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Interiors

A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands

by Lauren Chorpening

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

A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands | Design*Sponge
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Tip and Michael's 1896 Dutch home is modern, eclectic and playful.
A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands | Design*Sponge
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"We put in bookshelves to semi-insulate our one-brick-thick walls at the front of the house and [I] am pleased with how it turned out," says Tip.
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"The kids manage the mantel and their play table is next to it," says Tip. "One of my life's motto is 'no regrets,' which sounds even better in French and reminds me of Edith Piaf singing."
A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands | Design*Sponge
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The contrast of the bright white walls, fixtures and furniture with the dark, eclectic accents gives the entire living space interest. The Australian print and pieces picked up from Tip and Michael's travels makes this display shelf in their living room sweet and sentimental.
A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands | Design*Sponge
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"The living room was renovated and the builder put the doors in the wrong place, so we have three doors on one side and a fireplace on the other, which makes furnishing it quite a challenge," says Tip.
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"We moved in just before the financial crisis/crash in late 2008 - I was pregnant with my son at the time. I usually like to live somewhere for a while before I do too much but now, in hindsight, we probably should've done some things straight away, because renovating with two little kids is a nightmare," says Tip. This area is an extra eating space when the conservatory is dark and gloomy.
A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands | Design*Sponge
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Tip and Michael's entryway console is a beloved feature in their home. "I love the painting - it's my bit of water for good feng shui but I also love it because it was painted by a wonderful friend in Melbourne, Jacqueline Tiepermann, whose energy comes through her work," says Tip.
A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands | Design*Sponge
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"I love things that are both functional and beautiful and I think these candlesticks work as a sculptural piece even when not in use."
A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands | Design*Sponge
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Tip and Michael searched specifically for Dutch builders that could give them a conservatory-style kitchen. "[It's] my favorite space as there's still light even on a cold, wet and grey day. When it's dry and warm, we push open all the doors and it's like we're outside!"
A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands | Design*Sponge
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The kitchen is essentially a garden. Tip's herbs are right next to her kitchen prep area.
A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands | Design*Sponge
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"Unfortunately, for many many reasons, a three-week reno took three months - living with only the fridge in the living room and a 2-hob electric stove and microwave as our kitchen was a bit of a challenge to say the least. Three months of washing dishes in the first floor bath - ugh. BUT, I do love our kitchen these days and it's the place we spend the most of our time, so it was all worth it - in the end," says Tip.
A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands | Design*Sponge
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Their modern kitchen is efficient and beautiful. The fixtures are sleek but the details have some eclectic personality.
A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands | Design*Sponge
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Tip and Michael's dark bedroom is still cozy and inviting with the beadboard ceiling and warm wood tones.
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Tip and Michael plan to renovate the attic into a master suite and then have one of the children move into this space.
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The bathroom isn't original to the house but the subway tiles and clawfoot tub give it some historical personality.
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"[The bathroom] used to be pink but that was a bit much for me so I painted it grey with leftover outdoor paint after I painted the back wall of the garden," says Tip.
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This is the kids' temporary bedroom until the attic is renovated. The black and white palette, graphic rug and iron beds make this minimal room fun for Esther and Alexander.
A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands | Design*Sponge
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Esther and Alexander's toy storage.
A Renovated 1890s Terrace House in The Netherlands | Design*Sponge
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"This is my cargobike and how I travel with kids, groceries, moving props or when I buy secondhand furniture," says Tip.
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Michael, Alexander, Esther and Tip in their open conservatory.
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