Walking my talk – my home

In September 2017 I bought a worker’s cottage with a large (well, for Dutch standards) garden in need of some significant TLC. In the year following the purchase I’ve updated it as sustainably as possible (and still not finished, but at least no more major things like replacing the roof or missing walls). In October 2018 it was runner up for most sustainable home in Groningen (and got some press coverage, e.g. Veendammer, ). The original cottage was built in the mid 19th century (older than when NL became a democracy). Post-big storm of 1973 a new outer wall (around the remnants of the original) was built. I find these elements of interest as regards my interests and background.

Kitchen/ Keuken: before/ voor – during/ tijdens – after/ na


Keuken zoals in verkoopbrochure. Plastic zeil en plafond … ‘leuk’ / Kitchen as in sales brocure … plastic ceiling and floor … ‘nice’


Keuken in juni 2019. Kitchen in June 2019 (I didn’t clear up the scene for the photo)

Huiskamer/ Living room: voor – na


Huiskamer zoals in verkoopbrochure (vloer is oud zeil, geen hout!)/ Living room as in sales brochure (floor is old plastic, not wood)

living room - huiskamer, aug 2019

Huiskamer in aug 2019 (buiten muur heeft een significante laag natuurlijke isolatie van kalk-hemp en aarde) / Living room in Aug 2019 (wall includes significant natural insulation of hemp and earth)

Gasten WC/ Guest toilet: voor – na

Not sure I made a ‘pre’ photo … everything was white (incl. plastic heightened toilet seat, now removed!), and dirty.


Badkamer/ Bathroom: voor – na


Badkamer op dag dat ik sleutels kreeg …. erg wit/ clinisch (was aangelegd voor mijn voorganger die van rolstoel gebruik maakte – inderdaad, ik begrijp ook niet waarom dit moet betekenen dat je badkamer saai moet zijn)/ Bathroom on day I got the keys … very white and clinical (was put in for my predecessor who used a wheel chair – yes, I don’t know either why that means your bathroom needs to be boring)

Badkamer/ Bathroom (aug 2019)

Badkamer (aug 2019): Wat kleur, wat planten, CV weg, buitenmuur geisoleerd (nu oranje), infraverwarming in spiegel (buiten beeld), kieren naar zolder isoleren, bamboe ‘badmat’ en rubberen/ biokatoen slippers om in winter koude vloer te vermijden

Bathroom (Aug 2019): some colour, some plants, central heating gone, outer wall insulated (now orange), infrared heater (mirror, not pictured), fill gaps to attic, bamboo ‘bathmat’ and rubber/ bio cotton slippers for in winter to avoid cold feet

Old bathroom (now pantry)/ oude badkamer (nu bijkeuken): voor – tijdens – na

'Green' bathroom (yuk in sink was there already, bath worse)

‘Green’ bathroom (yuk in sink was there already, bath worse; on purpose not including photo of the toilet)


Juni 2019: nu bijkeuken (met Veenstroom archief materiaal; ik ben secretaris). Still work to do.

Office/ werkkamer: voor – tijdens – na

Heater gone, now infrared heater on opposite wall. Part of outer wall came undone when taking off the wood on the wall to add hemp insulation … found some nice bits of newspaper from 1984 … year I had previously moved to the Netherlands)

Weird rectangle on the floor leads to my water connection, so want to keep it clear/ accessible. Replaced windows, added security, insulation. To burglars reading: screen on left photo is not a fancy TV, but my broken old laptop doing radio duty, one of few things it can still do.

Bedroom/ slaapkamer: voor – tijdens – na

Bedroom on day I got the keys

Bedroom on day I got the keys – almost everything a shade of brown./ Slaapkamer op dag dat ik sleutels kreeg – bijna alles een bruin tint



Bedroom in June 2019. White thing on the wall is not a TV, but infrared heating; heater under window gone now it’s been replaced by French doors – has lovely morning sun to wake up with. / Slaapkamer juni 2019 (wit op de muur is geen TV, maar infrarood verwarming; verwarming onder raam weg nu het openslaande deuren/ 2e in/uitgang is geworden)

Guest room/ logeerkamer: voor – tijdens – na

{photos pre – post}

Garden/ Tuin: voor – tijdens …

garden as in sales brochure

Tuin eerste perceel, op dag dat ik de sleutels kreeg./ Garden first plot, as on day of getting the keys.

Garden as at June 2019, incl. lots of edibles

Garden as at June 2019, incl. lots of edibles (and notice solar panels on flat roof)

{second plot …}