Villa L

Layers for Living

A young family asked us bring their dream home to life – complete with both simplicity and surprise, minimalism and luxury. We united these opposing aspirations in a striking layered design, beautifully articulated by protruding white floor plates. Resembling an elegant architectural cake, each layer has its own unique flavor, offering the family the best of all possible worlds.Villa L won a Dutch Design Award and was nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award.

Time span2008 - 2012
Size1 300 m²
LocationUtrecht, NL
TypeInteriors, Living, Recognitions
Partners in charge
Nanne de Ru, Stijn Kemper
Partner in charge
Project lead
Project team
Charles Bessard
Ard Jan Lootens
Marc van Bemmel
Landscape architect
Structural engineer
MEP consultant
Project management
Pierik Projecten Groep
Rhijnlandsche Meubelmakerij

A trio of atmospheres

A trio of atmospheres

We designed each of the three floors to offer its own, distinct spatial experience. The ground floor is the main living area. Light, expansive and extroverted, its glass façades offer beautiful views of the surrounding woodland, while a central service core concentrates the amenities. A spectacular curved staircase forms a dramatic focal point.

Upstairs, a ‘village’ of cabin-like bedrooms offers spaces for intimacy and provides private views over the landscape. Downstairs in the basement, small courtyards puncture the space, bringing daylight into the guest rooms and pool below, and providing direct access to the garden.

Looking outside, looking in

We brought the outside inside
Opening up the basement
Our cabins add privacy
01 - 03

Our three clear levels, with three very different characters and functionalities, form the basis for family life to emerge.

Ground floor

First floor



Line of domesticity

Line of domesticity

Our horizontal design is in part a homage to Frank Lloyd Wright’s trademark use of the long, low-lying line for rest and repose. The ‘line of domesticity’, as he called it, gives our Villa L its serene, soothing quality. Within this horizontal framework, each floor has its own architectural identity: the upper floor is a collection of closed boxes, while the ground floor has a closed ‘back’ and a frontage that opens up to the garden. The basement has a more traditional plan with rooms connected to each another.

A wider world

Our sweeping facade
More info
We work the wide angle
01 - 02

One of the most important aspects of the house is our amazing steel structure with its 11-meter cantilever.

Stijn Kemper
Dive into the details
Dive into the details
Making the Cool Stuff
Nanne de Ru and Gilbert van der Lee

The village of cabins

The village of cabins

We visualized the villa’s top floor as a ‘village of cabins’, providing the privacy that our clients craved. With their oblique angles and scattered volumes, the cabins follow a very different floorplan to the open living space below. To achieve them, we installed a complex steel frame defining the five rectilinear volumes. We used dark timber for the façades of the cabins, creating a lively contrast within the white layered villa – another example of successfully balanced opposites.

A place for everything

Our statement staircase
Bookshelves with door
Material contrasts
Desk and storage
01 - 04
Dive into the details
Dive into the details
Start the conversation
Next project

Villa MW

All about the Views