House of Brienen, monument in Amsterdam

Herengracht 284, the van Brienen House (from 1728) has a sculptured sandstone facade with a straight cornice, above which an attic, a balustrade with a closed centrepiece, in Louis XIV style. We do not call this a raised cornice but a normal cornice gable because the centrepiece is not part of the cornice, but of the attic above it. Because of this balustrade the house seems larger than it is: there is sky behind this balustrade, apart from the middle part where the crest of the roof is.

It is a narrow house with the standard width of three windows. The middle axis is decorated and is somewhat concave, a curve which is carried through in the cornice and in the attic. To keep the symmetry (Louis XIV!) intact as much as possible in a narrow house with the door on the left, the emphasis is on the window frames in the middle, not on the entrance which is kept virtually unadorned. The symmetry has even been carried through in the two hoisting beams: only the one on the right functions. Inside the house there is as much symmetry as possible: the corridor has fake doors on the left- hand side.

The house has a stuccoed corridor, a courtyard with a large sculpture of a female and a room with wall and ceiling paintings.

This house has a 18th-century high doorstep. Doorsteps are characteristic for Amsterdam. They were built because the cellar, the basement, could not be situated too low because of the high groundwater level. A virtue was often made of a necessity: in the doorstep you often find the entrance for the staff who lived and worked in the damp basement.