Stuck for inspiration for your next renovation project? Why not try picking a colour you like – and it’s worth mentioning here that it has to be one you really, really like – and using it as your jumping-off point, seeing how far you can take it through your designs? That’s what architects Fachwerk4 did with this very eye-catching extension project in Mayen, Germany. Extremely appropriately named The Red Box (this is such an accurate description it’s almost like you hardly need to see any photos now you’ve heard it), it’s all about making use of that most daring, romantic, hot and cool of all colours: red.
It’s immediately obvious that this house has a lot more going on with it style-wise than – almost certainly – any others in its street. We kind of don’t need to see the other houses to know that. It’s safe to say none of them have a huge crimson box attached to their flank. Part of what makes this extension so enormously appealing (apart from the simple allure of a bright colour, of course) is its sheer unexpectedness. The main house, just seen in the background of the image, is clearly a very traditional family home that has nothing remotely fancy or ostentatious about it, and yet it seems to have acquired for itself one of the most flamboyant accessories possible. It’s almost like seeing an unadventurous, suit-loving friend throw on a feather boa and declare himself a princess. It’s ballsy, and that’s a very good thing.
We can see more clearly here that the extension is slightly top-heavy, with that brazen red upper storey, perhaps quite naturally, dominating proceedings. This image also gives us a better look at the lower floor and the fabulous, full-wall sliding doors that make it seem almost a part of the garden.
Inside, we begin to get the sense that the commitment to the colour red is going to be a fairly comprehensive one. Pale flooring and muted walls help keep things otherwise neutral, preventing the overbearing cacophony of colours that can so easily happen when working with a very bold statement shade and forgetting that the other shades need to be turned down for contrast.
This statement wall is subtly striped in uneven widths, providing a gently clashing background for the piece of red (of course) artwork that consists solely of stripes going the other way.
The red theme continues, in varying degrees of subtlety. Even leaving small, hardly noticeable items in your chosen feature colour here and there can help create a subtle sense of decorative cohesiveness throughout a space. Consider, for example, using single dried flowers or – in the kitchen – just a couple of coloured jars and glasses on display among the others.
Upstairs, red takes a rest, appearing only on the mattress on the bed at the left-hand side of the picture. After all the hard work it’s done elsewhere in the extension, however, this is more than enough to reassert its authority. On a rather unrelated note, notice how perfectly suited tis lovely, symmetrical room is for housing two competitive children.