I am back with another house tour! We had a wave of visitors over the past months so I took a little break from the blog and from my art. But in an attempt to get back on track, I am parked here at Chummy Leiden with an Iced Americano and a delicious carrot cake. Also I apologize for the lack of decent photos on this one. I took them sort of on the fly and they deserved a bit more thought, as well as an exterior photo because they live on a super cute street with shops and cafes aplenty.
Matt and Stacy bought this perfect flat in Haarlem recently and had it totally gutted and remodeled. Living the dream!! These two actually moved here from Portland a couple of years before us…little did they know we were hot on their trail. Like us, they opted to bring a lot of their belongings with them…including their lovely American King sized bed and siiiiick leather couch of which I am very jealous. But seriously, if we only had the option to bring one item with us, it would have been our bed.
A main feature of the home are the huge windows in the lounge. Gorgeous light and a great view of the quintessential and bustling neighborhood below. In fact, when I asked Stacy what the most gezellig spot in her home is, here is what she had to say about it.
“If I have to narrow it to one spot, I’d have to say the couch. It’s not the prettiest or most sophisticated couch, but it’s so comfortable! It’s the perfect nest to curl up with a book or the laptop, and we get such great light from the living room windows. We’re close enough to the St. Bavokerk in the square to hear the bells, which feels so uniquely European to me. It’s a constant reminder of how lucky we are to be here.”
I hear you! I have that feeling oddly enough every time I hear a siren. It reminds me that I am not in America anymore. Speaking of being in Europe, one thing I have obsessed about since we moved are all the gorgeous bathrooms here. It seems very common to have lovely walk in showers and separate toilet rooms that make me feel like i’m in a lux hotel. Matt and Stacy’s bathroom is one of my favorites i’ve seen here. The excellent use of space and modern minimal features are so lush. When you walk in, double sinks line the wall on the left, and if you turn the corner to the right, is the lovely sized walk in shower. There is also additional storage and a separate toilet room to boot.
As the home has a brand new interior, there is not much that can be considered “typically Dutch”. However, Matt and Stacy feel the bathroom is the most “Dutch” part of their new home, and I agree! “When we first moved to the Netherlands and we were looking for apartments to rent, we found the separate toilet very strange. It seemed like such a waste of space in a already tight floor plan. However, three years on and we’ve completely come around. When we bought this apartment, the toilet and bathroom were all one room, and it felt so wrong. The first thing we discussed with the designer was how to get a separate toilet room again.”
I also really appreciate the design of the bedroom. It’s so “grown up” and I love the feel of the raised platform with carpet for the bed. Note the King sized bed! Holla! Opposite the bed is a whole wall of custom built in wardrobes. Enough to make any woman swoon. I plan on being very counter Dutch culture, and having a nice wool berber carpet installed in our new master bedroom here in Leiden. <3
So the big question awaits…..how much bread do these expats living in a country of bread fanatics consume per week? “We weren’t in the habit of buying bread regularly until we moved to Haarlem, and we discovered the market stand with the fresh baked loaves. We were getting one loaf a week, but since my summer clothes mysteriously shrank over the winter, we’ve cut back to just the occasional broodje. ” Funny how that happens with clothes…I think it must be the washers and dryers here… 😛
Two thing are clear from the pictures above: these two appreciate the art of a good cup of coffee and they love dinosaurs. I think anyone who hails from Portland will likely have a similar coffee set up abroad….except us. But once we have a little more room to stretch in our kitchen, I plan on amping up our coffee game. We love the simplicity of our Nespresso machine, but it has it’s environmental downsides, and sometimes I just want a normal mug sized cup of joe. Once we have a grinder, we can also start using these great reusable pods from Hema. You know….with all that extra time we will have to make them after the baby arrives….(can you feel the sarcasm?).
So have you fallen in love with this bright, open and clean Haarlem flat yet? Matt and Stacy deserve big props for their vision and execution of their new home. Stacy shared some final thoughts on what drove their ascetic decisions. “As for style or design inspiration…We’ve always gravitated to a modern, minimalist kind of feel, but we were kind of limited by our former Portland house. It was such a great house, with so much charm and character, but modern just didn’t fit well with an Arts and Crafts style bungalow. This apartment, despite the age of the building, lacked any original features and was a perfect blank slate for our modern, minimalist aesthetic. It’s been the first place we’ve been able to make over completely to our tastes.”
Kudos guys! We love what you have done, and the home you have made for yourselves. Side story: we purchased the rad vintage TV trays from your estate sale when you moved away from Portland. We were very tempted to bring them along on our own move and give them too you as a house warming gift. Alas, in the midst of the chaos we sold them at our own garage sale 😛 Maybe they will make their way around again….