In the prosperous provincial towns, trading centers for rural areas, notables were building appropriate housing. Think of the doctor, notary, mayor and bank managers.
The property "Grotestraat 196" was originally built in 1879 for 1 family. Nowadays the building is divided from inside and has 3 users. On the top floor a private residence with an architectural firm at home (with private entrance, hence the extension on the left rear), a shop on the lower left, and at the bottom right a cozy catering establishment called: "The Gulle Lach".
Richly decorated facades had to spread the wealth. Side and rear were kept simpler. Indoors too, luxury was created by paneling and decorated ceilings with stucco.
The façade was right on the street, they had no front yard. An elevated pavement of stone kept the pedestrian traffic in front of the façade a little distant, so that a little more privacy was created in the house. There was a backyard with driveway along the left side of the house.
Some years later a coach house was built there, which has already been demolished a few decades ago. The garden is now a parking lot.
For all kinds of reasons, including the almost original interior, a visit to "De Gulle Lach" is worthwhile.