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"House of Fun": How Sam Reich restored his famous grandfather's house

You say your grandfather implemented many unusual architectural ideas in this house. Which do you find the most successful?

Well, I really like the gallery. Tibor always drew there. When we revived his company, I was also up there to sift through the archive material. There is something. I also think the fireplace is fantastic - it wasn't originally intended as a compliment, but we now sometimes call it “the burning onion” ourselves. And I really like that my grandfather installed so many windows here in places where you would not expect them to be. Through them you can see from one room to the other, which opens up many amazing connections and lines of sight.

What other features are there, would you describe some of them to us?

For example, Tibor built a shelf in the wall at the entrance that can be rotated around its vertical axis for the milk that was delivered every morning. Only Gerrit Rietveld had previously done something similar in his famous Schröder house in Utrecht, but in this case as a mailbox. To present his fabric designs, glass tiles and ceramics to special guests, he used light boxes, which was pretty avant-garde in a private house in the fifties. And instead of a refrigerator, my grandparents had shelves cooled by special units. At that time they were also rare.

The paneling in the five-meter-high living room was able to be kept in its original condition during the restoration, the side table and chest of drawers are vintage from the 50s, the orange-colored armchair in Arcana style was reupholstered with the “Princess” fabric. The pendant lamp by Troughton & Young has also been newly made according to the old design. (Photo: Rachael Smith / Living Inside)

How many rooms does the house have? And who created the unusual garden?

There are ten rooms, plus utility rooms, the kitchen and the two bathrooms. Tibor also designed the garden. He didn't just plant the many trees out of consideration for the neighbors (laughs). He had an exotic landscape garden in mind, like the houses in Los Angeles. Incidentally, he was also guided by this idea when it came to the interior. He and his wife Freda were cosmopolitans, no doubt about it.

Your parents restored the house two years ago. Did you have to make a lot of changes in the process? It still looks like one piece.

Most of it was still in such good condition that we were able to get the original. However, we have rebuilt the chimney. And my father had new concrete floors installed; unlike my grandfather, he is more of a supporter of strict minimalism à la John Pawson. That's why most of the walls are now painted white. Tibor had used various colors for this, red, blue, green and pink. It was, if you will, also a forerunner of maximalism, which is so en vogue again today.

Tibor Reich, together with Lucienne Day and Mary White, is not for nothing as the designer who drove the dreary post-war England out of beige and brown and gave it strong, bright colors ...

That is true, and we have tried to translate that into the present. The fabrics from his archive and those that we are now reweaving helped us a lot. The curtains, the carpets, the covers for the armchairs and sofas are also there to remind us of Tibor and his wife Freda. Built for a family of six, this home has always been very much alive. And it worked best when there were lots of people in it. My grandparents had great parties here. It was a real fun house.