened with all the roundness of the bath and vanity basins.
The neutral-hued rectangular tiling from the toilet proceeds to the guest toilet.
The entry of the house contributes into Zarebski’s office. It was a conscious decision to make the ground floor Zarebski’s work space to make the most of the house’s fabulous perspectives on the higher floors from the living areas. The space combines a Victorian aesthetic with modern accents.
The dark green walls and big crystal chandelier play the glass desk and modern furnishings, like the iconic Eames aluminium desk seats along with the glowing orange cashmere Eero Saarinen Womb Chair and footstool.
The goal was to maintain a balance between classical and modern design, while creating a bold and dramatic statement. “I really like play,” Zarebski states. “What I find most important is to mix styles and attempt to make a balance”
Lighting has been an integral part of the home’s layout, and has been utilized to enhance the features of their rooms and to bring the different colors into play. “Although the green is quite dim, I balanced it with a lot of soft and white wood, and the lighting brings it all out even more,” Zarebski states.
The office features a custom built built-in library and custom sliding doors that lead into an area that’s used as a meeting and presentation area. The space also functions as a guest bedroom, and opens onto a rear patio and a 1,000 square meter communal garden.
A lift from the ground floor extends into the kitchen and the rooftop patio, making hauling markets easy.
The presentation room’s sharp contrast between contemporary and classical design ties in well with the office space.
Attention to detail was a priority for Zarebski through the design procedure. Antique building materials, like the antique door handles, ensure that the ground floor renovation maintained historical Dutch influences.
Steamed oak herringbone parquet flooring runs throughout the home, creating an elegant unity between the varying styles. An antique mahogany cabinet takes the spotlight in the room.
A white painted wooden staircase twists from the ground to the top floor along one side of this building.
“I want to be able to show my customers that anything is possible, that dreams can come true. However, you have to set up confidence” Zarebski states. “Every floor has a different’wow’ factor. I chose this consciously to appeal to the various styles of my clients.”
The dramatic floor-to-ceiling glass windows stretch from the third to the fourth ground, pouring light into the home.
The fourth floor of the home is the dwelling and entertainment place. A massive Vasily Kandinsky Museum of Modern Art print injects vibrant color into the neutral space.
Overlooking the dining room below, a casual seating area allows Zarebski, Tom and their guests to admire the views from the big windows.
“This home isn’t practical,” Zarebski admits. “I went for aesthetics instead of performance when designing it, therefore it is all seems. I love beautiful things.” A large wrap-around sofa makes a cozy and comfy space for the few to enjoy watching movies in their entertainment area.
Zarebski’s parents have owned a building business in Poland for 20 decades, so it is little wonder that he followed in their footsteps. With plenty of experience behind him, Zarebski went into this project with clear vision. The duo proved to be quite the team, with Zarebski, left, taking the design direct, and van Hal, a freelance editor, taking the research lead on the neighborhood.
Once run down and unsafe, the neighborhood is now an attractive place for young families and professionals, because of an injection of financing by the local council. With its close proximity to downtown Rotterdam along with the city’s iconic harbor, it is but one of Rotterdam’s most exciting residential areas. As a community, homeowners in the neighborhood have rebuilt or remodeled almost every single building, redesigning the interiors to give it a new update.
Zarebski takes a stroll round the block with their pup Jimmy.
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