Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Visionary's Dream

This 1930 textile factory in the banks of the Rhine River (19 miles from Cologne, Germany) was brought to life, after almost disappearing in ruins, by visionary entrepreneur Tilman Paas. After falling in love with the property, he led the rehabilitation of the 300,000 square-feet complex. While the project was taking place, Paas installed an iron foundry and a carpentry shop in the smokestack to be able to tackle the larger jobs. Only 3,200 sq. ft. of the building was assigned for his living quarters, and the rest was allotted to offices, meeting rooms and a private space he rents to a friend. The access to the main house is through a polished iron gate that leads to the multilevel living space.
The ample living space is infused by natural light that comes through towering 20 feet-high windows. Instead of dividing the space with walls, Paas designed an oak module that houses both bathrooms —one downstairs and one upstairs— and also serves as a bookcase. He also designed some of the furniture pieces in the house, like the very cool coffee table he made using metal beams, industrial wheels and glass. The dreamy openness of the space is also perfect to display his art collection, which includes pieces by Picasso, Warhol and Calder.
As for the decor, Paas integrated contemporary pieces with antiques and, of course, his own creations in a very clean and streamlined manner. I really fancy how the raw industrial elements coexist beautifully with the natural wood and the original mix of furnishings — creating a very interesting and sophisticated look. There is no doubt that Paas' vision and passion for this old structure make this home a very special place.

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