These form when moisture from a drippy glass or a hot dish gets trapped in the finish. To remove a long-standing stain, place a towel on top and press with a warm, dry iron for five to 10 seconds — this will soften the finish enough to release the moisture. Candle wax and crayon respond well to ice. Fill a plastic bag with ice cubes, wrap it in a towel, and place it on the stain until it hardens (a few minutes); carefully coax wax off with a plastic spatula or a credit card.
Hide them with touch-up markers like those from Parker & Bailey ($6, ParkerBailey.com), which we tested and found effective. Dab (don’t color) a scratch with the lightest marker in the kit, then use a darker one if needed. Wipe off the excess with a soft cloth before it dries, and finish with a polish.
The former living room consisted of two smaller rooms. Nicole and Michiel broke through the wall separating the two rooms, resulting in a large L-shaped living space. They removed a large window and replaced it with French doors which gives them access to their garden. “We thought the adaptation would take two months at most, but in the end, it cost us more than nine months,” Nicole says. “Once you start, new things will pop up. The good thing is: now the whole house is finished right down to the last details.”
Their home is a mixture of styles. “I love to combine vintage with modern items and design,” Nicole explains. “The base colours in our home are white and grey. To create some warmth, I add warm colours such as brown, yellow, orange and red. I think wood is also a great way to give a room some extra warmth.” Nicole loves bringing souvenirs home from her travels, bringing with her unique accessories with a story and sweet memories. Her favourite pieces include the large wooden sculptures from the Philippines and the souvenirs in the shelving unit from Thailand and Laos.
Nicole and Michel do have different styles when it comes to decorating. “That can be difficult sometimes,” Nicole explains. “But finally, when Michiel sees how it turned out, nine out of ten times, he will like it anyway.” Michiel’s proudest accomplishment is the master bathroom, which he designed and created himself. The walls of the bathroom were given a ‘tadelakt’ finish, giving them a rustic aesthetic.
The size of the property commanded a lot of furniture, so the couple shopped together to fill each space. With an eye for beautiful products for the home, this was a process Nicole thoroughly enjoyed.
“Through my work, I find so many treasures. My apartment in Amsterdam was too small to collect things, but the farmhouse allowed me to finally get some of these pieces and give them a nice place in our home.” One of Nicole’s favourite brands is House Doctor, a Danish label she also sells in her webshop “It’s affordable and of good quality,” Nicole explains.
￼The grey corner sofa in the living room is an item Michiel purchased when he lived on his own. The cushions on the sofa are from La cerise sur le gateau, a brand Nicole endorses in her webshop. Beside the sofa, is a second hand black vintage chair. The couple drove to Brussels to find one at an antique market and design fair, but didn’t succeed and drove back to the Netherlands with an empty van. In the end, they found the black vintage chair on Marktplaats, and online marketplace for used and vintage items in the Netherlands (similar to Craigslist). Small coffee tables, one white one and a black one by Hay, maintain a sense of spaciousness in the room. The hand-knotted carpet, as well as the one in the dining area, was purchased at De Munk Carpets.
The couple’s self designed and made floor-to-ceiling bookshelf was created using MDF boards. Michiel did all the carpentry and Nicole the polishing and painting. “It was not an easy job, but I really wanted this bookshelf,” Nicole says. “One day, we will move back to Amsterdam and the knowledge that we won’t be able to move this bookshelf with us makes me sad already.”
A segment of the bookshelf continues around the wall, connecting both parts of the living room and acting as a display for Nicole’s favourite objects.