Lofty Living in the Heart of the Randstad

On a few of the most renowned shopping streets in town of The Hague stays this top-floor flat in three-story building dating back to the early 1800s. Its inside is a cozy blend of traditional and East Asian styles, with loads of diverse charm. With a subtle colour scheme and well-placed furniture, this loft-style apartment is a balanced composition of both new and old.

Owner Peter Blom is located in Switzerland and visits his home in The Hague a few times a year. While it was heavily under construction, the property was bought by him from 2004. His prior home was a large property in rural Utrecht, and he was looking to buy something less isolated. He was instantly attracted to The Hague for its upscale yet quiet way of life. The building also houses a store on the ground floor and an apartment on the second floor.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Peter Blom
Location: The Hague, South Holland
Size: 130 sq.-meter, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, living/dining room, kitchen, office, rooftop terrace.

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The exposed wood beams are an original feature of the house and give the room a critical wow factor. Not only can they radically increase the size of their room, they also allow ample light to enter through the large placed windows looking out on the rooftop terrace. Painted at a coat of black, the beams tie in beautifully with the neutral palette of this room, working especially well with bits Blom bought from Asia.

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The apartment looks out on the Denneweg, one of the oldest streets at The Hague. The first building in the road dates back to 1390, once the street sported wooden houses that ran all the way to the North Sea.

Today, the Denneweg is in the heart of The Hague’s shopping scene, even while being one of the last truly upscale areas from the”Randstad” (the region encompassing the major Dutch cities of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague), and boasts beautiful houses and boutiques.

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Blom had the furnishings for years; things were picked up by him in China on a business trip. The mix of traditional furnishings and Asian accents, as well as several parts of quirky art, make this home an eclectic treat for the senses.

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Nothing about this apartment’s interior has been designed in any particular way with any particular purpose; the things are both old and fresh yet harmonize perfectly with one another. “What is significant is that it fits together, but naturally, that’s an issue of taste,” Peter says.

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The flat has been dotted with interesting art pieces, from quirky to more traditional fashion oil paintings, to bronze decorations and vintage world maps. The art comes from all over the area, but one artist, Ronald Habraken, is featured several times through the house. Habraken has been commissioned by the owner to paint some 30 paintings through the years, many of which are now in the operator’s home in Switzerland. Though the works aren’t all in the exact same manner, the artist’s distinctive flair is clearly identifiable. When asked about his preference for this particular artist’s creations,” Peter said,”I like paintings in the design of Corneille and Herman Brood.” That is evident when looking at the modern, imaginative functions that enhance the flat’s diverse feel. “It is more important to me that I am touched by [the art] than when it is by a renowned artist.”

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The vintage map prints featured in the dining room area are of places that the proprietor has lived, such as Switzerland, South America and Utrecht. “Maps always have to have a meaning for me. I really don’t just buy maps,” Blom says.

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In the lounge area, two sizeable beige linen arm chairs placed side by side are paired together with the caramel-hued leather sofa. The coffee table, using its Asian-style legs, injects a Far-Eastern feel into an otherwise traditional distance.

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Blom bought the little assortment of eyeglasses beside the IKEA bookcase roughly 40 years ago. The large oil painting of Amsterdam, was bought some 20 years ago. These cherished things add historical appeal to the home.

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Perhaps Blom’s favorite piece of art is that the large bronze hen by Peter Peterson. The artist draws his inspiration from the surrounding character, often using typical Dutch creatures as models. This chicken was fashioned for the homeowner.

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The ladder at the center of the living room leads up to a tiny attic study nook overlooking the flat’s living area and the Denneweg below. During the construction, Blom asked the builders to put a window at the slanted ceiling to permit light to input and views of The Hague to be seen. While the analysis is at the primary area of the house, it’s surprisingly private.

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The small kitchen features marble counters atop white matte doorways, although small, has ample storage area — not to mention amazing views on the fashionable Denneweg below.

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The building right opposite the flat dates back to 1898. It is a 3-story exclusive fashion boutique, and undoubtedly one of the most attractive buildings on the road.

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The hallway seems to zigzag its way from the entrance all the way to the bedroomdown the front end of the flat. The hallway is adorned with more art by Ronald Habraken.

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This freestanding cabinet in Blom’s bedroom is just another item he discovered in Asia. “I started at Hong Kong and finished up in Beijing, and somewhere along the way I bought some bits to return to the Netherlands,” he says. This bit sets the scene at the master bedroom.

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The black fold-out chairs with cane seats increase the Asian feel and tie in nicely with the rest of the area’s d├ęcor, as does the cane chest at the base of their mattress.

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In the hallway, a varnished wooden staircase winds up to the rooftop terrace. The terrace, formerly the roof itself, has been divided to create a quiet outdoor distance away from the hustle and bustle of the city below. The door to the left leads into a huge storage area, and the big windows to the right look directly into the living area below.

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Though the terrace is practically unused because of the cool weather and the operator’s absence for most of the season, it has enormous potential to become a great spot for hosting late-night soirees at the summer months and also get-togethers year round. Plonk a brazier down, decorate seats with comfy cushions and spend a romantic night gazing up at the stars…

Though Blom is away out of his inner city flat for the majority of the season, he really enjoys returning to it. “I really like the high ceilings, the simple fact that it is rather spacious, the roof terrace, the storage and I love that it is at the center of the nicest aspect of The Hague.”

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