Wednesday, 23 May 2012

on the tourist trail- a house tour of a gentleman's farmer's residence in the Netherlands- and a missing cat

Today I would like to take you on a house tour of a country residence in the Netherlands- a sort of small trip abroad, if you like- without airmiles!
The North of Holland is mainly agricultural countryside apart from Groningen and Leewarden, two relatively big cities like the size of Bath ( in the UK.)
My mother remarried -to a farmer - that was a bit of a surprise as she is pretty arty- but she's very happy- and they moved into this house about 25 years ago. This is my mum and my step-dad some time ago.

Houses this size are not really called "farms" ( " boerderij " in Dutch )but "Heerenboerderijen"  which means "gentleman's farmer's residence"- I suppose it has to do with the size.They are normally humongeous with huge barns.To the North of the city Groningen, you will find quite a few of these houses dotted in the landscape.

The whole place consists of the main living quarters at the top, then a sort of in between part of the building which is still 4 rooms and a kitchen- where in the long lost past the servants used to live- and then the huge barns which are enormeous buildings in themselves- (there are three barns.)

Because of this split into three parts, this kind of farm-house is called ( in the Netherlands  ) a " Kop-Hals-Romp" farm- or a Head- Neck-Body farm- the head being the main living quarters, the neck the servants' quarters and the body the barns.

The main living quarters have very high ceilings and huge took a heck of a lot of fabric to get curtains for this place ! This is just one of the two living rooms, this one has a fireplace.

It has a very ingenious way of separating the two rooms so if you are with a group of people,where one group wants to sit in front of the fire- and the other group wants to watch t.v., you can draw the sliding doors to and you will have the room with the fireplace closed off from the other room.The doors run quite smoothly on rails and are very light to close but are actually made of very heavy solid wood.

You can see a bit of the wooden surround where the doors fit into on this picture here above. The fire place living room, and the main living room,plus the dining room corner form a huge room made out of three bits...

I have had some lovely festive meals in this dining mum adores fine china..
You can see here a blue and white dinner service which she had for a long time.. which was her day-to day- dinner service..I always love blue and white , don't you ?

It was very similar to Villeroy and Boche's "Vieux Luxembourg"..
But after years of use she was so short on plates as bit by bit through breakages she lost more and more of those, that she looked around for another dinner service which she now has- it's called " Aragon" and it's also from Villeroy and Boche.Sadly, discontinued, although I have found a website where you can still get parts...the link is here  
Here is some Villeroy and Boche " Aragon" to give you a bit of a feel of the's really lovely..

                                            Coffee cup and plate..

                                                             Serving plate..
                                                                 Serving dish..

Bear in mind I never lived in this house- I was already grown up and living with my then boyfriend when my mum and her new husband moved here... And I won't inherit this either.. as my step-dad had quite a large family before he met my mum, and we all have to share the inheritance- plus the house prices have dropped so much that I really don't think anything will be left when they pass on... It's quite a lovely big place but it's a bit big I think for two people- which is basically what it is- but what do I know!!

This is the kitchen- I would say about 4 times the size of a normal kitchen.I used to joke and say to my mum she should fit in 4 more tables and so be able to serve breakfast and run a bed-and -breakfast, as there are 5 bedrooms and a separate bathroom - alone upstairs ( apart from the main bed room and bathroom ) - but she never did .

This is the main bathroom which is en-suite to the main bedroom.

And here is the main bedroom- the chair in the background is standing in front of a huge walk-in cupboard.

This is the main entrance hall with the stairs leading to the first floor and the 5 extra bedrooms and bathroom..

And this is the view from the back towards the front door..

This is the view from the first floor towards the staircase.. the house is full of pictures that I painted once upon a time..

And this is one of the 5 bedrooms upstairs..

The servants quarter housed a small Lace Museum till a few years ago which my mum started and which she had for quite a few years, exhibiting her lace collection which she loves.
The garden has loads of flowering shrubs and herbaceous borders ..

and it's own canal !
It's really a great place but my mum and step-dad are really get on in years now so they are thinking of moving to somewhere smaller..

So if you have fallen in love with the Netherlands and would like to buy this place, this link here will lead you to their estate agent.

Well that's it for the tour.
I'm linking this to Tablescape Thursday

update - Tilda - the cat above - has been found safe and well...
Well it's a gorgeous day today but I have been up since 20 past five roaming the fields- I've had throat infection, scrathed cornea, and now a missing cat-it comes in threes- right? - My lovely cat Tilda has been missing since last night ( she never goes out as I have had 2 cats killed on the road here )- so please hope and pray for her safe return!! I have dropped an A4 print with a picture of Tilda on it ,in almost the whole village and put the same A4 up on the village hall notice board and lamp-postswith our phone number and a descirption of Tilda- and I may do the door to door tonight as very few people were at home- to check in neighbour's garden sheds! Wish me luck !! XOXO Bea


Deb said...

Lovely tour. I hope you find your beautiful cat. She is most likely not far from home. I would leave food and water out for her and walk, calling her name. Good luck. Hugs

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Bea,

Wow, the farmstead is so lovely, that would be great to live in. Provided you're young and healthy...
Very efficient too, with even a huge walk-in-closet. Wow, very American I would say.
As I did see this lovely Tilda picture on FB before I didn't read the entire story, till I got your email. I sure will keep my fingers crossed that she is coming home. Was she wearing a collar? Following the photo it looks like not. She could have gotten hung somewhere and stuck but let's hope she's just adventurous and taking advantage of her freedom. I've lived through this with our Spicy, the beautiful Asian cat that we brought home from Acapulco on the plane. I LOVED her and she vanished without a trace.
I pray for you girl as I know the heart aches this causes. Not good for your healing and relaxing time right now but what can you do?
A tight hug and lots of love and LUCK,

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing. I found this particularly interesting because my Grandfather and his family came over to the US from Groningen during the turn of the century,( last century I should say). Would love to visit there some day.
Also, I hope you find your cat soon. I know I would be distraught if one of mine went missing.

NanaDiana said...

Your tour here is just gorgeous. What beauty surrounds you. I am so sorry to hear that Tilda is missing. I hope you have found her by now. It is just heartbreaking to not KNOW where they are...and you feel so helpless. Saying a prayer that she comes home safe and sound- xo Diana

Maria said...

Wow! What a beautiful and unique post! I love all the information you've given us about the house. It would have been nice if you'd had an opportunity to live here, but at least you've had an opportunity to enjoy visiting! Your mom's china is lovely, too! Thank you for showing us life a little differently that we are used to.