Home is where the heart is

We're cleaning house today.

A bit challenging considering that The Fort is a veritable homage to minimalism and now we have to find space for me, my stuff, and my shoes...

this should be interesting.

Lately we've both become raging eBayers trying to make space here and lighten the load coming from there. So if you've ever coveted anything in my closet, feel free to check out my eBay store to see the latest stuff on the block.

Spatial issues notwithstanding, I'm having quite a lot of fun settling in.

For a former storage unit, this house gets an incredible amount of natural light from the full-frontal window on the ground floor, a single window on the second floor, and strategically placed skylights on the third floor.

The most beautiful feature is the two-story common wall that is shared with the adjacent house. The plaster was removed to expose the original brick, originally laid in 1890, making the outside of our neighbor's house the inside of ours.

The haphazard, almost chaotic character of the century-old masonry is a whimsical and welcome relief from the orderly, even-handed symmetry of the heterogeneous brick facades that line our quiet street.

I really love this wall.

The light is spectacular, opening the kitchen up into something of an atrium. Together with the exposed wall of our neighbors house, it creates a wonderful sense of being outdoors.

The wood blocks that make up the stairs and the lofted second floor were all cut from a single French Oak. It has such a lovely organic quality that breathes life into every part of the house.

I find an inexplicable comfort in being completely surrounded by this tree, feeling both supported and protected by its sheer enormity.

It has become something of a friend to me. And I often wonder about its stories. Where it has been, what it has seen, and who else might have enjoyed its company before it came to rest here with us.

The buddhas offer a calming sense of peace as well.

I feel safe here.

Andrea's mom once said she felt sorry for me having to live in this space. I don't recall when exactly, but I think it might have been shortly after seeing a picture of me entangled in extension cords, trying to dry my hair while precariously balancing a step-stool between the floorboards outside of the bathroom.

Why should this be necessary?

Because the mirrors are affixed at such a height that the average Dutch person can see their head from outside the bathroom. And I am nowhere near the height of the average Dutch person.

There are also no outlets in the bathroom because it's basically a giant rain shower with a massive jacuzzi encased in zinc...

...that open into the living room for a clear view of the fireplace and TV.

Although it appears to favor form over function, The Fort is truly an architectural masterpiece that strikes a brilliant balance in both.

Upstairs, the entire bedroom wall also opens up - or more accurately, opens in - providing access to the 3rd floor terrace, the site of many aperitivi.

And home to our groovy little bamboo Buddha garden.

For any architecture/design buffs who are interested, here's a link to the architect's website that features The Fort as a "Laboratory of Living" along with some of this other work. Really amazing stuff. He's a cool guy and a friend of ours now. The new place he built for himself is incredible.

On a more social note, I'm already a regular at YogaMoves, where they thankfully teach in English, as well as Natuur Winkel, the organic market where I'm still learning how to pronounce everything.

And I can often be spotted cruising around on the super-cool-new-bike-that-my-baby-got-for-me.

All in all, it's been quite a seamless transition and I'm sad to announce that we'll be saying farewell to the Chicago loft shortly after the wedding party there.

The cars are going too - yes, all 3 of them - so if you know anyone who's in the market for a Lotus or a Porsche, please let us know. But the Moto Guzzi is definitely coming with us to Italy - sorry guys!

It may not look like it, but there's plenty of room for guests (at least by European standards) so please, please feel free to come visit anytime. Seriously.

I love the new place and am thrilled about our new life, but I still miss you guys every day. Every day.

I'm afraid I have no recipe for you today.
We're ordering pizza.
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