Although the little house was in good structural condition, the interiors had been stripped of character and period features. It was dark, dated and claustrophobic, but the couple could see its potential and decided they could turn it into a special home.  They have gradually refurbished and reinstated period details to the property, which was originally built in 1840. It may be small, but the sympathetic restoration of this historic Dutch home makes it one of the world’s best homes. Its vintage-style décor is easy on the eye and full of great ideas that could add interest and character to any style of home. 

Hallway sets the vintage theme

From the moment you step inside the front door here, you know this home is going to be full of interesting period details and vintage charm. Hallway ideas include adding half-height paneling which was painted soft off-white, with toile de Jouy wallpaper above. Adding a quirky vintage display – in this case a collection of old straw hats on pegs – creates a homey feel and a talking point as visitors first arrive.

Kitchen refresh

A previously dark and uninspiring kitchen is now this bright and airy space, thanks to kitchen ideas that included enlarging the windows and installing French doors. The existing cabinets were refreshed with cream paint and new handles. Cottage kitchen must-haves – butler’s sink with fabric skirt underneath and rustic storage baskets for fruit and vegetables – add further appeal. 

Vintage kitchenalia

A fine collection of vintage kitchenalia is displayed around the range cooker. In fact, the green and white toile de Jouy wallpaper was inspired by the owner’s collection of green and white crockery in the vintage plate rack. These old kitchen accessories really bring the room to life. Note the terracotta floor tiles, which have a distinctly period feel even though they are new. 

Breakfast nook

Channelling the English cottage look, a circluar table in the kitchen provides an informal dining space and is decorated with a pretty toile de Jouy inspired table cloth and more vintage green and white china. 

Atmospheric dining space

The dining space is open plan so dining room ideas need to create a sense of flow with the living room but also give the space its own identity. The bold red paint does exactly that and was inspired by the color of the toile de Jouy wallpaper in the bathroom. A large mirror reflects the sparkling light of the antique chandelier and a French vintage linen bedsheet is used as a tablecloth, a great way to enhance a period scheme.

Living room

At the other end of the open-plan space is this characterful seating area. Living room ideas include walls paneled with planks for a touch of heritage charm. The scroll-armed sofa was a new purchase, but works well alongside an older armchair. One easy way to create a pretty vintage look is to accessorize a room with small scale artworks on a linking theme – in this case floral still life paintings found in antiques stores, junk shops and fleamarkets. 

Attic bedroom

Vintage florals and toile de Jouy prints continue upstairs, where bedroom ideas are focused on making the most of the attic room’s dramatic exposed original rafters. The woodwork here has been given a coat of soft white paint to ensure the room feels as bright as possible. The flooring is the original wood floorboards, which have been waxed. 


Bathroom ideas got off to a good start when an antique dresser proved to be exactly the right size for this paneled alcove. Topped with marble and flanked with vintage-style wall lights, it has made the perfect vanity unit. The red wallpaper inspired the shade used for the sides of the bath, and for the dining room wall downstairs. This bathroom used to have just a small shower but it’s now a much more luxurious space. The red and cream toile de Jouy wallpaper sets a classic backdrop alongside handmade paneling, while the traditional roll-top bath, painted in the same red shade, makes a dramatic statement. The bathroom features the same characterful terracotta tiles as the kitchen, bringing warmth and charm in equal measure. An antique stool, towel rack and salvaged French shutters complete the look. The romantic rose-covered exterior of the cottage has been whitewashed and the timber-clad gable end was painted to preserve its picture-perfect look.  Original feature and styling: Monique van der Pauw Photographs: Ton Bouwer/ (opens in new tab)