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Relaxing Amsterdam Apartment

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…

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.

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!

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!

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.

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)

Posted by decor8 in Home Tours on July 11, 2011

Your comments...

  1. Modern Country Style commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 5:58pm

    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!!


  2. Franca commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 6:29pm

    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 ;)

  3. ann commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 6:29pm

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

  4. seeking the muse commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 6:48pm

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

  5. tiffany commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 8:21pm

    beautiful apartment! the bat-man sketch is perfect!

  6. Caitlin of Wanderlustings commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 9:24pm

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

  7. Elaine commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 9:25pm

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

  8. Kristin johnsen commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 9:46pm

    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!

  9. anna commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 10:11pm

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

  10. Lau de Casalil commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 10:13pm

    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°!!

  11. Amanda commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 10:47pm

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

  12. kerrie commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 10:49pm

    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

  13. Annaleena commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 10:50pm

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

    / Annaleena

  14. Hazel commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:01pm

    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

  15. BODIE and FOU commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:06pm

    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!

  16. Rhiannon commented
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:25pm

    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 !

  17. Raina Kattelson commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 12:20am

    Stunning- love the concrete sections. Very inspiring!

  18. Katie Truelove commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 2:03am

    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!

  19. Zsa Zsa commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 6:39am

    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!

  20. Karyn commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 9:08am

    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!

  21. delo commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 9:17am

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

  22. commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 9:23am

    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!

  23. tinajo commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 9:41am

    Such an amazing place – love it! :-)

  24. Catherine LES VIGNETTES commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 9:47am

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

  25. ilse commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 10:10am

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

  26. STYLIZIMO commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 10:54am

    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!!


  27. Mersudin Forbes commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 11:57am

    What a beautiful place. Looks so cosy!

  28. Lisa Lyons commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 1:47pm

    Love her style…simply chic!


  29. Jennifer commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 2:32pm

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

  30. Ege Denne commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 2:39pm

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

  31. nathalie commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 3:17pm

    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

  32. Masie commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 4:57pm

    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.

  33. Nathalie commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 5:21pm

    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! :)

  34. Radostina Bosseva commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 5:34pm

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

  35. Rosa @ flutterflutter commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 7:17pm

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

  36. Barbara commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 8:41pm

    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!

  37. Sophie M commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 9:12pm

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

  38. Trina : la la Lovely commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 9:29pm

    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

  39. FurnishMyWay commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 9:46pm

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

  40. Lauren commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 11:27pm

    So very pretty.

  41. sécia commented
    July 12th, 2011 at 11:28pm

    truly love the color scheme.


  42. Weekend Project Girl commented
    July 13th, 2011 at 5:48am

    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!

  43. shivangi commented
    July 13th, 2011 at 6:01am

    loving the white industrial chic look!!

  44. designmixer commented
    July 13th, 2011 at 11:20am

    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:)

  45. Cez commented
    July 13th, 2011 at 11:35am

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

  46. Karin A commented
    July 13th, 2011 at 2:56pm

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

  47. hasan commented
    July 13th, 2011 at 3:12pm

    what a nice post!

  48. solovelydecoration commented
    July 13th, 2011 at 11:50pm

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

  49. Justin commented
    July 14th, 2011 at 5:48pm

    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.

  50. Wanda commented
    July 16th, 2011 at 8:04am

    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…

  51. Lauren Kempen commented
    August 9th, 2011 at 11:21am

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

  52. Nathan commented
    January 19th, 2012 at 8:00pm

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

  53. nannette commented
    October 7th, 2012 at 4:14pm

    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 …
    nannette´s last blog post ..A home in Sao Paolo

  54. ilovemyinterior commented
    December 21st, 2014 at 11:43am

    Super appartment! Love this :)
    ilovemyinterior´s last blog post ..Kapstok van steigerhout

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