House Tour: Ruth's Top Floor

Amsterdam

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Name: Ruth
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Rent or own: Rent
Size: 700 sq/ft including mezzanine

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Ruth was standing on a street corner in Manhattan several years ago when it hit her that she'd rather be in Amsterdam. So she left New York behind and moved herself to Amsterdam, finally settling in a charming two-level top-floor apartment in a former 14th-century women's cloister. What is now a rent-controlled, women-only residence is located off a busy street in the center of Amsterdam. You actually walk down to medieval street level to enter the beautifully landscaped grounds. But it's quite a steep climb to Ruth's top floor apartment...

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"It's a wonderful place to read and think," says Ruth, looking out at the 300-year-old tree outside the window of the main room, where she works from home.

The flats were renovated in the 1980s, with new kitchens and bathrooms but strict period-appropriate details like the mustardy paint color of the original interior beams. Ruth furnished the place simply with things found on the street or in flea markets around town. Upstairs in her bedroom, with its cozy steeple-shaped ceiling, her cat sleeps in a spot of sun on the bed and a reading chair sits in the corner. She has added storage for her large collection of CDs.

Downstairs, Ruth has foregone a couch, installing a narrow wooden bench beneath the window instead. "It took me five years to figure out what to put there," Ruth says. "I love the simplicity of it."

- Kristin Hohenadel blogging from rue Vieille du Temple, Paris, France. If you have an idea for a European house tour, please write to Kristin at kristin @ apartmenttherapy . com

This post originally ran October 15, 2007

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