Nothing, save the honeyed lustre of the front door, prepares a visitor approaching this villa in Alkmaar for the exquisite richness that lies beyond. A listed building of classical and somewhat inoffensive design, the challenge was devising a way to respect the integrity of a period building while catering to the client’s desire for a completely new and highly modern interior.

The solution began in the hallway, where history and modernity have been subtly married by offsetting the classic English white-panelled walls and cornices with leather-clad stairs and a hexagonal-patterned brushed-oak tiled floor. The tiles – individually handcrafted in Czechoslovakia and laid piece by piece by the craftsmen themselves – extend right across the ground floor, ensuring a seamless transition from one space to the next.