Tag Archives: porch

How to make something out of nothing


The other day my husband and I were walking in the Achterhoek, an area in the East of the Netherlands. It’s very green there with many woods and fields. At one point we reached a little open spot in the middle of the woods with a house tucked away in the corner.  The house had the best views of sloping maddows, a bit of a hill and off course the woods. It was for sale.

We are not looking to move anytime soon but one can have dreams right? I poked my hubby in the side and said “wouldn’t that make a dream home?” He shrugged a bit and said the house looked a bit too boring. Granted; the house is not spectacular, but I was hoping he could look past that and spot the potential.  We argued a bit as I am really bad with people not agreeing with my taste and I pointed out a few of the possibilities. You can paint the house white, add a porch, redo the garden, maybe even add a conservatory. Somehow he was not convinced.

I thought I’d try to show him, and others among you who might not be able to see through things, what magic a lick of paint and a few personal touches here and there can do.

Let’s take this rather dull house for example.

Dull house, lovely location

Dull house, lovely location

On the market for ‘just’ € 472.500, andlocated in the very heart of the Netherlands, in Wilnis. This small town is a mere 15 minutes drive from our capitol Amsterdam and about the same distance from another large city; Utrecht. It has wonderful views to both the back and front, a large and deep garden, a garage and plenty of room for extensions to both the front and the back of the house. As it is there are three bedrooms, one downstairs, a wash room, a large and sunny living room, a kitchen, a garage and plenty of storage. But we’ll start with the exterior.

Let’s see what happens when we paint the brick walls white, the woodwork black or dark blue, add a porch, a dormer and make it spring (God bless Microsoft’s Paint tools!) We need to get rid of those ugly wintergreen trees and bushes. They are by no means indigenous to the area and look out of tone in this anything but woodland surroundings.

Same house, same location

Same house, same location

My photo editing skills are limited, but I’d say this is a dramatic change. Don’t you agree?

This could do magic if you want to flip the house too!

It would be such a great challenge to actually do this in real live. I am going to try to redo the back of th house too and show the results here. Maybe I’ll even have a go at the garden!

Here the back and the garden as they are now. Let me think what you would do or change!

Back of the house

Back of the house

I think two classical double doors would make a good start. Maybe a conservatory?

The garden

The garden

 

This is the garden as seen from right by the end of the garage. It has so much potential!

*Sigh* one day……….

UPDATE: To see altered photographs of the back, check here!

Advertisements

Americans know their houses


Somehow everything seems bigger in the States. Often this is in fact the case with the portions of food, the ants, the flags, the cars and very often the people. But with houses it is not neccessarily the case. However, the floor plans of American homes tend to be more clever, more convenient. Even the tiniest homes have two bathrooms or an extra room to watch TV. Also, what we lack in storage in most houses here in the Netherlands, they make up for.. and then some.

Online you can find amazing sites where you can download floor plans to look at and be jealous about. I put one site, this one, to the test.

I pretend to be a husband and father of two looking for a two story 3 bedroom house with two bathrooms. One for the kids, and one for me and my lovely wife Gayle (hey, even gay guys dream of white picket fences everynow and then!). We don’t need a very big house, so we look for a detached house of anything up to 1600 square feet which is about 150m2. In the Netherlands, that is considered a nice and spacious house. In the States is is actually considered small to average. Off course we have a dog so we need a separate laundry room or storage room with direct acces to outside. I am a straight guy in this story, so I like to set things on fire, a fireplace is no luxury. Because we bought a plot with a lovely view towards the front we want a porch in the front of the house for wine and romance on summer nights. Because it hardly ever rains where we live, I don’t need a garage, but if the plans happens to have one, we wouldn’t mind.

Mmm, sounds like a nice house!

Let’s see what the site comes back with…

I like the way this house looks…

courtesy of eplans.com

courtesy of eplans.com

I love the big porch in the front, and the double garage should make for plenty of storage. In future maybe the entire garage or part of it can be converted into a granny-annex or game room or study.
The floor plan however gives less reason for cheers…
courtesy of eplans.com

courtesy of eplans.com

There are two bedrooms with a seperate bathroom upstairs. That would be the kids rooms. Downstairs however a rather small living room and dining room in one means you be on each others nerves the whole time. I guess one could break through the wall between the garage and the living room, but our little pretend family does not have the funds for that now, so… moving on.

I also like this house, it’s very Victorian almost.

courtesy of eplans.com

courtesy of eplans.com

The floor plans give me and Gayle much to cheer about this time. It has a separate dining room, a breakfast nook, a large living room with firepace and two porches of which one partially screened. Upstairs, there are two bedrooms, one designed to be the master bedroom. However, Gayle and I can sleep downstairs and the kids can take the rooms upstairs.

courtesy of eplans.com

courtesy of eplans.com

I just noticed one negative aspect… guests will have to use our master bedroom bathroom to pee as there is no separate toilet….. Mmmm, that actually is not a very pleasant idea…
Moving on again…….Gosh, I though this would be easier…
But then, not a drawing but a bright and sunny picture, of what could very well be our next house!
courtesy of eplans.com

courtesy of eplans.com

It’s lovely isn’t it? And guess what? So are the floor plans!
courtesy of eplans.com

courtesy of eplans.com

courtesy of eplans.com

courtesy of eplans.com

The den downstairs will easily double as a TV room for the kids so Gayle and I don’t have to watch Spongebob all the time. Furthermore, when we have guests they can stay in that room as we will put a sofa bed in there that will fold out to a large queen size bed.  They will have to use the bathroom upstairs, but that shouldn’t be a problem. The master bedroom has a walk-in closet for Gayles shoes and dresses. The room itself is big enough for a cosy little sitting arrangement at the foot of the bed. Also, I think we might be able to put in a fireplace as the chimney goes right through the room.

So far for pretending. I am happy with my own beau and my wonderful two story apartment in Amsterdam.