See how this turn-of-the-century farmhouse has been updated for today without losing any of its historical charm.
See how these homeowners honored their turn-of-the-century farmhouse’s history while personalizing it for today.
When your home
is more than 100 years old, it can be overwhelming to tackle a remodel.
But for Frieda Dorresteijn and her husband, Jan, the agenda was clear: Honor the home’s history, but personalize it for today. It helps that Frieda is organized, pragmatic and artistic. By day she’s a business analyst, and in between work she runs her own interior design business, holds workshops, restores furniture and gives tailored interior consultations. And in her spare time, she is always busy working on her farmhouse, updating it and making it even more beautiful.
“During the week we live in the kitchen, where
loveseat the is my
favorite spot, with the glimpse into the living room
and the views of the meadows on the side and
back of the farm.”
KEEPING THE HISTORICAL CHARM
“Eleven years ago, Jan’s parents asked their children if one of them wanted to take over their house,” Frieda says. “Jan and I were the only ones who seemed up for the challenge and liked the idea of living out of the city, so we moved into the old farm.”
Built in 1892, the farm had a layout traditional for its time. Most of the rooms were smaller and walled off from the rest of the spaces. Of course, the inner workings of the home were badly in need of upgrading too. Outdated electrical and spotty plumbing were tolerable when the house was used mostly as a summer getaway. But for a full-time residence, Frieda and Jan needed more.
The couple decided to move in with lots of work still left to do. The first year the family lived in three tiny rooms in the front of the farmhouse. “We were busy dismantling and rebuilding the house for a whole year. Family and friends helped with major projects; all the other work we did ourselves. An immense job, but with a fantastic result.” And “fantastic” is not too strong a word— you just have to walk around to appreciate the now more open-plan rooms and lighter and brighter feel.
By living in the space, Frieda and Jan were able to better understand how to reimagine it. They transformed the former cow stables into a lovely kitchen area, which they designed themselves. The kitchen offers the young family enough surface for a big dining table including chairs, an old covered bench and a cozy loveseat. “During the week we live in the kitchen, where the loveseat is my favorite spot, with the glimpse into the living room and the views of the meadows on the side and back of the farm.”
STILL LIFE. Inspired by Dutch and Flemish style, Frieda designed the living room to feel elegant, earthy and not too fussy. Jan and his brother laid the solid oak floor, bleaching it to create a worn and rubbed look.
PAINT UPDATE. Frieda repainted this vintage roll-top desk all white for a crisp and clean look that pops against the dark-colored walls.
CLEAN SLATE. The couple chose a honed slate tile for the flooring in the kitchen and dining room. This adds a European farm feel and is easier to maintain out in the countryside. They also kept the arched design for the doors and windows that were original to the farm stables. Leaving them smaller scale keeps the historical look intact.
BELGIAN BEAUTY. Frieda loves the pared down look of Belgian style. In the dining room she paired a simple farm table with richly upholstered armchairs. On the opposite side, a tufted settee mixes up the vibe. The crystal chandelier adds the final elegant touch.
The couple kept the pine beams from the old barn exposed as a reminder of the space’s original use as a cow stable. The new kitchen island tucks neatly beside one.