On the doorstep of Rijssen, the Steel House is an architecturally designed holiday rental in the middle of a Dutch forest. It features two bedrooms, open-plan living spaces and a natural swimming pool
What is the story behind the Glass House?
We love to go on holidays but we are always too late. All of a sudden, we decide to go on holiday and it’s too late to rent a really nice home. Sometimes, we’d find something in a nice location and it would look great from the outside, but when we stayed, the bed wasn’t good, it wasn’t that clean or we didn’t feel inspired.
One holiday, we stayed in a really nice place and it had such a great bed. So when we got home, we went out to buy a good quality mattress. The house inspired us! Eventually, we found that coming home felt like being on holiday because our home was so comfortable.
Based on our experience, we decided to design a house that incorporated all of the things we felt were important. This was what we called Cabin 01. It was our first design — a small, wooden house that we built as though it was a piece of furniture. Initially, it wasn’t necessarily to be rented out but more so that people could buy it and put it in their backyard.
It was a prefab design that was constructed inside and eventually moved to a wooded plot in the Netherlands’ east. Here, people could see it and experience it before purchase by renting it out. From day one, it was full. A year later, we found another piece of land beside a dyke and designed another house. Both have since been sold.
We currently have four houses to rent and another three being built in the Netherlands, plus a fourth on an island in Sweden. Our process is to find really beautiful locations and design a house that meets the regulations and the surroundings. After renting them out for between one and three years, we sell them so we can build another house.
Our team of three includes myself, my husband and a friend of ours. My husband and I met while studying economics in Rotterdam and both have quite strong ideas about how you can live. While we’re not architects, we started designing houses together, then went to an expert to do the architectural drawings. Our friend is a contractor and, together with my husband, is in charge of the builds while I take care of the rentals.
Our main business concept is that we don’t want to make compromises. We design and build houses that we really like, then sell them. Previously we have worked on commission but don’t really like it because you always have to compromise.
How would you describe the atmosphere and the interior design of the Glass House?
The Glass House is located in a very small village called Epse in the east of the Netherlands and just over an hour’s drive from Amsterdam. It is reached via a very narrow road, with big villas to the right and a 1970s neighbourhood to the left. In between, there is an old forest with huge trees, which is where the Glass House is located. It’s extremely quiet and green, with huge trees and lots of birds. Sometimes you can see deer passing by. That’s your first impression.
Designed like a greenhouse, the Glass House is almost completely made out of glass. So when you are inside, you feel like you are outside. It’s nice when it’s sunny but also wonderful when it’s raining. It’s a gem — a place to be inspired by the natural environment and the way the house interacts with it.
To you personally, what is so special about the Glass House?
It’s very cosy and with plants climbing up and across the steel beams. Everything is green and everywhere you look, you can see the forest. I also like that when you are in the kitchen or sitting at the semi-circular bar, you can interact with the people on the couch.