Renovation: modern living in old buildings

March 22Storage space
A former embroidery works in the town of Lustenau, Austria has been given a completely new look, without losing its original features. The new generation wanted to retain the building's character while integrating state-of-the-art solutions.

A home steeped in family history

"My grandfather ran the company, and then my parents. Up until two years ago, high-quality embroidery materials were still being traded from here," says 36-year-old Mathias Wölfl proudly. He lives in the former embroidery works together with his wife Anja and their daughters. "We have left the rooms as they were as far as possible. Just one wall had to be removed." The furniture that was used here had to suit the generous ceiling height of 2.80 m, which in turn allowed the young family to express their creativity with the help of their cabinet maker.

High-quality embroidery materials were traded here from 1946 to 2020.

Hidden storage space in the entrance area

As you enter the newly tiled stairwell, where employees used to clock in and out, the high-ceilinged rooms still exude a sense of nostalgia. Perhaps it comes from the old sewing machine tables, which now serve as a decorative element and provide a homely welcome. Just around the corner, a cloakroom awaits with ceiling-high, gleaming white fronts and behind. "We tailored the inside of the cabinet to suit the items we want to store there," explains Anja, adding: "Next to the cloakroom, we have a cupboard for cleaning supplies and shoes and a large cupboard for food, instead of a pantry."

The white cupboards in the cloakroom extend up the ceiling, so Anja and Mathias can make full use of the space.

The spirit of the embroidery works lives on in the old sewing machine tables that serve as decorative elements in the entrance area.

Fine embroidery that is still used in the home bears witness to the building's history

"None of the walls are straight here; we needed custom solutions from the cabinet maker. After careful thought, our cabinets were tailored to perfectly match our needs."

Kitchen framed by a steel beam and clay wall

A black painted steel beam spans the new kitchen and dining area, in place of the old wall from the former storage room for embroidery goods. "We wanted to keep the beam exposed no matter what. We like the industrial charm, the combination of simple furniture with a lot of wood and timeless white," explains material merchant Mathias. An earthy clay plaster wall provides a homely atmosphere. 

The couple have equipped the kitchen furniture with the throughout. "The children got used to this in no time at all," reveals Anja, and continues: "It makes things so much easier when cooking or setting the table. I can't imagine being without this function now."

The kitchen combines modern and traditional elements, featuring both handle-less furniture with electrical opening support systems as well as clay walls and an industrial steel beam.

The children got used to the SERVO-DRIVE opening support system in no time, and this makes it much easier for them to help out with the cooking.

Central washing station with screen

The first floor also features well-thought-out solutions. "Our new bathroom is intended as a place of relaxation," explains the mother-of-two and adds: "I didn't want to have the rumble of the washing machine next to me ever again when trying to enjoy a relaxing bath." However, with two small children, there's a relatively large amount of washing. "I didn't want to have to go down into the cellar either. The recess in the hallway seemed an obvious solution," she explains. The clever cabinet maker had a practical solution ready. 

Everything to hand...

... and stored neatly away

Clever details 

The laundry basket can be easily placed on the with practical lock-open stop, keeping both hands free for emptying the tumble dryer. The pull-outs next to it provide enough space for washing powder and other household items. "And the washing basket even fits in the bottom drawer, so it's not sitting about in the room looking untidy," says the order-loving lady of the house. 

Anja can simply set down the washing basket on the handy pull-out shelf and easily load and empty the tumble dryer without having to bend over.

Made-to-measure wall

During the renovation, a recess was created in the living room, which the Wölfls have used for a tailor made built-in cupboard. "The children like playing in the living room best. So it's really practical for tidying away their dolls, cars and other toys behind the large fronts in the evening," says the marketing professional enthusiastically. There's still more than enough space for other items that the family likes to store in the living room.

The recess is used as valuable storage space from floor to ceiling.

The large window in the old stairwell invites you to linger a while with its wide sill.

Old building, new possibilities

"Before the renovation, an architect friend advised us that we should be aware that we would not be getting a new house. We shouldn't expect too much. But the result is so much better than we would ever have anticipated. The old embroidery works has opened up so many possibilities that you wouldn't have taken a chance on with a new build," enthuses Mathias. And the large living room can also be made smaller and cosier with a sliding door which is integrated into the wall. "We wouldn't have done anything differently," they agree.

All advantages at a glance

  • Ceiling-high cabinets with inner pull-outs and compartments provide lots of storage space in the corridor

  • Electrical opening support system for handle-less fronts in the kitchen

  • A pull-out shelf with lock-open stop keeps hands free for loading the tumble dryer

  • Storage space for toys in the living room cabinet with inner pull-outs

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