Home away from HOME

     My emotions recently turned from dread to looking ahead. This will soon become a favorite reading nook of mine. It’s the space at the top of the stairwell of the rental house my husband and I have found in a small village in Germany. My husband has been reassigned from Belgium to Germany and starts his new job on Monday. That may sound like a big move, but it’s only 3 hours away from our permanent home and only a 3-year assignment, so we decided to maintain our home we’ve created here while renting a fully furnished “home away from home” there. I’ll split my time between the two. I haven’t quite figured out yet how often I’ll make that drive back and forth, but we’ll be spending most of the weekends in Belgium with the kids, who are in college and the last year of high school.

     I expected that we’d end up with a small apartment with no character at all and barely enough room to maneuver about, but I was very pleasantly surprised when we found this little gem. It’s more than 200 years old and oozes with old world charm, both inside and out. It’s a converted farm building, with original wood beams and some of the stone-faced walls exposed. The furnishings are even stylish—farmhouse meets art deco (that just happens to be my favorite design period!), so when we viewed this I thought it was perfect just the way it is. Of course, there’d be NO fun at all just leaving the decor as is, so I will add my own touch here and there. I’ve challenged myself to figure out how to do that without spending much money. I’ll try to repurpose things. I’ll also have to restrain myself and purposefully add things only if I know I can use them in our own home 3 years from now. Since it’s a rental, I’ll also restrain myself from adding unnecessary holes in the walls, etc. That’s a challenge, but a fun one!

     I hope you enjoy this little photo tour of this home’s unique architectural elements.

     I even like the copper piping surrounding the front door—it adds a bit of an industrial feel.

     The outside even oozes with character, to include apple trees and a small vinyard maintained by the owners!

     This little corner will become our outdoor entertaining area. Prost! (That’s German for “Cheers”.)

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  1. 1

    Jennifer, your home away from home is truly a gem. I wish rentals in my area were as charming! I love the old world farmhouse details: big solid wood doors, beams, stone walls and brick courtyard. Personalizing a rental home is a challenge for sure.. But isn’t it fun? I think the more limitations you have the more creative you have to be. I look forward to seeing what you come up with. Cheers!

    • 2

      Thanks for looking, Karen! Too bad this rental’s not located near your area, otherwise I’d enlist your expertise to make a slipcover for the somewhat old-fashioned sofa for sure! I’m still a novice when it comes to sewing, so I’m not sure what my creation might end up looking like if I try it myself–I recently made a round seat cushion that ended up looking egg-shaped. Ha!

  2. 3

    Oh wow, welcome ot Germany, Jennifer. My husband is German and I have been to Germany many times. It is really a very nice and scenic country. I don’t speak any Germany because all the Germans I met spoke perfect English to me. I love German countrysides. That is one perfect farmhouse. I wish I was in your position to have a home away from home. Enjoy it!. In America we just don’t have the same old-world charm like in Europe.

    • 4

      Hi, Hanh! The drive back and forth is indeed very scenic, especially this time of the year with turning leaves. I’ve purchased hiking maps for the region, and I’m looking forward to getting out for some local “Volksmarsch”. My German is also very limited, though I find that I can understand a lot of what’s said since it’s very similar to Dutch, which is spoken in the Flemish region of Belgium.

  3. 5

    Hi Jennifer! Your right! This home is just oozing with Charm! This would be a DREAM VACATION home for me! I don’t think I will ever see something like this in my life time. I LOVE the Old World remnants of this home! I hope you will enjoy this opportunity even though there will be a long commute back and forth. Thank you for sharing! Please keep us updated on your new decorating adventures. 🙂

    • 6

      Thanks, Maria! I know I will enjoy it once I get settled into a new routine. I’m busy this week with the mundane task of determining what’s here or not, what I need to bring from home, etc. I’m discovering that I will simply need to buy duplicates of some things. My head is definitely swimming with decor ideas, and that will come in time!

  4. 7

    What a fantastic home!! The charm and the view of the countryside are absolutely fabulous. I could find myself very much at home amidst those stone walls and beautiful woodwork. Lucky you – enjoy it!!! 🙂

    • 8

      Thanks, Tonya! I’ve never lived in a home before with such authentic architectural elements, and I’m definitely looking forward to decorating in a farmhouse style. They just don’t make stone walls like that anymore. I love the way the wall engulfs a tree trunk instead of either going around it or removing it as might be done nowadays.

  5. 9

    Oh wow! Jennifer this is fantastic! I am totally enchanted with every thing in this home. Exposed stones? Really!? fantastic hardware on the doors! unique stone walls encircling the tree! Could it get anymore special!?
    I am also thrilled that you are looking ahead now and this project will be just what you need to keep you energized. 🙂 There is nothing like having a goal and a purpose to stimulate the senses and fill your life with zest!
    Cheers and best wishes to you and your husband as you embark on this next new adventure in your life.

  6. 11

    I love your new home and the charm it comes along with. The stone, wooden beams and outdoor entertainment area is dreamy. I can just imagine this becoming an adorable farmhouse by the time you get settled down.. I am so excited to see your ideas come to life. 🙂 Viel glück im neuen heim!

    • 12

      Thanks, Nila! My husband’s already freaked out a bit this week upon returning home from work to find the rental furniture moved around from one room to another and the old-fashioned curtains removed to be replaced soon by something more modern. He likes the transformation and is happy that he has an airplane modeling hobby corner in the spare bedroom–that’ll definitely be a decorating challenge, though! 🙂

  7. 13
    • 14

      Thanks, Melissa! We’ve discovered that 200-year old wooden floor boards creak…a lot! There will be no getting up quietly in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom or sneak to the fridge without waking someone else up! 🙂

  8. 15

    I imagine that you of all people will only add to the amazing charm of that home. The inside is so special but the outside areas are unbelievable. I already know you excel in outdoor spaces! Enjoy and keep us posted!!

  9. 16
  10. 17

    This home looks like you’re on a movie set ……every detail is so special…..with each photo…I gasp for breath…..oh my goodness….it’s enchanting! !!!!
    Enjoy the decorating process….and it is a process .
    who kniws what little treasures you might stumble upon in your neighborhood. …life is full of surprises….thank you for this treat this morning…..from Canada!!!

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