Back in 1908 at Haarlem, the Netherlands (yes, New York City’s Harlem neighborhood was named following this town), architect J.A.G. van der Steur built a neoclassical-style orphanage along with a home next door for its manager. By 1988 federal police had shot over caring for most of Haarlem’s orphans, so the orphanage was closed and converted to apartments.
The manager’s home sat empty for 2 years before Mirjam Nouwen purchased it. After living in it for 23 years, she decided to renovate and add a modern kitchen. Her patience paid off when Mark Fuller Architects and Kops Aannemers reacted with a beautiful update along with a kitchen inclusion developed for 21st-century living.
at a Glance
Who lives here: Mirjam Nouwen and sons Rik (age 20) and Carl (14)
Location: Haarlem, the Netherlands
Size: 250 square meters (2,690 square feet); 4 bedrooms, two bathrooms
From the new inclusion, the trendy kitchen has matte white cabinetry and stainless steel placed against a background of brick that has been treated using thinned cement.
Kitchen design: Marc Smithuis Keukenarchitectuur; stools: Wendela, Serener Design collection
The kitchen island features a thick white worktop at a durable marble composite that can withstand heat, spills and heavy usage.
The kitchen is currently Nouwen’s sons’ favorite place for hanging out with friends.
Two industrial lighting of former Eastern bloc origin hang over a classic wooden dining table. The artwork, titled “Feeling Blue,” is from a pop-up gallery by Amsterdam artist Sarah Wijsenbeek.
Conventional double doors, just beyond, double full sized glass doors bring together the newest addition and the first house.
Nouwen splurged to substitute all of the hardware on the doors and windows using nickel nickel and black manage hardware from Weijntjes Hang- en Sluitwerk.
Tiles: Belgian bluestone, Michel Oprey
Street-facing windows bring a lot of light to the living space, where Vloertotaal Haarlem installed the stained oak herringbone parquet flooring with a tinge of whitewash as part of their renovation.
A hundred-year-old bed foundation from India functions as a coffee table.
Paint: Dove Tale No. 267, Farrow & Ball
Nouwen’s most-loved object is this Murano opaline glass chandelier in the dining room. An expressive triptych from the late artist Piet van Duivenboden that is Haarlem hangs nearby.
From the corner a set of African masks brought back from a trip to Kenya overlooks a set of family photos and knickknacks.
Nouwen commissioned Mark Stribos to design and build this built-in bookcase at the house office to match the type of the window frames and paneled doors. It is painted in precisely the same finish and colour — 3816 out of Sigma Paints.
The bookcase retains a rare Coco de Mer, a jade bi-disk, various statues and precious vases and novels.
To maintain the window frames visible, Nouwen opted for blinds in a shade close to the wall paint.
Cabinets: Sunway; shade fabric: Albert Cuyp Street Market
A magical 19th-century French clock sparkles on the fireplace mantel.
An Italian window screen from the 17th century that the household found at a Milanese antiques shop hangs at the end of a hallway.
Paint: Lily White 6213, Histor
More bluestone tile backsplash a hallway bath, with black siding and modern fittings.
The family included a massive dining table out of De Betovering and spray painted it the same colour as the rear facade (RAL Basalt Grey 7012).
The brand new addition is made of large floor-to-ceiling glass doors with windows in addition to framed in wood siding finished using a nearly black blot.
“I really like the soundness of [the house’s] structure, the high ceilings, its windows across the front facade bringing in natural light,” Nouwen says.
From left to right, Nouwen and toddlers Rik and Carl enjoy lunch in their kitchen.
View more photos of the home