Three whitewashed volumes deliver daylight and improved functionality to a creative family’s historic home in Essen.
When musicians Milena and Max Schmiz purchased the Dortmannhof—a heritage-listed German farmhouse built in 1791—for their family of four, the young couple must have known that their new home would be a work in progress. Despite uneven floors, drafty windows, and strict historic preservation laws that restricted changes, the Schmizes succeeded in turning the 200-year-old farmhouse into a charming, art-filled abode. But the home’s lack of daylight on its northern side still remained a problem.
In search of a solution, the couple contacted Berlin-based architect Sigurd Larsen after seeing images of his Roof House, a Copenhagen home designed for daylighting.
“Getting enough daylight into the house without removing the historic facade was a major challenge,” says Larsen. “Since the building is under monument protection, all original walls and ceiling beams had to be preserved. We were only allowed to add two small skylights on the eastern slope of the roof.”
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