Earlier in the week I mentioned that our new house was a murermester villa. As this was a new kind of architecture to us when we started looking at houses, I thought I’d talk a bit about what this kind of house is and about the history.Typically murermester villas were built between 1915 and 1930 and were the first example of a standard designed house. They were built for middle class families in residential areas in a ring around major cities in Denmark. In Copenhagen they are mostly in Vanløse, Brønshøj, Hvidovre, Lyngby and parts of Amager.
The design was a reaction by architects to the style confusion which had dominated the late 19th century and a group of Danish architects initiated various measures to promote the construction of good yet simple classic family houses.
Typically they were built over three floors with the ground floor arrange into four equal sections – one for the kitchen and pantry (at the back of the house), one for the entryway and stairs and the other two for living rooms one of which would have a bay window or way out to the front garden. The first floor would contain fewer rooms as they would be under the roof and there would be a full basement for storage. They would have been originally built without an inside bathroom or toilet. There would have been an outside toilet.
Gardens, which previously would have been for the wealthy, were an important element, especially one at the front of the house behind a picket fence so passersby could admire both the house and garden.
The original aim of a strong and robust home was one that has been borne out by time. These types of houses are still very popular with middle class families now but due to the small nature of the top floor most now have converted basement with some living space in them. They are difficult to extend outwards and in some cases the exterior of the house is protected from being altered.