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Conversion of an old city villa with many surprises | SWR Room Tour
- Published on Oct 1, 2023 veröffentlicht
- Caro and Björn live where people used to buy ice cream. In 2019, the couple bought and renovated a small Gründerzeit villa with an old ice cream parlor in Mainz-Mombach. An adventure with many discoveries and obstacles.
The small town villa was built in 1899 in the center of Mainz-Mombach for the plant manager of the wagon factory, which was located nearby. Facing the street, the house is decorated with ornamental gables, large windows and a brick ornamental band. For festive days, even flag holders are bricked into the facade. On the courtyard side, on the other hand, the building is rather plain.
Caro and Björn Asmussen had been looking for a house in Mainz for some time. The designer and the architect had no concrete idea, but it was not to be a new housing development. Then Caro found the house in the old town center of the Mainz district of Mombach. From the first viewing, the two knew they could feel at home here. About 140 m² on two floors, plus a garage, an old kiosk and the yard. Perfect for them and their two sons.
The purchase price of the house was well below the average in Mainz, but there was a lot to do and they had to invest - including a lot of their own work. The inventory, traces of various uses, ice cream parlor in the courtyard, kiosk facing the street and a small private car repair shop in the garage, had to be sorted and disposed of and converted for the current living in the house. Björn's know-how as an architect was very helpful. Because with each phase of construction, they discovered new things, from rotting roofs to jammed gum wrappers from the 1950s in the old ice cream parlor tables.
Unfortunately, they couldn't keep the old ice cream parlor in the courtyard because of its poor condition; it was demolished. They also had to replace the roof and adapt the rooms to the life of a family. They opened and changed the room layout in the basement to adapt it to their needs. The former kitchen became the study, the bedroom became the dining room, the kitchen found a new place and got an access to the courtyard. With the help of friends and family, Caro and Björn did a lot of the work themselves: filling surfaces, sanding down floorboards, leaching and oiling, painting.
However, every step, every change, every material used had to be well thought out and, above all, agreed upon - with the Office for the Protection of Historical Monuments. The "Alte Eisdiele" is an individual monument. Construction measures and changes must comply with the preservation order. Especially on the outside, this is strict; inside, more is allowed. It is important that the original condition could be restored, the changes are reversible. Björn sees no obstacle in the regulations of the monument protection, on the contrary, he encourages: "Together we often found completely new ideas and always a solution".
Caro and Björn are taking their time with the renovation. One renovation step follows the next. On the one hand, for cost reasons, and on the other, they want to take their time developing ideas to do justice to the house and its history. Caro's work goes on the walls; she is currently designing a lot with fabric and wool. She often designs her projects in her small studio in Mainz's Neustadt district, and then puts the finishing touches on them in the house. She also has plans for the kiosk in the courtyard, where she might be able to combine an offer for children and culture.
The two combine their young ideas with the old house, thinking sustainably in furnishings, the choice and reusability of their materials. The old door fittings are deliberately preserved, even if they have quirks. Just like the steps or doors. The little quirks make living in the house easier, Björn says. Because of the family, more will probably be added. Not everything has to be perfect.
A film by Bettina v. Bonin (editor), Tobias v. Hellborn (camera), Max Tiemann (camera), Jan Pavu (camera / sound) and Diana Kalb (editing).
00:00 Old city villa
03:11 Dining room
06:34 Study and guest room
09:16 Children's room
11:31 Children's room
12:22 Yard and kiosk
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