Relaxing Amsterdam Apartment

July 11, 2011

When I was in Amsterdam recently at our blogger’s event, Meet The Blogger, I met Desiree from the Vosges Paris blog through her friend Karine Kong from online design shop Bodie & Fou. Intrigued by Desiree because she was so enthusiastic, personal and friendly, and since she had reached out to me long before the event, I decided to chat her up a bit. She is quite a passionate decorator! Once back home after the event, she wrote to me about her home and shared some lovely photos of it that got my attention – you’ll see why in two seconds…

Relaxing Amsterdam Apartment

Desiree lives in Amsterdam in an 85 square meter small ground floor apartment with a little garden next to her living room. The building is about 23 years old and was built when the city of Amsterdam started to revitalize the eastern docklands. She is happy to be surrounded by water and history and says, “There are plenty of old warehouses and during my daily shopping I find myself often in former warehouses… I also live very near to the city center which is A+.” Her children are grown and have left home but she is close with her neighbors and colleagues and has a beloved cat called Mister Cheese. She is inspired by Amsterdam and her life there roaming the city, “I love to bicycle through my city… ideas for my home can pop up any moment — from seeing a beautiful piece of furniture to finding an old piece of wood or seeing a bare wall,” explains Desiree.

Relaxing Amsterdam Apartment

Relaxing Amsterdam Apartment

She also loves to find inspiration through reading blogs, interior magazines and books, “You will find them (magazines/books) in every room of my home”. In fact, the decorating idea for her studio came to her one day while considering her vast collection of magazines and how much she enjoys displaying them. Around the same time, she noticed that her local post office was throwing out old tables and she got the idea of displaying her magazines on them. She even found an industrial cart (see image below) outside of the post office destined for the trash that she grabbed and brought home. Score!

Relaxing Amsterdam Apartment

Relaxing Amsterdam Apartment

Relaxing Amsterdam Apartment

Relaxing Amsterdam Apartment

While she loves design, her day job is in a very important, meaningful profession as a social worker where she is not able to decorate but to reach the heart and change lives in a different way. Decorating and blogging help her to use her creativity outside of her important role in helping others in her community. Her life has a good balance that works for her. When it comes to decorating, Desiree doesn’t do it professionally but as a hobby. She simply loves experimenting. “I like to try things out. I can display a set of posters on a wall and leave them there for a few days and then if I still like them I may frame them and give them a permanent spot and if not, I’ll simply remove them and move on,” Desiree says. No stress! Just fun!

Relaxing Amsterdam Apartment

Relaxing Amsterdam Apartment

On the wall in her living room she has installed lots of different things in a single hue since finding a common theme among different objects unifies the collection. “Your home does not need to be too serious. I add things and change them very easily. Someone once told me when I was thinking way to much about what color to add that, “It’s just paint!”, so you can change it again if you don’t like it,” which helped Desiree to not take decorating so seriously.

Relaxing Amsterdam Apartment

Relaxing Amsterdam Apartment

Relaxing Amsterdam Apartment

Relaxing Amsterdam Apartment

This creative lady loves her home mainly because the atmosphere is calm — something she needs after a long day as a social worker which can be quite the opposite! She likes how the rooms flow from one to the next visually, and to do this she keeps the foundation colors the same. Each room has white walls and a concrete focal point. By repeating certain colors and textures, yet using them a bit differently in each room, she is able to create this calm flow throughout the home.

With her color palette being so limited, you may wonder why her home doesn’t feel cold. The secret to making a home that has so much gray, white and black into a cozy abode is to use various shades and finishes (glossy, matte, etc.) and to use lots of texture and mix in natural elements. You can spot everything in her home from recycled rubber to natural wood, vintage wood, fur, glass, concrete, metal, recycled wood, metal and paper — all add texture and life — and is a smart way to inject warmth into an otherwise cool palette. Great trick!

What a lovely apartment in Amsterdam! Thank you dear Desiree for sharing it with us!

(images: desiree and ikea family at home)


  • Reply Modern Country Style July 11, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    As well as her awesome stylishness, I have to add that Desiree is an absolute sweetheart. When I first started blogging about a year ago, she was incredibly kind and welcoming and friendly.

    I almost fell off my chair when I saw she’d chosen to follow my blog!!…and then added it to her sidebar, even though I was very new. THANK YOU, DESIREE!!


