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Simple But Sophisticated
Simple But Sophisticated
Anouk Gerardu and Rob Ghijsen started with beautiful, basic pieces in their big, open spaces, then layered on texture and detail

Dining room

‘This is my favourite spot. You can sit here in the centre of the house, with a view of both the living room and the garden. Rob made the table himself using reclaimed barn wood and it’s a great size for entertaining.’


The Calia table, £599, John Lewis & Partners, has this look. Find Boston faux leather chairs, £75 each, at Cult Furniture and LED star lights, £9.99, at Lights4Fun

‘We’d already renovated one house, and weren’t really looking to move,’ says Anouk Gerardu. ‘But when we heard on the grapevine that this house a couple of streets away was for sale, we couldn’t resist taking a look. The house was built in 1946 and is set in a leafy neighbourhood. Although it was in need of major renovation, we could see so many possibilities.

‘Our plan was to extend the attic space to create two large rooms, and add an extension to the back and side of the building, to open up the ground floor and create a large, open-plan space. We did a lot of the work ourselves, with the help of friends and family – demolition, preparing the foundations for the concrete base – basically all the prep work, so that the professionals could get on with it. Rob previously had a contractor’s company, so he knew all the right people for the job.

‘For the extension, we wanted an exterior cladding that would suit the character of the house and fit in with the green surroundings. We saw a house clad in wood that had been reclaimed from old barns. It’s been aged by the elements and has a unique, weathered quality. Barn wood wasn’t readily available in the Netherlands, so we had to import it from Canada. Rob was so impressed with it that he set up his own company, Robuust Barnwood, supplying barn wood to contractors, interior designers and furniture makers.

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January 2020