A house possesses a rare kind of genius when its construction is what holds your gaze. In Niels Maier's The Stoned House, you will not find a singing mosaic of striking materials or dozens of colours, but rather a silencing precision with proportion, dimension, and customisation. The interior designer exhibits an inspiring version of warm minimalism. Enter with us into a home that keeps luxury soft and combines impressive comfort with architectural masterstrokes.
Upon entering, you are greeted with few words, but the message is immediately clear. The Stoned House does not beat around the bush. Here, the atmosphere is relaxed and imbued with a self-assured modesty. Niels Maier renovated this 1970s building and converted the 360 square metres of space into what is perhaps his best work to date – and that bar is high. From his studio in Maastricht, the Netherlands, he handles projects on which he leaves a distinctive mark each time. From commercial spaces and private homes to restaurant designs, he never loses the atmosphere that is so much his own. He regards each assignment as a journey different from the last. Respect for crafts and a loyalty to authenticity are two of his basic principles. Throughout his portfolio, you trace, among other things, attention to clear shapes and lines that speak for themselves. Therefore, in any project of his, you can expect scale and proportion to be nothing short of perfect. In addition, he usually strives to bring indoor and outdoor spaces as close together as possible in terms of feel, and there are certain materials that he regularly deliberately returns to. These include wood, copper, and stone. When selecting colours, he is fully convinced that neutral shades are forever, so he prefers them over the temporary popularity of others. You can relate all those characteristics of his overall vision back to this latest realisation, as befits a practiced designer.
Everyone has sources of inspiration, but Maier never detaches his gaze from his own path. Perhaps that is why this renovation job feels so undeniably pure. Not only that, because besides pure, every room also feels very inviting at the same time. This is mostly due to the comfort the designer adds to his minimalism. Quiet luxury needs no garish components, and certainly not when a home scores as well in terms of proportion and spatial feel as it does here. In the living space, you can see a level difference on which the salon rests. Here we immediately think we see a link to the project's name, as the embedded character of this area is somewhat reminiscent of a rock that has been carved out with tight precision and detailing.
Each object is packed with power and has a clear function
In his own words, the designer considers this area an important part of the soul of the property. Because the rest of the living space has a very open construction, you experience a certain security here extra clearly. The presence of the fireplace obviously only reinforces this. Besides this raised platform, the living area charms us with an impressive view upwards. The open floor plan predominates throughout the house, visually enhancing the considerable number of square metres. Precisely because the different zones are usually not explicitly separated from each other, it was crucial to create a strong connection between them. By executing the floors in seamless micro cement and doing so in the same shade as the walls and ceilings, a petrified and monolithic appearance unfolds. The latter two were given a finish in a homogeneous clay stucco of natural origin. Every moment of the day throws its light on the result, guaranteeing all kinds of wonderful variations of the sun's rays entering. Whereas in the morning a fresh brightness wakes you up, the evening hours demonstrate a rather intimate and cosy atmosphere. However, the designer did not choose this material for finishing only for this reason. Indeed, he explains that clay stucco also immediately contributes to the minimalist style, making it look much more natural and authentic while improving acoustics. Want to read more about this project of Niels Maier? You can read about it in the October 2023 edition of Imagicasa Magazine.
Photography by Cafeine
Text by Elke Aerts