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A Romantic River Garden in the Netherlands, Handmade Edition

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A Romantic River Garden in the Netherlands, Handmade Edition

July 25, 2018

German artist and designer Valentin Loellmann converted a listed stable house into a characterful, hand-built home for his family. At first, the house, located on the Meuse river in the Dutch town of Maastricht, didn’t have much of a garden: “just one high wall and a field behind,” he says. “We dogged out the ground to create different levels. One for the covered terrace, one for the pool, one stone patio, and one, the topmost, for a grass field.” He planted a large willow tree (“a natural curtain for the upper bedroom”), wisteria vines, and a mimosa tree, and he hand-built a concrete pool. “All to create a more Mediterranean feel,” he says. Here’s a look at the result.

Photography by Jonas Loellmann, courtesy of Valentin Loellmann Studio.

The concrete lap pool sits where the aforementioned wall (about five feet high) had been just off the back of the house. “You didn’t have any space behind the house or an exit from the living room,” says Valentin. Now the lower terrace, partially covered with a hand-built wood pergola, is designed with a pair of lounge chairs bought from a vintage furniture dealer in Brazil.
Above: The concrete lap pool sits where the aforementioned wall (about five feet high) had been just off the back of the house. “You didn’t have any space behind the house or an exit from the living room,” says Valentin. Now the lower terrace, partially covered with a hand-built wood pergola, is designed with a pair of lounge chairs bought from a vintage furniture dealer in Brazil.
The idea for a concrete pool came by an accident. “During construction there was a storm and water flooded the garden,” he explains. “Then the sun came out and there was this shimmering light throughout the entire house reflected from the water, so I figured we needed a pool.”
Above: The idea for a concrete pool came by an accident. “During construction there was a storm and water flooded the garden,” he explains. “Then the sun came out and there was this shimmering light throughout the entire house reflected from the water, so I figured we needed a pool.”
The -meter-long (about 33-foot-long) pool is filled to the brim. “When I swim the water is constantly falling over the front, but it adds a calm sound that works nicely with the Meuse river directly behind it.” Valentin, who makes and designs wood furniture, installed the oak deck floors himself.
Above: The 10-meter-long (about 33-foot-long) pool is filled to the brim. “When I swim the water is constantly falling over the front, but it adds a calm sound that works nicely with the Meuse river directly behind it.” Valentin, who makes and designs wood furniture, installed the oak deck floors himself.
The exterior of the pool is painted black and the inside is painted a Yves Klein–inspired shade of blue. “I paint it every year,” he says.
Above: The exterior of the pool is painted black and the inside is painted a Yves Klein–inspired shade of blue. “I paint it every year,” he says.
Artful reflections in the lap pool.
Above: Artful reflections in the lap pool.
The mimosa tree in full bloom nearly reaches the top of the house.
Above: The mimosa tree in full bloom nearly reaches the top of the house.
The house, reflected in the pool.
Above: The house, reflected in the pool.
A view of the house from the Meuse river behind.
Above: A view of the house from the Meuse river behind.

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