Home tour Een peek inside

Written by Rob Ittmann
Frontrunner

Artist Maurik Stomps and industrial designer Klaartje have been friends since childhood and a few years ago also became building neighbours in Rotterdam Central District. In an anti-squat property overlooking Central Station, each has turned their storey into a home uniquely their own.

Had you always wanted to live here?

K: “In my case, yes. My dad’s architecture firm used to be on the ground floor and when I used to come here as a child, I would fantasize about what I could do with this space if I ever got to live here one day. His office had always been an anti-squatting place, so when they eventually moved out I asked on Maurik’s behalf if he could move in. I followed a year later and got another one of the floors here.”

M: “At first, it was meant to be for just a month and they said it was literally on the verge of being torn down. But as the months went by I kept being told I could stay a bit longer, and now I’ve lived here around seven years all together, and Klaartje around six. The first few weeks I slept in her father’s office, as it were, without any bathroom, and I showered in a cubicle on the balcony I rigged up with a garden hose. Actually, it was romantic in a way.”

Is it difficult to feel at home when you’re anti-squatting?

K: “I don’t find it to be all that difficult. It really does feel like home and I’m happy here. It comes with some uncertainties, of course, but I also get so much out of it. It’s a terrific space and it’s nice and central and close to everything I need.”

M: “It bothered me a little more at first as you’re constantly trying to work out if investments you make in the house are worth it. Because, how much longer can you stay? It’s not easy to make an anti-squatting house feel like home, but it is important. Fortunately I got there, after seven years.”

What’s the coolest thing about your house?

K: “We have two cats, Otje and Kobus, who wander around the whole building. They’re two very cool housemates, haha. But what is really great to me is how big it is, and I keep on discovering different spots I love.”

M: “My favourite spot at home changes depending on the season. But what’s very cool is that we have these big windows, so loads of natural light, and because there are several tall buildings around with reflective windows, we sometimes get to see the sunset five times a day. Not everyone can say that!”

What’s your favourite object at home?

K: “My house is maybe a little homier and restful than Maurik’s, because of course he’s an artist and that comes out in his interior. But I have hung up a hammock where I can totally chill out!”

M: “In my place I haven’t got a hammock but a dining table hanging from the ceiling – that’s one of my earlier projects, haha. So, that’s pretty unusual. I also made some of the furniture myself. My workshop is on the floor between mine and Klaartje’s, so it’s not so odd that my work sort of spills over into my home.”

Written by Rob Ittmann
Frontrunner
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