An Old School Becomes a Light and Airy Family Home

I seem to have gone down a rabbit hole of Dutch homes lately. It all started with cabin Anna on Thursday, and then yesterday I shared Michiel's harmonious home. And today - I couldn't resist sharing this converted schoolhouse in Rotterdam!  When Aquine, Robbin, Nora and Nood first acquired the property it needed a major amount of work. But their extensive efforts have paid off and today the family enjoy an incredible, light-filled home with sky high ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, open-plan living spaces and a beautiful inner-city garden. Here are a few before and after pics: 


The former school needed a massive amount of work in order to convert it into a liveable space. As well as structural work, a mezzanine floor was added to create space for a living room. 

In the open plan kitchen, the wooden ceiling has been left exposed to add warmth - a perfect way to balance the coolness of the concrete floor. A pink accent wall also helps to add softness and break up the monochrome theme.

I love this vibrant bouquet - it instantly lifts the spirits and adds a wonderful splash of colour!  

Bikes are as big a part of life in Holland as they are in Scandinavia. This one is so elegant it can be stored in the sitting room area and actually adds to the space (mine wouldn't look quite as aesthetic as this!). 

The bathroom in the bedroom is bound to get tongues wagging in the comment section. I've always thought they're pretty cool as they have a luxury hotel-like feel. I'm not sure everyone agrees though! 

The bed is from IKEA (I was freelancing there when it was first launched and I loved to see how IKEA interior designers styled it: the rail can be used for clothes, hanging plants or nice fabric! The mirror is also IKEA. 

Garden before

The former school playground was extremely barren and need to be re-worked from scratch to transform it into a garden and outdoor social area. 


'Pardon the weeds, we're feeding the bees'. I love to see wildflower gardens - it's something I wrote about in my Lagom book. They provide a wonderful home for insects and look pretty too, I'd choose this over a lawn (if I had a garden big enough!). 

A patio area serves as a place to cook, gather and play come summer. 

In all, a lovely property - and knowing that it used to be a school makes it even more special. 

Is there anything that stood out to you? 

See more pictures (including the children's rooms) over at @oldschool.newschool

Would you like to see a few other conversions? Check out these amazing archives: 

Do you have a favourite? 

Puss or kram! 


Photography courtesy of @oldschool.newschool - shared with kind permission


  1. What a thoughtfully done renovation. So light and bright! My niece and nephew have an older home with a tub in the master bathroom--I don't think they use it at all. I'm not a tub-soaker so the concept doesn't appeal to me, but if it's your thing and you have the room to install it, why not?

    I've never seen a bed frame like that before.

    1. Yes, so true. The beauty of your very own home is that you're pretty much free to do what you want with it (within reasoning budget constraints) - to make it completely your own. Whether that's having a bath in your bedroom or not!

  2. A giant lives in this house; look at the size of that bike! Love the colours and the gorgeous plants (very Dutch) but I sit firmly in the 'keep bed and bath separate' camp. I think it's the steam that would put me off.

    1. Well, the Dutch men ARE listed as the tallest in the world so you could be right! I'm so happy you like the colours and gorgeous plants.

  3. I would kill for a tub next to my bed! To me, that is sheer bliss! I can just imagine on a cold winters evening taking a hot bath with lavender oil, only to dry off and just roll into my comfy bed....perfection!


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