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"When it was finished, I wanted to shower with champagne"

As soon as you drive into the tiny village Balloo by way of Rolde, you immediately understand why Dineke Dunning and her husband decided to have their new home built here. The small village exudes warmth and friendliness and the beautiful landscape embraces every visitor. The village mainly has historical farms and a few houses from the ’70s of the previous century. Dineke’s modern home really stands out in the village.

The couple decided to move to Balloo when Dineke’s husband retired. ‘Balloo was at the top of our wish list. But the village is situated in a five star landscape, so it took a while for a spot to clear up.’ Finally, friends tipped them that number 57 was for sale. The couple did not hesitate and bought the house that was there before. The couple went in search of an architect who could add the necessary comfort to the outdated house. In the end, it was Arnoud Olie from B+O Architecten who recommended to tear down the house and start from the ground up.

‘Our condition was that we wanted to build sustainably.’ We didn’t want an ordinary house, but we did want a design that would fit in with the whole. We did not have many demands, as long as it became a comfortable and cozy home.’ Especially underfloor heating and large windows were on the wish list. In addition, space needed to be created for the large corner closet and the cabinet. Dineke and her husband had to camp out in a caravan for eight months during construction. ‘We parked the caravan on the grounds next to the building pit. I had no trouble with it. It was cozy and nice. I made many liters of coffee for all the workers.’

The collaboration with Arnoud Olie went well, according to Dineke. ‘Arnoud listened closely to what we wanted. He said, “This is what it could be, but you have to live there.” We made the final decision.’ In the end, it became a rural but modern single-family home, which radiates the down-to-earth and laid-back attitude of its residents. The spacious upper floor has two large bedrooms, a bathroom and an office. Dineke’s bedroom and bathroom can be found on the ground floor, in addition to the living room and the kitchen.

Through the use of cedar wood on the front and rear, the house refers to the old Drenthe farm barns. The large windows in the living room and kitchen let in lots of light and, at the same time, give a beautiful panoramic view of the back garden. There, the neighbour’s small Shetlanders keep the grass short. ‘I love working in the garden. Thankfully, the horses lend a hand. We kept the garden sleek and simple, with wooden fences and a beech hedge that runs deep into the garden. That was characteristic for the landscape back in the days.’

Different tastes
Some of the inhabitants of Balloo were not all that happy with this house, regardless of it having been built with respect to its surroundings. ‘There were people who said: “Unbelievable that this is allowed here!” Sometimes, tourists come by who think it’s a weird house. One time, someone even thought it was a church! That was probably because the windows on the upper floor are elongated and end in a tapered point. Sometimes, people get out of their cars to take a picture. The house will be in many photo albums by now.’

Unfortunately, Dineke did not enjoy the new house with her husband for a very long time. He became ill when the home was finished and passed away just before it was finally completed. ‘I didn’t find it hard to live here after he passed. After all, we did look forward to it together. I got a lot of support from my three children and the community in Balloo. I still enjoy the peace and the view and I can’t think of a more beautiful place to live.’

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