  • Reply Franca July 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Wow, so lovely to see desiree’s apartment in one post all together! Love her blog and her style! Xo franca ( the tall Dutch girl at meet the blogger ;)

  • Reply ann July 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    “…an 85 square meter small ground floor apartment”?!?!? That’s NOT small. Otherwise – l.o.v.e.l.y.!

  • Reply seeking the muse July 11, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    What a gorgeous apartment! I love the light, the whitewashed floors and the lovely touches through out the space!

  • Reply tiffany July 11, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    beautiful apartment! the bat-man sketch is perfect!

  • Reply Caitlin of Wanderlustings July 11, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    holy cow! i love that batgirl poster – what an adorable statement piece. checked her blog and have already purchased :) thanks holly!

  • Reply Elaine July 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Cute. Some good ideas! I like the silver pouf with the grey couch. Kinda simple and nice.

  • Reply Kristin johnsen July 11, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Thanks for sharing. So different from what I live in and what I think I can’t live without – but also so very fresh! I love the bedside table/cubbie! I want one!

  • Reply anna July 11, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Wow! very neat! and organized apartment! I love the board that says” do what you love,love what you do”

  • Reply Lau de Casalil July 11, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Very nice to read about Desiree here… and to see her so peacefull and inspiring home corners all together on Decor8… thanks Holly for sharing that beautiful °other deco blogging story°!!

  • Reply Amanda July 11, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    I love an interior that proves white can be warm. Heavenly!

  • Reply kerrie July 11, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    I love how Desiree decorates. I have been following her blog for some time, but I did not know she had grown children! I thought she was younger than me! Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. ox

  • Reply Annaleena July 11, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Thank you for sharing!
    I agree she is really talented and warm person!

    / Annaleena

  • Reply Hazel July 11, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    Her style comes across as so effortless and serene. No wonder she enjoys spending time at home, it is such a calming space! Completely jealous of the colour palette!

    :) Hazel

  • Reply BODIE and FOU July 11, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    Desiree’s home is gorgeous and full of inspiration. Every corner of her home is beautifully styled and perfect in every single way and i cant wait to see what she is going to do with her kitchen once she knows the wall down!
    In addition, she makes the best ravioli pasta I ever tasted…in just 10 min!

  • Reply Rhiannon July 11, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    So lovely to have a peek at Desiree’s stylish and inspirational home – and to learn a bit more about her after meeting her at in Amsterdam.
    And really interesting to see all the different textures and shades within such a limited palette – it looks wonderful !
    I am also now even more determined to somehow get pale floorboards in my house !

  • Reply Raina Kattelson July 12, 2011 at 12:20 am

    Stunning- love the concrete sections. Very inspiring!

  • Reply Katie Truelove July 12, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Yay for a fellow social worker who loves to be creative and design on the side! I really do think it helps so much to have a beautiful, calm environment to come home to. Beautiful place- thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Zsa Zsa July 12, 2011 at 6:39 am

    Awesome! I’ve always had the weakness for white, and Desiree’s apartment makes me love it even more! It’s so stylish and warm. Whoever said all white is blah has not seen this!

  • Reply Karyn July 12, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I’ve always wished I could have a few houses to try different decorating styles. While I love color, there is something so calm, soothing, and beautiful about this mostly white space. Really lovely, Desiree!

  • Reply delo July 12, 2011 at 9:17 am

    You have a lot of talent and taste, an apartment like there is a true haven of peace

  • Reply July 12, 2011 at 9:23 am

    So beautiful all those lovely styled corners. I don’t think Desiree will ever be ready. Through her constant inspiration she will always feel the urge to make changes in her apartment. Desiree: don’t stop!

  • Reply tinajo July 12, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Such an amazing place – love it! :-)

  • Reply Catherine LES VIGNETTES July 12, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I like the way you capture her world. The concrete wall looks so sophisticated with the white frame ! Thnaks for scouting this place.

  • Reply ilse July 12, 2011 at 10:10 am

    I know Desiree and her styling skills are huge ! I just love everything she does !

  • Reply STYLIZIMO July 12, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I have followed her blog for a while now, and I´m amazed by every corner of her home. I love how everything have found their perfect spot, and how each wall look like a piece of art!

    Keep inspiring us, Desiree!!


