Instead of moving to a bigger house for their growing family, Annemarie and Rembrandt bought the one next door and joined it with their existing one. ‘It’s a happily imperfect solution,’ says Annemarie. ‘The layout has its challenges – we have a small kitchen for a family of six and another kitchen upstairs that we don’t really use. But the pay-off is that the kids get their own rooms, I get an office-studio for my interiors blog and vintage webshop, and we get to stay in a neighbourhood we love.’
We're a big family… with four children – Tommy (nine), Livia (eight), Roos (four) and Julie (two). Life at home can be a bit chaotic, there are always kids running in and out. We have a neighbours’ Whatsapp group to keep up with everyone’s whereabouts.
It always feels like spring in our home… Who says pastels don’t work for winter? When the days are dark outside, the bright colours inside create a happy mood and remind us of warmer seasons.
Just let it go… is a useful mantra we come back to time and again. It’s the people and experiences in a home that matter, not the things. So if something breaks, or I sell a favourite item in my shop, we don’t miss it for long.
‘Our second living room is now an office/studio space for me and Rembrandt, so we no longer have to work at the dining table,’ says Annemarie. ‘We made our desks from IKEA trestle legs with kitchen countertops, which means we could make them
as big as we needed – simple and affordable
‘Whenever we eat, it’s always around the dining table – it’s our chance to spend time together and catch up. The food almost takes second place to talking and being together, whether it’s a snack or a proper meal. Everyone has their favourite seat. Rembrandt’s work day finishes early, so he often spends after-school time with the kids while I work. That was our deal for having a large family – we share the responsibilities fifty-fifty.’
‘Maybe one day we’ll renovate our kitchen, but for now it isn’t a priority for us. Structurally, it would be a big and expensive job – we felt it was more important to give the children their own rooms. In the meantime, small updates like the hanging rail have made it more organised and easier for all of us to use and share the space.’
With easy-to-reach storage boxes and baskets, kids can get their favourite toys out whenever they want to play. ‘Tommy loves the boxes under his bed and has sorted his things by type – he’s very tidy,’ says Annemarie.
Use paint to give old furniture and accessories a happy new look for kids. ‘I got this mirror for Livia so she had somewhere to get ready in the mornings, but it was too dark for her space. She loves the new pink colour.’
Having a space of their own helps children develop confidence and feel more secure. ‘The kids love to play in each other’s rooms, but can also have privacy if they want it, like when Livia wants to practise her music.’
Photography: Martin Löf
Styling: Abigail Edwards
Follow Annemarie at thuisinstyling.nl