When interior designer Hedda Pier and her husband, Michiel Lenstra, discovered their charming house in 2011, it had all that was significant to them space to grow as a familyroom for Pier’s house office and the capacity for a renovation. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to turn a milk shop from the 1800s using a tired rental flat above into a fantastic family residence,” Pier states. Armed with Pier’s design skills and the guts to experiment, the couple began the huge project of turning the three-story villa to a multifunctional family residence.
Creating the distance of the dreams meant a total overhaul of the original building. “You name it, we did it,” Pier states. “We stripped it down to the bare bones and then put everything back together”
“Everything we did to the house was with our family in mind and for the long run. We thought about what, from how we utilize distance, about storage, about where we’d eat and if we’d be outside,” she continues. “For me personally my house is my work. It’s my brand identity and my most prosperous experiment.”
in a Glance
Who lives here: Hedda Pier and Michiel Lenstra, and their 18-month-old daughter, Stella
Location: The Hague, the Netherlands
Size: 165 square meters (about 1,776 square feet); 4 bedrooms, 2 baths
That is intriguing: The home was a dairy shop from the start of the 19th century before the 1980s, when it was turned into a medical clinic.
Pier’s home office could be seen from the road and is the primary room to greet visitors. One of the key factors during the house search was that it might have a acceptable workspace for Pier’s interior design business, Saus Design. “We wanted something that had the possibility of creating a house office, as I’d just quit my job and was thinking of starting my own business at the time,” she states.
To create an area that would seamlessly blend both work and play, they “basically changed everything,” Pier states. They changed the design entirely, taking out the whole rear wall on the ground floor to generate space for a “live-in” kitchen, and moving the kitchen from the first into the ground floor. They also changed all the windows to double glazing, add fresh electricity and new plumbing, and added a bathroom and a bedroom. Overhead, they replaced the ceiling beams and insulated the roof.
Eames Eiffel Chair: classic; desk: Rendemint
The couple’s “live-in” kitchen is a place not only for cooking but also for social and everyday interaction. It’s all the functional aspects of a kitchen but also gives the chance for relaxing.
“The kitchen is the largest accomplishment, because everyone said it could be too dark, since there are only windows high on the walls,” Pier states. “I knew it would work, however.”
The kitchen is the center of the family’s house and the room that Pier, Lenstra and daughter Stella invest the majority of their time in. Produced by Danish firm KVIK, it features laminated cabinet fronts and a composite counter tops. Pier and Lenstra chose to keep the wall above the kitchen counter free of cupboards to keep the space open and light, one of the first things that they loved about the house.
Using its spacious design and practical seating, the space is also ideal as a meeting room for discussing projects with prospective customers.
The kitchen table is Pier’s preferred thing of furniture, since she designed it herself.
The table is surrounded by an eclectic mix of seats in most fashions. “I really like the cow-skin chairs around it because they were my first proper announcement furniture pieces,” Pier states. The Eames seats were a recent addition the couple have experienced in their wish list for a long time.
Table: Kraan Meubels; cow-skin seats: Project 99
Stella’s play area sits atop a wooden stage at the kitchen, together with storage underneath for toys and books. A miniature table and chairs and a chalkboard wall provide a canvas for Stella’s budding artistry.
“I always wanted a kitchen I could let my daughter play in while I’m cooking or with friends over for a cup of tea,” Pier states.
The couple stripped off the staircase bare to show the wood.
Though many of the period features of this house have been stripped through renovation, one detail that the couple brought back was cornice from the living room. An eclectic selection of modern, classical and contemporary furnishings give the space a cozy feel, as does the delicate teal color on the lower half of the walls.
Pier and Lenstra describe the inside of their house as being contemporary, using an eclectic mix of Scandinavian influences. “We have quite a bit of artwork, and so that our house is a mix and match of stuff we have picked up that we think look great,” Pier states.
Paint: Mizzle, Farrow & Ball
The guest bathroom has an exposed brick wall, duck-egg-blue wooden floorboards and a collection of family photos.
“A great deal of what we have done is experimental to see if it would work and if it looks great,” Pier admits. Several design choices, such as this exposed brick wall, were originally tough to communicate to very skeptical builders. The couple love the fabulous ending result.
From the master bedroom, Piet Hein Eek’s Scrapwood wallpaper functions as a striking headboard.
The built in wardrobes made from plywood underlayment were another experimental design option that has been tough to get beyond the builders. “They said it couldn’t be done or it could be hard,” Pier states. The couple will be thrilled with the result and are glad to have taken the risk.
Pier and Lenstra enjoy using color throughout their house, often infusing bright hues through eclectic accessories, like this classic bedside lamp. A sudden burst of sunshine yellow gives the otherwise neutral space a jolt of existence.
A splash of heavy turquoise adds an element of surprise in this neutral-tone bathroom. The antique mirror softens the sharp lines of this modern space and gives a wonderful contrast between the old and the new.
Piers thoughtfully designed Stella’s nursery for an enjoyable and vibrant space. “Too often, people design children’s rooms that replicate their own fashion,” Pier states. The couple put bookshelves low on the wall for easy reach, painted the skirting boards pink to add visual interest and filled the space with color, while keeping a neutral and pleasing space. “I love my kid’s space for the light and the view,” Pier states. “She certainly has the best bedroom in the house!”
Rug and bookshelves: Ikea
This guest room, called “The Room,” is inspired by a bed-and-breakfast. The couple’s family and friends could unload their bags and get comfy during visits from abroad.
Bed: Ikea Leirvik; wall paint: Babouche, Farrow & Ball
Sunshine-hued walls, a patchwork quilt and antique touches give the space a welcoming and homely feel.
One of the greatest things about the residence is its close proximity to the city and the shore. This family of 3 could often be found cycling to the shore and lunching in city together.