Dutch Gambrel

Dutch Gambrel, Image9

Dating from the early twentieth century, this two-storey semi-detached house is located in a picturesque street in Bussum. Our clients wished to create more space for their growing family by renovating the attic.

The house has a gambrel roof: a two-sided roof with two slopes on each side. The disadvantage of the ‘Dutch Gambrel’ roof – often used on colonial Dutch houses – is a low attic which makes the space impossible to use for anything other than storage. Our design extended and improved the roof construction, thereby utilizing the former disused attic space to create a new third floor.

Confronted with strict local building regulations, the practice proposed to extend the roof without changing its external appearance from the street: the upper angles of the roof were made steeper to create more height and flattened at the top to accommodate a horizontal full-length rooflight.

In order to realize our design, the upper part of the gambrel roof construction was completely dismantled and the original rafters were replaced by four exposed laminated wood frames. The new six-and-a half-metre-long rooflight creates a wonderful sense of light in the space, with daylight filtering through the stairwell below in different ways throughout the day. For summer cooling, the rooflight windows can be opened to allow heat from the whole house to escape.

The space now functions as the master bedroom with study. With the renovation, the attic gained a surprising spatial quality to become the largest and brightest space in the house.


Location: Bussum, Netherlands
Year: 2011-2012
Team: Serge Schoemaker, Dik Houben
Photography: Raoul Kramer


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Dutch Gambrel, Image6 Serge Schoemaker project Bussum plattegrond_final_rev