Maastricht Loft

WORDS AND PRODUCTION Mark Heldens PHOTOS Alan Jensen


A brief that involved Mad Men, Bauhaus and The Wolf of Wall Street, and a two-storey loft that used to be a home for nurses, made for an interesting project – one that was brilliantly executed by an interior design duo from Amsterdam.

“Create a comfortable family loft” was the brief given to Dax and Joyce Roll of Nicemakers. At least, that was the easy part of it; the rest requested “a home where furniture designer Jean Prouvé meets interior designer Joseph Dirand; where Bauhaus architecture meets the glamour of the Chrysler Building; where interiors specialists Roman and Williams meet the series Mad Men; and where minimal architect Peter Zumthor meets The Wolf of Wall Street’s Jordan Belfort”. It must’ve made for an interesting mood board for the Amsterdam- based interior design studio – but in their favour was a portfolio of successfully completed projects that includes a city-centre canal house, a country farmhouse, a 19th-century mansion, a 1960s bungalow, and the re-styling of De L’Europe hotel in Amsterdam. The starting point for this latest project was a concrete loft in the south of the Netherlands, with a roof terrace providing great views of Maastricht’s city centre. “Every new project starts with freedom – freedom of thought and inspiration – and a story or an atmosphere,” says Dax. “That is our approach – and luckily in this instance, given their briefing, also that of our clients.” Their clients were a couple who had grown up in Maastricht. The building, originally designed as living space for local nurses – each window belonged to a single room furnished with a simple bed, desk and wardrobe – was later also used as office space. When it was first put on the market, the couple moved quickly, buying one of the apartments on the ninth floor and both apartments on the 10th floor. Along with this combination came a roof terrace with 360-degree panoramic views and, as an extra, a secret observatory/sky lounge above that.

Maastricht Loft
The living space on the 10th floor is anchored by a Groundpiece sofa system by Antonio Citterio for Flexform. Walnut panelling, linen curtains from Studio Natural and an expansive En Suite rug by Mae Engelgeer for Frankly Amsterdam soften and warm up the space, while a vintage lamp and a golden artwork add modern glitz. The “secret” cocktail bar was designed by Nicemakers and manufactured by Soons Interieurbouw.

It did help that the clients distilled their initial myriad meet-up brief into, “Create a 1960s and ’70s feeling in the interior, with mostly warm colours, custom elements, vintage Mid- century Modern elements, and a ‘submerged’ living space – and all that in combination with that Brutalist concrete construction.”

Easier… but still not easy. “We made it our own,” says Joyce. “I could almost see the film scenes, where the elevator door of the penthouse opens and you immediately find yourself within this Mad Men-like space, almost hearing Don Draper’s favourite jazz music.”

The entrance to the home is on the ninth floor – a self-contained area that includes a small pantry and a lounge. Here the clients wanted to create a warmer, more feminine salon feeling that would act as a contrast to the main floor above, with its rough concrete walls, ceiling and many sturdy columns. Upstairs, the kitchen was given a prominent place – a key consideration for the couple, who often entertain family and friends. Standing behind the kitchen island – made from an antique brass frame and an olive-green enamelled lava-stone countertop – you can take in the entire loft. To the left is the dining area, fireplace and living room; to the right, a breakfast area, and a view towards the master bedroom and bathroom.

To soften and add character to all the concrete, Joyce and Dax carefully considered which materials and textures would work best in the space. Most of the vintage furniture, lamps and accessories were bought in consultation with the owners at international fairs and auctions, as well as at galleries in Milan, Paris, Brussels and New York. It makes for an interior that’s undoubtedly luxe without being ostentatiously glamorous. It looks natural and lived in, despite the fact that it’s been only recently designed.

“Maastricht did surprise us,” say Dax and Joyce. “We knew such a project would eventually come our way, but we had never taken on anything like this before. With the trust and freedom our clients gave us, we were able to excel – and we are very grateful for that.”


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