We have officially been here for just over two months, and already have had multiple visitors with another couple of friends from Bristol arriving this Sunday! What fun its been! My poor blog has been neglected however, but I have a few updates lined up for you. And now…may I introduce my next home tour. This home is in progress as it happens to be my own! Some rooms are not even close to being photo ready, and we are missing certain items such as light fixtures but I wanted to share the progress nontheless.
It has been really fun using my furniture and decor from Portland in new ways here. I painted the house very neutral and unobtrusive colors, which affords me the freedom to layer patterns and fabrics – as I so love to do. Here is my new pannekoeken plant atop the once black coffee table I sanded down and stained in Portland, a Native American rug purchased at Goodwill (a chain of kringloopwinkels), and under that my white cowhide rug. <3
Our Ikea couch made a nice home in our new lounge, along with the watercolor I painted of Django and the poor little hanging plant that I haven’t yet found a home for. The ceilings in this house are made out of concrete and metal it seems and are almost impenetrable by machines known to man (or purchasable at a hardware store).
I feel as though the lounge and dining room area are the most gezzelig in the house so far. It is the heart of our home and we do most of our living here. Despite the fact that I am missing my American sized kitchen (which was actually a very small kitchen for American standards), it creates a really lovely atmosphere as the kitchen, dining and living room are all in one medium sized space. We managed to host 4 children, 1 dog, and 10 adults in this space just last Saturday morning for Piet’s birthday.
We brought our newly made Big Leaf Maple dining room table with us – in fact I am working at it right now. The kitchen is a work in progress but it is getting close. Installing the hanging rack for my pots and pans made a huge difference. I felt as if I was going to have to get rid of half our kitchen items before that. If you are ever lacking in kitchen or utility room space, these hanging racks from Ikea are a super efficient way to store items. In fact, I have to say that Ikea makes a lot more sense living in Europe where spaces are much smaller and you don’t really have much in the way of closets. We lucked out with one closet on the ground floor which contains our washing machine, cat litter box, cleaning supplies, and a large bin of dog food. We have the same sized closet on the top floor which we made into a “step-in” closet for our clothes and bathroom supplies.
One thing I love about Dutch homes is that there always seems to be an entrance hallway or small space to hang coats and take your shoes off. This is something I really looked forward to having as the front door in our Portland home opened right into the living space with no buffer at all. Here in Leiden I stumbled upon an antique store in an alleyway and fell in love with this white coat rack. It finally inspired a vision for the entryway, and I went right out and bought some accent paint and got to work. The kitchen / living room is actually up the stairs and on the 1st floor (or 2nd floor if you are speaking American English), so it is nice having the ground floor as a buffer before you go upstairs to the lounge or bedrooms.
Unpictured here is the large room at the end of the hallway on the ground floor. This will be our “family room”, which in America is usually the room containing the TV where the family hangs out and watches movies or plays games. That is a very un-Dutch concept for a room, but Piet and I both love watching movies and playing video games. We also don’t have children, so its something we have time to do together. I digress. The room is currently a staging area where all the stuff we haven’t found a place for yet is piled up. *sigh*
After sleeping on a firm Ikea mattress for the first six weeks, I can not tell you how overjoyed we were to receive our beloved bed. To this date Piet and I agree that is was the best purchase we have ever made – even better than when we bought our house! If you are an adult and you have the means, or the ability to save up. Do yourself a favor and buy a really nice mattress and don’t forget the mattress cover! You’re welcome.
As for the animals, despite Django’s eternally worried expression, they have both settled in beautifully. Eskimo gets enough activity gazing out windows and peeking through the tops of the two flights of stairs all day. He wanted to go outside and explore a little a first, but with other cats living in such close proximity, he seems pretty content staying indoors most days. As for Django, when he isn’t busy writing blog posts he is quite pleased to go on at least two walks a day in the beautiful Plantsoen and getting cuddles and kisses (knuffels en kusjes) from all his new family who seem to love him very much. Its a pretty good life for this cat and dog – and for Piet and I as well. xo