Metamorphosis of an old cottage in the Mazury region

This is a new chapter in the building’s history. The metamorphosis of the old cottage happened on the initiative of Marek Bernatowicz and Tomasz Motylewski of TiM Grey Interior Design studio. They found a small house in the Mazury region, which they turned into an ideal place for relaxation.

The design duo had been thinking about realising such a project for several years. They wanted to buy a post-German habitat in order to make it available to tenants after renovation.

We know the Masuria region, one of us comes from here, the other fell in love with the place thanks to the first one. We feel good here, we feel that this is our time and place. During thepandemic, the number of people and the increase in investments in the Mazury region made us look for a place that was further away from civilisation, where we could find peace and quiet,” explain Marek Bernatowicz and Tomasz Motylewski.

They found out through word of mouth that there was a cottage for sale in the northern Masuria region, right on the border. The first photos of the building announced that they had a lot of work ahead of them. They went to the site to see the house with their own eyes. Driving between hills of fields, they noticed a green clump of trees and bushes, from behind which nothing could be seen. No house, just the entrance road hidden in an overgrown tunnel. After driving into a vast and sunny courtyard, they spotted an old post-German house, a barn and outbuildings. Everything was drowned in greenery.

The whole thing literally looked like an old secret garden hidden from the world. The house did not captivate us immediately; we were looking for something older, more interesting, original. It was small, a typical post-German house from the 1930s – one-storey with a gable roof, covered with Dutch tiles. The plasterwork was original but repainted, windows and doors replaced. It was well-maintained and someone took care of it, but for us it was too unoriginal,” add the investors.

The building BEFORE the conversion:

Building BEFORE redevelopment

Although the interior was renovated some time ago, it had lost its unique character. Eventually they decided to buy the house. The plot only needed to be cleared, brought up to scratch, but the house needed more intervention. The architects decided to remodel it and refer to traditional Prussian architecture. They wanted the habitat to be natural and to have ‘that something’.

As a first step, they decided to scrape off the yellow plaster to expose the original brickwork and give the façade some texture. The house was squat so they removed the central chimney and added two against the side walls. The chimneys were built using demolition bricks from inside the house.

The building had small windows and lots of rooms inside, we wanted to open it up as much as possible and let more light and greenery in. We extended the window openings downwards to create low window sills and broke out two large terrace windows on the south side. In this way, we improved the proportions of the building, making it more slender and varied,” describe the authors of the project.

The building AFTER reconstruction:

A new feature is the terrace, which was built on the south side. In summer, it becomes an extension of the living room. In place of the old sheds, sheds and a metal garage, they put up a light garden shed covered with ceramic tiles. Considerable changes have taken place inside.

Originally, there were six small rooms on the ground floor of the building and four in the attic. They completely redesigned the functional layout of the interior. They wanted an open-plan living area, a large bathroom that would act as a bathing room and two double bedrooms in the attic with a toilet. A lot of space was freed up by removing the central chimney. They combined the old vestibule, kitchen, pantry, bathroom and living room to create a new, open and spacious living area. A new bathroom appeared where the guest room used to be.

The attic is now accessed by a spiral staircase located in the central area – this treatment made it possible to build two bedrooms on the sides and a small toilet in the middle. In place of the original staircase, they designed a built-in wardrobe and a wall covering the exit to the basement. The mirrors placed on it reflect the light and greenery and enhance the impression of space.

Move the slider BEFORE and AFTER:

From the outside, the house was to be kept in the atmosphere of the region, traditional, brick with visible structure and the passage of time. The interiors, on the other hand, we wanted minimalist, bright, warm with light accents. A combination of minimalism, japanese and loft-style atmosphere. Hence a lot of natural materials such as brick, wood, ceramics, steel and stone. We tried to recycle the demolition material as much as possible so that we could reuse it. We designed micro-cement for the entire floor on the ground floor and the walls in the bathroom. We tore down all the ceilings to expose the old structural ceiling beams. Locating the spiral staircase in the central part of the house also allowed us to open up the ground floor to the attic and gain additional breath in the interior, the architects explain their design decisions.

Importantly, the designers tried to make maximum use of the existing elements. The old lime wood that was lying in the courtyard under a layer of rubbish was cleaned up and now adorns the window sills, the countertop in the bathroom and serves as a table in the dining room. Another example is the use of an old front door that was found in the barn. Once cleaned, it serves as an atmospheric hanger. Old windows were used to create mirrors. The spirit of the old house can also be felt in the attic. Some of the structural beams were uncovered and old floorboards were laid on the floor. They were laid alternately with planks recovered from the soffit of the old ceiling above the ground floor.

We liked the house so much that we decided to live in it and look for something else to rent. We found peace and quiet here,” the new owners conclude.

source: Marek Bernatowicz & Tomasz Motylewski – TiM Grey Interior Design(

Read also: Brick | Metamorphosis | Single-family house | Interiors | whiteMAD on Instagram

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