I watch my fair share of home-improvement shows. I’m excited to own a home some day – hopefully a 1930s craftsman bungalow – but watching these shows has opened me up to the realities and stresses of renovations. Some issues you can expect and some seem to come out of nowhere. Tip and Michael looked at over 150 places (while living in Australia) before they found their terraced house in Utrecht, The Netherlands. They knew it would need some work and creativity to make it their own, but didn’t know all that would be involved.
Tip Atkins Moore, a teacher, blogger and creative adviser, and Michael, a sustainable IT professional and lecturer, found this 1896 home almost seven years ago after a long search. “It was a lot cheaper as nothing had been done to it for 20 years and I was up for something I could put my stamp on (silly, in hindsight, with a child under 2 and another on the way!). There was a lot to fix but [it] had good bones and some lovely, old features,” Tip says. “The largest challenge with a lot of these older homes, even though the character is fantastic, is that they were built without a kitchen or a bathroom, so finding the space for these things while still having enough room for a modern family is hard.” Unexpected challenges — like woodworm, cracked sewage pipes and having their three-week kitchen remodel turn into three months — came up within the first year of living there, but the family has seen their home through those issues and are settled in to their beautiful space.
Looking at Tip and Michael’s bright, gorgeous home, you’d never know it was in such bad shape before they got their hands on it. “I wanted to create a home that served the needs of a family with kids and could grow with us and our needs. It had to be cozy, fun and inviting because we also love to entertain guests,” Tip says. “There is still a lot left to work on to get the house up to par in terms of modern standards, so we are doing it bit by bit, as we manage to save enough money. We love our home, though, and while there are nice-to-haves on the wishlist, we live here happily and comfortably.” This Dutch home has been a labor of love and can finally provide Tip and her family with everything they need to live. —Lauren