Most families would agree that a house is more than bricks and mortar, and that its spirit is what makes it a home. But some houses have a such a well-defined character that they become almost like family members in their own right. Such is the case with Reini Smit’s 19th-century home. It enjoys a near-perfect location, just half an hour from the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam, yet set in glorious, unspoiled countryside – something that’s particularly hard to find in over-populated Holland – in the tiny village of Driehuizen.
Reini, a stylist, and her husband Gerard, who works in advertising have lived here for thirty years, raised three daughters and a son there, and now enjoy regular visits from their children and grand children. Explains Reini, Gerard always knew he wanted to live in Driehuizen because he’d had idyllic holidays here as a boy. It’s such a lovely spot – a hamlet of just a few houses, surrounded by lovely meadows and not far from the sea.” As far as their house is concerned, when they first discovered it, they recognised its charms immediately, but knew that it would take a lot of work to turn it into a family home. “Basically, the original part of the house was really dilapidated. We decided to rebuild it, and to add a new part to the house, to accommodate our fast-expanding family.”