Scheeps, Amsterdam

This bright plant-filled 45sqm/484sqft loft situated directly on the waterfront in the Eastern Harbour District of Amsterdam is home to designer Koen Fraijman, his girlfriend Fadime and their cat Sok.

Having made sculptures for light art festivals, exhibitions as well as many of the items on display in his loft, Fraijman’s fascination with building is evident throughout this entire home.

My philosophy when it comes to designing small spaces is to iterate until it feels right. It also helps if you can live in the space and try out what works for you.

Koen Fraijman

Relatively new, the apartment was completed in 1998 on a street with no aesthetic building restrictions allowing for a wonderful mixture of styles and tastes.

High ceilings and large windows that open up to the waterfront go a long way toward making this small-footprint home feel larger than it should, especially with features further enhanced by some very clever design decisions by Fraijman.

Despite introducing some custom furniture into the home, lines of sight were a priority. The waterway outside is visible throughout the house and spaces are deliberately uncluttered to allow for unfettered viewing. The entrance is a classic example of this with a clean clear area, views to the right, cabinets hung around the corner and a mirror above the door to amplify the natural light into the small space. 

The living area contains some large plants, a very popular feature in a lot of the projects we feature, this coupled with the plentiful south-facing windows creates a great connection between the natural world and the home.

A TV, Fraijman’s favourite design feature of the home is suspended by a rail so that it can be pulled out and pushed back depending on the need. Such a feature creates an incredible impact on the space, ensuring that when the TV is not in use the space feels larger and airier, but when it is pulled out, the space feels cosier. A piece of art has been added to the back of the TV system so that when it’s not in use, it feels like a sculpture. 

While the TV has been designed to be hidden, the opposite is true for the living area’s pink cabinet adorned with green tiles (placed by the owners themselves). Besides its utility for storage, the cabinet contains a hidden desk and a hiding place for the cat.

The kitchen light is an upcycled old street lamp from the couple’s previous home. There weren’t a lot of aesthetic changes made in the kitchen with the style left largely unchanged.

“We liked the simpleness and the calmness of the original grey kitchen. Plus it was still in good shape. So we decided to keep it, and extend it with a kitchen island”.

Koen Fraijman

The existing washing machine was removed and replaced with a dishwasher with Fraijman finding a much smaller washing machine to fit into the bathroom.

The main bedroom continues the decision to amplify available natural light with floor-to-ceiling mirrors on the wardrobes. With light switches for the bedroom located at the entrance hall, Fraijman constructed a remote which sits on the bedroom storage unit from a huge industrial switch rescued from an abandoned factory in Belgium.

This ingenuity continues into the bathroom, where a custom cabinet has been built around the washing machine and an integrated litter box ensures the kitty litter is well out of sight.

Fraijman’s approach to constructing clever solutions for a small space delivers a light-filled, airy and sensible space, where things are as they should be, organised and hidden away but easily available when desired.

Images by Koen Fraijman