Rural Home on a Holland Harbor

written by:
photos by:
July 29, 2012
Originally published in Designers at Home
as
A World Apart

Inspired by her natural surroundings, a Dutch felt artist intuitively crafts a home on a northern Holland harbor.

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  Paula Leen and Kees Middendorp lived in their home for 16 years before they finally purchased and renovated it.  Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
    Paula Leen and Kees Middendorp lived in their home for 16 years before they finally purchased and renovated it. Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
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  “We like old stuff, and we like reusing the same materials over and over again,” says Middendorp, who built the kitchen pantry from the home’s old wooden flooring and zinc from their former countertop. Leen commissioned a local ironsmith to create the 11-foot-long kitchen island, as well as the staircase that connects her ground-floor workshop with the family’s living space upstairs.  Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
    “We like old stuff, and we like reusing the same materials over and over again,” says Middendorp, who built the kitchen pantry from the home’s old wooden flooring and zinc from their former countertop. Leen commissioned a local ironsmith to create the 11-foot-long kitchen island, as well as the staircase that connects her ground-floor workshop with the family’s living space upstairs. Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
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  Leen's reading area.  Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
    Leen's reading area. Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
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  Leen and Middendorp’s living space is peppered with an assortment of objects and textures, including sheep’s wool, an antique French farmhouse table, salvaged chairs, a Glo-Ball light by Jasper Morrison for Flos, and an Axel leather sofa by Gijs Papavoine for Montis.  Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
    Leen and Middendorp’s living space is peppered with an assortment of objects and textures, including sheep’s wool, an antique French farmhouse table, salvaged chairs, a Glo-Ball light by Jasper Morrison for Flos, and an Axel leather sofa by Gijs Papavoine for Montis. Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
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  Leen and Middendorp walk down a path in Akkrum.  Courtesy of Copyright: all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
    Leen and Middendorp walk down a path in Akkrum. Courtesy of Copyright: all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
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  Leen and Middendorp’s home faces the Akkrum marina. In the spring and summer, the family can hear the chirping of birds that lay their eggs on the roof, in nests fortified with stray bits of wool that have floated into the garden. “I like to picture the different colored nests up there,” says Leen. “It gives me a feeling of harmony with nature.”  Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
    Leen and Middendorp’s home faces the Akkrum marina. In the spring and summer, the family can hear the chirping of birds that lay their eggs on the roof, in nests fortified with stray bits of wool that have floated into the garden. “I like to picture the different colored nests up there,” says Leen. “It gives me a feeling of harmony with nature.” Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
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  The couple’s bedroom is a serene space with tinted plaster walls and a white felt headboard and lampshade by Leen.  Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
    The couple’s bedroom is a serene space with tinted plaster walls and a white felt headboard and lampshade by Leen. Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
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  Downstairs, in what was formerly a tractor garage, Leen created a felt-making studio and hangout space that she calls, in her creative English-as-a-third-language way, “the chill room of me.”  Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
    Downstairs, in what was formerly a tractor garage, Leen created a felt-making studio and hangout space that she calls, in her creative English-as-a-third-language way, “the chill room of me.” Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
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  Here, with the help of an antique sofa and a woodburning stove, she “drinks coffee, gets inspired, and gets warm.”  Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
    Here, with the help of an antique sofa and a woodburning stove, she “drinks coffee, gets inspired, and gets warm.” Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
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  A longtime crafter, Leen worked primarily with clay and did bookbinding. But a decade ago she saw the work of the Dutch felt artist Claudy Jongstra and was drawn to the felt-making process. She experimented by dragging loose sheep’s wool, wrapped around a concrete roller, behind a tractor along the harborfront; after an hour, the fibers would interweave and create a fabric. More recently, following three years of trial and error, she built a large steel machine in her workshop that streamlines the way she creates the material.  Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
    A longtime crafter, Leen worked primarily with clay and did bookbinding. But a decade ago she saw the work of the Dutch felt artist Claudy Jongstra and was drawn to the felt-making process. She experimented by dragging loose sheep’s wool, wrapped around a concrete roller, behind a tractor along the harborfront; after an hour, the fibers would interweave and create a fabric. More recently, following three years of trial and error, she built a large steel machine in her workshop that streamlines the way she creates the material. Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
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  Leen's house is filled with assorted ceramics from years past.  Courtesy of Copyright: all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
    Leen's house is filled with assorted ceramics from years past. Courtesy of Copyright: all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
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  After initially selling her wares—pouffes, pillows, lampshades, rugs, throws—at the craft shop at Royal Tichelaar Makkum, the oldest ceramics company in the Netherlands, Leen now offers her pieces exclusively through her website and out of her studio, under the label Poetryworld.  Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
    After initially selling her wares—pouffes, pillows, lampshades, rugs, throws—at the craft shop at Royal Tichelaar Makkum, the oldest ceramics company in the Netherlands, Leen now offers her pieces exclusively through her website and out of her studio, under the label Poetryworld. Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
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  As an introvert and an artist, Leen has a strong aesthetic sensibility. "I always go for the most simple design," she says.  Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
    As an introvert and an artist, Leen has a strong aesthetic sensibility. "I always go for the most simple design," she says. Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
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  "I like buildings where people work with their hands, where craftspeople do their thing—that was an inspiration for our house."—Paula Leen  Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
    "I like buildings where people work with their hands, where craftspeople do their thing—that was an inspiration for our house."—Paula Leen Courtesy of all copyrights Hotze Eisma.
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