In this minimalist bungalow, nature and nostalgia coexist in gentle harmony.
“A bit less busy, a little more green” was the order of the day when influencer Sanne Hop and her husband Wim de Boer went on the hunt for a spacious new home after outgrowing their Amsterdam apartment. The inner-city abode that the couple had lived in for several years was actually two apartments joined together, but even so, it eventually became too small to accommodate their family when it grew to include four children.
With the property market booming at the time, Sanne and Wim seized the opportunity to sell up and look for something more suitable, venturing further afield in search of space, comfort and a connection to nature. They stumbled on their new-build property by accident and were delighted to learn that the multi-dwelling project had been initiated by an architect with a penchant for timber and clean lines. “We were immediately sold and were lucky to secure the last available house,” says Sanne.
The building process took close to two years and was quite the adventure. “One of the challenges was our strong desire for a concrete staircase,” says Sanne. “It was tricky to achieve while maintaining the space needed downstairs for the kitchen and upstairs for the bedrooms and bathrooms, but we worked it out and are very happy with the stairs and the way they open into the living space.”
Having designed and renovated their apartment, Sanne and Wim were no strangers to the building process, but designing a home to suit a family of six was a first and came with its own unique hurdles. “It was hard to create a home where everyone would have a place for themselves and at the same time incorporate a spacious living space where we could all come together,” says Sanne. “I also found the endless decision-making a challenge, but in the end it was worth it. It’s so rewarding to see that our design has actually worked out the way we envisioned it would.”
As well as that striking architectural staircase, the living area of the new rural bungalow in Almere, just north of the city, has a generous open-plan layout and a plethora of natural elements that make the decidedly contemporary space somehow feel cosy.
“We spend a lot of time in the living room together,” says Sanne. “The younger children still like to be around us most of the time, and the older children each have a room of their own now, so they can go upstairs to have private time. It feels so luxurious after years of sharing rooms.”
The couple’s decorating philosophy relies on a harmonious relationship between old and new. Inspired by natural materials, handmade elements and ‘clean’ designs, they strive to achieve balance by bringing vintage into the mix in the form of pieces collected slowly over time. “Vintage works well here because it contrasts so nicely with the modern character of the house,” says Sanne. “We love pieces with a story behind them, and find joy in giving them a second life in our home.”
Of equal importance to the duo is supporting Dutch designers; two of their best-loved pieces include their dining table by Slowwood and their bed by Loof. Their additional concerns for durability and the environment led them to choose Norwegian studio Ask og Eng to custom-build their sustainable bamboo kitchen, an element that has become an eye-catching statement on the otherwise minimalist ground floor.
Although the couple appreciate smatterings of colour, their preferred palette is a quiet one that draws its inspiration from the hues of nature. “We don’t have so much colour in our house, partly because I feel children bring enough with their drawings and toys,” says Sanne. “We incorporated a lot of blue into our old home, but here the spaces ask for something different: neutrals, beige, brown, peach — earth tones.”
The house has become something of a muse for Sanne, whose sharing of her family’s wonderful life via her Instagram account @sannehop has garnered a considerable following. “The house is an exciting new source of inspiration to me,” she says. “There are so many corners and spaces, I’m still at the beginning of exploring it all.”
Words & photography Holly Marder