Renovating a monument in the centre of Haarlem

We bought this property in 2016. The house is located in the centre of Haarlem, a beautiful place to live. The building is a monument from early 17th century. Given our Australian background, we wanted something typically Dutch and decided to buy this house as an investment property.


As you can see, the house has a huge ceiling with the original beams and rafters dating back to the 17th century. I wanted to create a design with a wink to the past, keep it simple but still make it a bit special. Combining my love of vintage and industrial interior design I redecorated and renovated the entire house. I have searched high and low for the right interior items that would suit this home.

The pew at the dining table came from an old monastery. I thought that was a good fit with the history of the house (an old Christian orphanage). I refurbished it to match the vintage industrial table and chairs which I found through classifieds. The massive, heavy, green steel factory leg makes the table look super sturdy, and you can easily sit on it with 6 people.


Another piece of furniture I absolutely adore is this cabinet of an old corner shop. I found it at the markets, it got a makeover and was placed in the living room. A gorgeous cabinet with an awful lot of storage space. The seating area is all about comfort. I prefer to combine with texture rather than colour to create interesting layers. An oversized vintage rug brings warmth to the room.


I made the bedside tables in the bedroom myself (the observant follower probably recognises them because they also ended up in my current home, and have since died thanks to woodworm!). The wooden top comes from office lockers that used to have punching address cards. I had bottoms put in it and added the legs. I added the leather grips to combine some more natural material. I found these elements for the cabinets in the Vintage Factory in Haarlem.


Because this house dates back to the 17th century, electrics left a little too desired. In order not to too many wires, I chose these hanging lamps as night lights I made these with Daily Living.


In my opinion, you’re most successful as a designer when people completely unwind in a space, feel the wow effect, but they can’t exactly put their finger on it as to why. Because it's all in the details and how elements work together - not necessarily the grand gestures and it’s most definitely not about how much money you’ve spent.

The attic was completely renovated with two new dormers and a number of the original rafters had to removed. I reused them as bookshelves, which add a something special to the space.
The study used to be a bedroom with storage space and a washing machine. We separated it out to make it a study and a separate laundry. The desk in the study is an old vintage frame of a hospital bed, with a vintage wooden surface. I added a simple desk chair and that completed the study. Simple yet warm.


The hallway on the first floor was narrow with doors opening into it. I replaced the doors with sliding loft doors for practicality reasons and to add some vintage industrial interest.


We rent out this little piece of history. Are you interested, and want to know when it’s vacant again, just send me an email.

Photos by Tomas Lim.