Location, Location, Location


I’ve been meaning to write about this house for a few weeks now, but the spirit just hasn’t moved me. I think my writing muse is hibernating. I’m not sure she’s awake now, either, but since I’ve been writing up stuff for Trippist today, I figure I’ll just keep going and finally get this piece written so I can close out a few tabs!

The house seen here at dusk last spring (so 9 or 10 p.m.) is located on Kromme Nieuwegracht, just off the Janskerkhof by the Drift canal. It’s a fairly new structure (obviously), having been built in 2002, by the architectural firm Sluijmer en Van Leeuwen. They have a reputation for building modern, eye-catching structures, such as restaurant Divinatio here in Utrecht. The house is currently for sale, and can be yours if you’ve got €629,000 to spare on 150 square meters. It’s got some small rooms, but it does have two bathrooms, which makes me slightly envious. (Although the bathrooms may be as small as ours, so they may not be that enviable.) Ultimately, of course, what you’re paying for is bragging rights and the all-important location.

The house is known as the smallest modern house in Utrecht; not to be confused with the smallest house in Utrecht, which is quite a bit older. On the surface, it does seem quite small. What you see is what you get, in terms of the above ground living area. However, the house has hidden square footage. There’s an underground level that runs under the street, directly over to the canal, with a view onto the canal itself. The house is an interesting mixture of modernism and cave dwelling. Chrome and glass up above and brick down below.

It’s interesting to compare the photos from when the house was first built (and featured on the architect’s website) and the photos from the current real estate website. A few changes along the way; perhaps not quite as chic and sleek as it used to be, at least in terms of decorating. Life invariable intrudes. Even our own modern yellow sofa isn’t quite as sharp as it was when we bought it, but that probably has something to do with the sharpness of our cats’ claws.

Despite the small size of the house, the inclusion of the larger living area does make it seem much more livable, at least for a childless/free couple. The house certainly has a wonderful views from the kitchen and upper deck level: the Domtoren, Janskerk, St. Willibrord, the Drift canal …

And hey, on those nights you don’t feel like cooking, you’re just a few steps away from one of the Irish pubs in town. Fish and chips! I told you it’s all about location.