Sneak Peek: 'A World Apart'

Sneak Peek: 'A World Apart'

By Jaime Gillin
Our July/August 2012 issue, on newsstands now, turns the spotlight on designers' own homes across the globe. One of my favorite projects in the issue is Paula Leen and Kees Middendorp's home in the northern Dutch province of Friesland, which I visited last winter and profiled in the magazine in "A World Apart." Leen, a felt-maker, and Middendorp, the town of Akkrum's harbormaster, showed me around their marina-side home, which they'd lived in for 16 years as renters before getting the opportunity to buy and renovate it. The resulting space has an aesthetic that is strongly influenced by their surroundings—all gray and black and white, "the colors of Friesland," as Leen puts it. It's filled with Leen's handmade felt pieces, salvaged vintage furniture, and custom iron fixtures, including an 11-foot-long kitchen island and a staircase that connects the upstairs living space with the downstairs workshop. Check Sunday to read the full story. In the meantime, here's a sneak peek and some choice quotes from Leen.

On her approach to renovating their house: "I like buildings where people work with their hands, where craftspeople do their thing—that was an inspiration for our house."

On the appeal of wabi-sabi: "For me and Kees, there is very much beauty in imperfection."

On her aesthetic sensibility: "I always go for the most simple design. No bling-bling. I always know what I like and what I don't like."

On painting the exterior of their house and workshop black: "For other people, yellow gives a happy sunshine feeling, but for me it was terrible and depressing. I need black and white and gray. Yellow is an extrovert color. But I am a person who stays inside myself."


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