House in a House

‘House in a House’ is the sustainable renovation of a terraced house from the 1980s in Wassenaars Spinbaanquarters. Our design challenge was to transform the dated and cramped residence into a bright, modern space with character, yet providing enough space for a family.


Renovation terrace house for private client


enlarging the house form 120 m2 to 160 m2 by adding a rooftop


Arthur Nuss and Tomáš Beránek


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house in a house sustainable renoavation architect The Hague Wassenaar

The result is an open living space that makes smart use of the height of the house. Thanks to the rooftop structure and attic windows, another 40 m2 is gained, enabling light to stream into the center of the house.

duurzaam bouwen

Atrium as center

The living quarters are located around the atrium, thereby creating rooms of different shapes with interesting vistas. The stairwell spans over two floors and is a focal point of the house. The modern design and the inventive use of space ensures an experience and level of comfort far surpassing the original living experience.

House in a House situatie voor de renovatie

before renovation

Rugged materials with an unfinished but warm look were chosen for this renovation. The existing wooden floor at ground level was sanded down and oiled in a lighter color. For the kitchen we chose exposed concrete.


house in a house

The kitchen unit, mounted on wheels, was custom designed and made in oak with a stainless steel worksurface. The load bearing wall in the living room was finished with a concrete plaster and on the first floor a cork floor Is used. The roof structure is left ‘unfinished’, exposing beams and oiled Finnish pinewood floorboards. These warm natural materials stand in beautiful contrast to the white plastered walls.

Comfort and the environment are the main themes of this renovation. The house is designed from an ‘integrated sustainability’ point of view. Passive solar energy, natural ventilation, heating and cooling are all managed in the atrium. By placing a ‘house within a house’, all rooms open up to the atrium. By closing or opening windows the rooms benefit from the warming and cooling qualities of the central space. This integrated system also creates a unique built environment.

This renovation includes the following features:
– Healthy living environment with natural ventilation and optimised light
– Reduced energy demand due to the use of insulating materials and good design
– Control of natural light through the use of blinds on the South side of the house
– The Atrium, retaining heat when required
– Solar panels for space heating / water heating

more about renovation and interior design

BNA, building of the year 2016
Honorable mention

“House in a House” is the sustainable renovation of an existing 1980s terraced house in the Spinbaankwartier in Wassenaar. The project received an honourable mention during BNA’s best building of the year 2016. The jury was ecstatic about the courage this design shows; in these types of houses you rarely see such spaces being made. It shows that remodelling can yield much more than additional cubic meters or a higher insulation value; the architect has also created a great spatial experience. This is a sympathetic project, with great cooperation between the client and the architect. The honourable mention was received for the exemplary way in which a new kind of spatial experience has been introduced in a so-called “Bloemkoolwijk”.