Name: Franca, Thom, and their dogs Herman and Truusje
Location: Nuenen, The Netherlands
Size: 1,775 square feet (including the third/attic floor, not shown)
Years lived in: 23 years, owned
The town of Nuenen in the south of the Netherlands may have a familiar ring to art lovers. It's where Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh lived for a couple of years in the period when he created his famous "The Potato Eaters." It's also where Franca and her husband Thom live together with their dogs Herman and Truusje. Even more amazing than the famous artist connection? This is the home of two people with very different interior design preferences compromising to create a unique home!
While Thom has a predilection for a modern look, Franca is inclined towards a romantic style. She chuckles, "If it were solely up to me, I just might go full-blown Laura Ashley!" This conflict in taste could have been problematic, but instead an elegant and vibrant style emerged. The couple's home is a pleasant mix of clean design with bright and colorful details. Since they've also had a home in Switzerland and still own an apartment in Hungary, various furniture pieces and accessories have a story to tell, too.
Over the course of living in this home for 23 years, circumstances have inevitably changed. Their two adult sons are now living on their own and the house has undergone various transformations to adapt to new situations and wishes.
For instance: when the former floor tiles had to be replaced, the addition of their two big dogs (a Rottweiler and a Belgian Shepherd) played a crucial part in the decision-making. The floor needed to be sturdy and easy to maintain. Franca nearly succumbed to opting for a pretty but more delicate floor. In hindsight she's very happy they chose the current tiles. With fur balls (often accompanied by a slew of sand and mud) you don't have the luxury to be prissy about your floor!
A home is always evolving and it's nice to see how this development is comparable to a good relationship. A place where the best of two worlds intermingle. A place where two individuals can both thrive and feel fully comfortable. And in Thom and Franca's case, still manage to look mighty good.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Modern romantic with a hint of country
Inspiration: The kitchen maker who custom-built their kitchen; he had such great ideas. Browsing online shops, but also brick and mortar stores. Interior magazines.
Favorite Element: The kitchen and the dining room table. There's so much light!
Biggest Challenge: Extending the house was rather testing. But we're very happy with the result, so it was worthwhile.
What Friends Say: They particularly like the result of the renovation/extension: "it's so much bigger and nicer!" In Dutch there's the word "gezellig," reminiscent of the Danish word "hygge" (roughly meaning "warm and cozy," though there's no real English equivalent for it). Friends find the home gezellig, especially when sipping tea and chatting at the dining room table.
Biggest Embarrassment: An embarrassment would be too big a word, but the toilet could've been bigger. It's functional as is, but just a tad larger would feel like quite a difference.
Proudest DIY: The garden, though it's definitely still a work-in-progress.
Biggest Indulgence: The custom-built kitchen. It's not only pretty and practical, but also takes into account Thom's over 6'5" frame.
Best Advice: Follow your heart: You need to feel at home above all. Take your time when choosing large surfaces like floors or walls. They tend to stand out and, in the case of one's floor, they'll last a while and are usually more laborious to replace.
Dream Sources: Loods 5. Franca is contemplating a tropical garden and is inspired by various local garden centers.
Standing clock — gifted by friends from Limburg (most southern province of the Netherlands)
Orange armchairs — Leolux
Colorful painting — Brigitte Gessner
Black armchair — DREIPUNKT International
Sofa — DREIPUNKT International
Ceramic teapot and vase — Kunst & Ko
Tiffany stained glass table lamp — bought in Hungary
Floor vase — Intratuin
Coffee tables on wheels — custom-made by Henry Engels
Orange plate with flower arrangement — Trienke Reitsma Bloemsierkunst
Two "Women" sculptures — Wereldwinkel
Floor vase with decorative branches — Pfister