I was in an old bookshop in Dublin, of all places, escaping the cold and leafing through a book called The Foraged Home, when I stopped on a spread of an old schoolhouse in Germany and was instantly entranced. I hurried back to my hotel room to do some Google reconnaissance and discovered more to the story:
Tucked in the Mecklenburg countryside, near the rural village of Rensow, the Schoolhouse and a nearby Manor House are the project of Danish/German couple Christina and Knut. The couple was living in Copenhagen, where Christina is from, before finding the late 17th-century Manor House (“almost ruinous,” Christina says) in 2002. “The first years we came here for the weekends,” she says. “We worked on the house, rooms, walls…”, peeling away layers to reveal patinated walls and adding antiques. The couple was well-suited to the task: Christina has a background in fashion (during stints at Harrod’s and Harvey Nichols in London, Princess Diana was one of her clients), and Knut grew up apprenticing to his father’s antiques trade, driving through the German countryside to source pottery and antiques from old farmhouses.
The couple revived the house and saved it from ruin; then, slowly, after a job relocation and the birth of their daughter, then their son, spent more and more time in the house, before settling in full-time with their family. “We decided to try the country life—we could always go back if it did not work out,” Christina says. “Now [that was] nine years ago, and no sign that we’ll move back any time soon.”
They live in the Manor House, really an old farmhouse—and rent out, for vacation lets, rooms in the Manor House as well as the Schoolhouse in the nearby village, which they’ve also redone, all under the name Gutshaus Rensow.
Here’s a look (and many reasons to make a pilgrimage to Rensow).
Photography via Gutshaus Rensow.
The Manor House
According to the guesthouse website, “the house is surrounded by a former English, but now rather wild, park, with centuries-old trees, shy deers, colorful peacocks, music frogs, a singing nightingale called here sprosser, and curious foxes.”
The Old Schoolhouse
And for more rustic favorites in Germany, some available for let, see: