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We are happy that we've built something special

Exciting, dynamic and quirky are the appropriate characteristics of Martin and Hennita Schoonheim’s house. By using dark-grey bricks and the choice for a zinc roof, the design stands out from other houses in the new development district Erflanden in Hoogeveen. No side of the house is the same and right angles are interspersed with flowing shapes. Hennita Schoonheim and her husband took up the challenge to build a non-standard house in 2004.

‘The lot that we bought has the shape of a slice of pie, making it very hard to fill in yourself. We had no idea what we could do with it, so we decided to find an architect’, Hennita says. After a while, the couple found Arnoud Olie and they clicked right away. ‘Arnoud was very enthusiastic and asked us how we lived and what drove us. Then, he came with ideas and finally started sketching. He made sure that the house fits our lifestyle.’

That lifestyle demanded one large space in which all functions would be connected to each other. The living area is open and transparent due to the ample use of glass, giving an overview of the entire downstairs floor. ‘I like that when friends come over for dinner, we can still talk to each other while cooking. It doesn’t matter whether they are sitting on the couch or at the table.’

An office has been set up on the loft. ‘In our previous home, we had set up an office above the garage, but then you’re very secluded. From the loft, it’s easy to talk to each other, which is a lot more social.’ The house has been decorated in a sleek and modern style, yet still offers a lot of warmth and ambiance.

Warm and open
The wooden beams on the ceiling in the living room give a warm touch to the grey and white tones on the walls and floor. The large glass walls ensure a lot of light and give a view of the back garden and patio. The patio is ’embraced’ by a round wall and has a secluded feeling. Through the front door, you step into a long hall, the walls of which are completely made of glass on one side. The white walls come alive with numerous paintings, giving the space a gallery-like appearance. Three bedrooms and two bathrooms are adjacent to the hallway. In the middle, there’s the staircase to the upper floor, where a guest room and laundry room have been set up. The driveway and carport, with an adjacent garage, are at the east side of the house.

The decor has been completely tailored to the design of the home. ‘Arnoud told us: ‘Go live there first, and think about how you want to decorate it.’ We followed his advice and didn’t get new furniture until we had been living there for a year. The house demands peace and space, so we didn’t over-decorate it.’

The home is everything they wished for. Still, family and friends were concerned about the design. ‘When our friends and family saw the scale model for the first time, they needed a minute. They asked us if we were certain and were up for it. But most of them think it has turned out nicely. Strangers are very curious as well. A lot of people drive by the house on Sundays, admiring it. Some ring the doorbell because they want to take a look inside. We don’t mind this at all and want to encourage people to build something special as well. We recommend everyone to have their home designed, because that’s the only way that you will get something that really fits you and is unique. This only promotes the diversity in a residential area.’

The residents of the Hoogeveen municipality also appreciated the design. The house won the Jan Carmiggelt public award for new buildings in the municipality in 2008. The Hoogeveense Architecture award is rewarded every five years. Hennita was pleased with the positive reactions from the voters. ‘It was very nice to receive so much recognition and appreciation. We are proud of our home and it is amazing living here.’ However, she does not know if she will live in the house forever. ‘Martin and I really liked the designing and building process and we would like to do it again sometime. But right now, we are enjoying this home. It is really nice to come home here.’

For more information, visit the project page.