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Former Netherlands Museum Returns as Sleek Apartments

Here now, Past Lives, in which Curbed explores what some of the country's most interesting residential buildings used to be before they became what they are today. Care to suggest a building with a fascinating past life? Do drop us a line.

Though miraculous transformations have at this point proven that just about any space ever—power houses, breweries, even chocolate factories—have hidden residential potential, it must be said that this museum-turned-apartment building in Rotterdam lacks any and all traces of its formerly austere, untouchable, and, well, museum-y self. Once called the Kralings Museum the luxury apartment building now goes by the name Casa K thanks to Rotterdam-based studio Peña Architecture. Because the three-story building sits on one of the oldest streets in town, the city's preservation requirements served as the biggest design obstacle, particularly in what could and couldn't be done to "to turn the windowless basement and ground floor into one unified space," explain the architects.

Ultimately, the team decided to create three large apartments—the bottom one taking up both the ground floor and the basement—all connected via an elevator and a shared entryway. For that troublesome ground floor space, a dramatic walnut, glass-sided staircase ("a walnut wooden cube") connects the two floors, providing both a unifying element and an open source of light for the windowless space. Each of the apartments, though, share the same cool, rather effortless mix of comfortable furnishings and interesting art pieces—no doubt a nod to the building's previous incarnation. The white paint and contrasting dark appliances, lighting fixtures, and stained-wood bookshelves were a collaboration between the architects and the tenants, and further add to the homes' sleek new look. My Modern Met has the full story, right this way.

· Former Museum in Rotterdam Transformed Into Luxury Home [My Modern Met]
· Reallocation of museum to house [Pena Architecture]
· Pena architecture converts museum to luxury apartment Casa K [Design Boom]
· All Past Lives coverage [Curbed National]