Oldambtster: this is the name given in the Netherlands to old farms of the type often seen in the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe; the name coming from the municipality of Oldambt. The region is highly rated by horse lovers. Not only is there an annual horse market in one of Drenthen’s villages, but the surrounding flat landscape is perfect for long horseback rides.
No wonder Mirjam van der Meer feels so comfortable here. She has a horse herself, with which she spends a lot of time, and lives with her husband Jeroen and the children in such an Oldambtster. "We love this area," she says, looking out over the paddock where her horse peacefully sniffs the grass. It is a beautiful sunny day with a few puffy clouds moving leisurely along the sky. The builder is happy about the opportunity to chat a bit about her rebuilt farmhouse.
A lot of space also meant a lot of work
When the two bought the house a few years ago, it was not in good condition. "There was just an incredible amount to do," says husband Jeroen as he joins in. The building was probably built around 1860. Until about the middle of the last century, it served as a farm, but then became more and more a purely residential house, frequently changing owners. "Over the decades, something has always been done there – but usually only very half-heartedly. Mirjam and I said to ourselves: We’ll do it right now!" 32 meters is the house long, 15 wide. Plenty of space for the family. But also: A lot of work that had to be done.
The family lived in their new home on the outskirts of their community for two years before the renovation really got underway. And that in turn also took a good two years. The couple also lent a hand themselves – and not too sparingly: whenever possible, they went to the construction site, because during the conversion and renovation, parents and children lived in an interim solution in the town center a few kilometers away. Not only does it sound exhausting, it was. But all the work on the new home was worth it.
A roof with a hat
The first thing that strikes anyone standing in front of the house is the unusual roof. The upper area is mostly covered with thatch, while below robust roof tiles can be seen. It looks a bit like the roof is wearing a hat. The owner of the house explains what was behind it: "We wanted to preserve the old character of the house."In the past, she says, roof tiles were a luxury item. Therefore, the old Oldambtster builders resorted to the cheaper thatch, at least for the upper areas; the lower areas were covered with tiles. For two reasons: With a pure thatched roof, rainwater runoff collected in the lower part, which could thus become more susceptible to rotting. In addition, the moisture was not good for the cattle – with tiles the stable remained drier.
The family’s own home thus combines historical construction with modern living comfort to a certain extent. This claim is also continued in the interior. The mighty old support beams from yesteryear in the living room form a rustic contrast to the discreet, modern ceiling lighting and the white walls.
More light over a large area
There was valuable support from the architect, who implemented the most important wishes well: on the one hand, to preserve the character of the house, and on the other hand, to provide more brightness. Because the old farmhouse was rather dark in its original form – only little daylight reached the interior through the small windows.
This was solved mainly with a generous glazing. In the living and dining area, the old brick walls are broken up by floor-to-ceiling windows. A niche in the house on the garden side is particularly striking. It did not exist before – the area was part of the building. The architect removed the roof at this point; wooden walls now separate the area to the left and right. The resulting "gap" in the facade is now a terrace – with a slat-like partial roofing and glazing as weather protection.
Folding glass wall with threshold-free transition
The terrace is separated from the living space by a folding glass wall from Solarlux – the family-owned company from Melle specializes in glass facade solutions. "Our architect knew the manufacturer and was able to recommend him, and we liked the concept right away," says the owner in retrospect. The inner long side and one of the two cross sides of the area are each equipped with such a folding glass wall. Both can be "folded away" to the side when opened.
A special feature here is the fold-away corner post: the folding glass wall can thus be opened across the corner without supports. The running track is also recessed into the floor, creating a threshold-free transition to the covered terrace. In addition, the folding glass walls provide very good insulation. This was important to the couple, and they attached great importance to an energetically sensible construction method from the very beginning.
House cat as construction manager
The house cat leisurely plods along with the small group and makes itself comfortable in the sun, casually moving its tail up and down as it lies there like this. The van der Meers have to laugh. "She has become a mascot during the construction work," the host tells us. "Every day she walked here to the old home and watched the workers. In the evening we would pick her up." Wife Mirjam cuddles the cat. "She feels comfortable here. And so are we."
As a Solarlux partner, we at ROLAND BOLLER GmbH from Binzen are convinced that you will receive exceptional quality from us, which fully meets all requirements – see for yourself!