  • Reply Mersudin Forbes July 12, 2011 at 11:57 am

    What a beautiful place. Looks so cosy!

  • Reply Lisa Lyons July 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Love her style…simply chic!


  • Reply Jennifer July 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Just gorgeous, those colours, so serene and stylish but you’re right not cold at all. Love the table in the second pic down.

  • Reply Ege Denne July 12, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Wow what a bike! I liked this one, normally I avoid all bikes.. ;)

  • Reply nathalie July 12, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    those photos make me feel very peaceful. the simple elements are very soothing to me and the different textures add something sensuous and i love seeing little photos in one single photographie

  • Reply Masie July 12, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    I feel like the Lone Ranger here, but this apartment seems anything but cozy! I would be very sad to have to come home to such a cold space.

  • Reply Nathalie July 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I just absolutely LOVE Dees’ style. It’s simple chic and inspirational at it’s best. And yes (it’s been mentioned before) she’s also a true sweetheart. We first met about 15 years ago ;) and I’m really happy she started blogging to share her creativity with all of us. Keep up the good work Desirée! :)

  • Reply Radostina Bosseva July 12, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Really beautiful place. I love how simple everything is. Thank you, Holly.

  • Reply Rosa @ flutterflutter July 12, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE these shots. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply Barbara July 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    I can see a lovely pair of converse shoes there.!A detail every house needs :)
    That purple quilt is adorable and a lovely touch to this yet beautiful house!

  • Reply Sophie M July 12, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Beautifully layered spaces. I’ve recently done a a post on my own blog on the accents of grey around the home…

  • Reply Trina : la la Lovely July 12, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    So inspiring! Sometimes I get overwhelmed with finishing decorating a room and then I see inspiring homes like this that are simple but so interesting. This is crazy but my big takeaway is the 2 sheepskin rugs that she put together back to back to make a bigger rug. I have that same rug next to my bedside. Another rug is going on my IKEA list.

    As always… thank you for the inspiration!

    BIG XO

  • Reply FurnishMyWay July 12, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Clever use of space throughout the apartment. Her use of the colors white and gray are exemplary.

  • Reply Lauren July 12, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    So very pretty.

  • Reply sécia July 12, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    truly love the color scheme.


  • Reply Weekend Project Girl July 13, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Wow. Beautiful. Perfectly designed with black, white, and grays without feeling cold at all! I’m very impressed! Thank you so much for the post!

  • Reply shivangi July 13, 2011 at 6:01 am

    loving the white industrial chic look!!

  • Reply designmixer July 13, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I get very excited seeing reall living places, I love the way she is not stucked by one style rather experimenting… Thx for sharing these pictures and nice explanation. U can check out my friend’ s istanbul apartment in bosphours which I ve posted few days ago:)

  • Reply Cez July 13, 2011 at 11:35 am

    stunning flat Desiree…wow!!!!!! thanks for her!!!!!

  • Reply Karin A July 13, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Such a beautiful home! I love all the details, so fun and easy to change. :) And her home does feel “warm”. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply hasan July 13, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    what a nice post!

  • Reply solovelydecoration July 13, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    i love the half painted and half concrete walls!
    and all the details
    beautiful house
    bonne soirée *

  • Reply Justin July 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I’m particularly impressed with the rustic table in the first shot and the adorably tatty stools. Like she says on her blog “finding beauty in imperfection”, i would definitely recommend people take a minute to check out her website, really inspirational photos and design ideas over there.

  • Reply Wanda July 16, 2011 at 8:04 am

    What a beautiful pictures!! LOVE the pureness of the atmosphere, it’s early in the saturday morning and I feel soooooooo inspired, nice way to start the day/weekend…

  • Reply Lauren Kempen August 9, 2011 at 11:21 am

    The silver pouf really compliments the gritty cement on the wall. A great contrasting cobination when matched with some gorgeous home accessories!

  • Reply Nathan January 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Great unprocessed concrete walls with all the bug holes and blemishes on show – real integrity

  • Reply nannette October 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I’ll never get enough of these photos. And the great thing is that she changes her interior frequently and makes us wanna watch it again and again. I want to be just like her when I grow up …

  • Reply ilovemyinterior December 21, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Super appartment! Love this :)

  • Reply Alanya Emlak May 23, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    Thank you for sharing!

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