View of Brink and village

Seen from the street, you wouldn’t tell that the Veenstra family’s pastor’s house has only been there for 10 years. ” People often ask how old this house is and are then dumbfounded when they hear it’s still so new.”

The location on the Brink in the heart of Makkinga is a dream spot. In summer, the sunlight falls beautifully between the leaves of the trees. When winter makes its appearance, and the snow covers the lawns, bushes and branches, it could so be a picture on a Christmas card. Sytze and Esther Veenstra can see all this from the cozy living room in their pastor’s home.

Remodel in old style

Completely built in old style, but new. Only 10 years old is their little home. Sytze, however, has lived on the Brink for nearly 19 years. At the time, his father bought the property. As a refurbisher.
He would remodel that with his sons, in addition to working for their construction company. Sytze, then a bachelor, moved into the house at some point. When he met Esther, she moved in with him.

But a renovation actually proved futile. “The doorways were very low, I bumped my head every so often. And from the room you could see out through the roof tiles,” Esther recalls. The layout was also impractical, including a bedroom with bedsteads at the front of the house. And so the choice for the sledge hammer was quickly made.

I had two requirements: a bathtub and a six-burner stove. For the rest, Sytze was allowed to take care of everything else.

Under the condition that the new house would be built in the old style. Sytze, from his construction background, was able to do a lot together with his father and brothers. “It was ideal: everything could be done in-house. That works very easily.” They also hired acquaintances for the jobs they couldn’t do themselves.

Furniture with a story

In the meantime, Sytze and Esther lived in a shack in the backyard. This is also where daughter Elise was born. Esther left the construction entirely to her husband. “I had two requirements: a bathtub and a six-burner stove. For the rest, he was allowed to take care of everything else. “The adventure in the shack lasted a year and a half, then their new house was ready to live in and it was Esther’s turn. The decor is all
her thing. In the seven years they have lived in their current home, just about every piece of furniture and accessory has already been replaced once. “Only the couch and the wood stove I think are still ‘original,'” Esther reflects.

She likes the country style that the rectory has. ”It should be cozy and cozy. Nice and warm. A house should be lived in, it should not be a museum,” is her view. Together they regularly go “on the strún” past flea markets or thrift stores. That’s where some of their interiors also come from. “Like our dining table. We found that one by accident. He comes from the Carmel Monastery in Drachten. Such stories make a table extra special,” Esther says. A little sanding and their new table was ready for use. ,,I like to give things a
second life,” she continued.

For example, behind the couch are two bedstead doors, which came from the old house. She also once had a stable window from the previous home. That stood as an accessory in the garden until it suddenly disappeared. Sytze: ,,I had used it on a project for a customer. Who was looking for just such a window. No idea it was an accessory with us…” He has since been forgiven.

Custom furniture

Many other pieces of furniture, such as cabinets, TV cabinet and coffee table, are homemade. Esther designs, Sytze makes them. A golden combo, as it turned out, because they are now also eagerly in demand outside the Veenstra home.
Since 2016, they have run Fabryk Design together. A lifestyle label for indoor and outdoor living. Since 2019, the duo has also FBRK. Works founded, a developmental day care and reintegration site in Donkerbroek. Participants and clients collaborate on Fabryk Design’s products, a fantastic combination!

But there is also plenty of work inside the walls of their homes. Once upon a time, Sytze and Esther wanted to refurbish the gigantic basement and furnish it as an extra room. Now – partly for lack of an attic – it serves as storage for stuff.

The Brink used to be the highest point in the village, which can be seen very nicely here

Parsonage house to old style

Because the pastor’s house had to be built in the old style, this meant, among other things, that the front door came in the middle of the house. A long corridor divides the house downstairs into
two. To the left you will find the kitchen and living room. Behind, you enter the large utility room. And on the right you walk to what is now Esther’s hobby and work room. But the future has already been taken into account. “Should we ever run out of money here, we would like to live outside. And this house is suitable for everyone, because this room has a spacious closet with a water connection. So it could be made into a bedroom with a shower,” Sytze explains.

The custom-made staircase halfway down the hall leads to an upper floor with three spacious bedrooms. Both children have their own domain here, and Sytse and Esther’s master bedroom is also very spacious. Sytze picked up the old wooden floor from a customer who wanted to get rid of it. From the dormer they look out over the houses behind them. “The Brink used to be the highest point in the village, which is very visible here. From the second floor we look over everything,” Esther says.

A surprisingly large garden

Among other things, also about the garden. That one is surprisingly large. Every year they have lived there now, it has been spruced up a bit. When Sytze moved here years ago, it was a feral lot. Now the children there have plenty of room to play on the lawn. There are several sitting areas, including on the porch behind the barn. That barn, that was one of Sytze and Esther’s last projects. The shed formerly served as a cattle barn. We refurbished it to barn cum workplace. There is heating and hot water, the old trusses give it a nice atmosphere. You walk right in to the canopy and plop down on your patio!

Who Sytze and Esther Veenstra and their children Elise and Brent.
Where Makkinga.
House built 2008.