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Homes With Heart: Quirky and Collected Home

Hello everyone! It’s Holly Marder back this month with another gorgeous home for you to peek inside. This month, feast your eyes on the quirky and collected home of Marlous Snijder, the blogger behind Planet Fur and founder of Oh Marie! magazine. Filled with thrifted treasures and bold bursts of colour, this home tour is sure to leave you with a smile and have you heading for your nearest thrift shop, guaranteed!

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Marlous and her husband Pim were looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and escape to the country when they first laid eyes on a semi-attached 150m2 house, built in the 80s, and all plans fell by the wayside. “We fell in love instantly, though it desperately needed to be modernized. The kitchen was brown, the brick walls in the living room were still brick coloured. There were outdated brown tiles on the hallway floor, but boy, it was love at first sight,” Marlous admits. The bright, spacious and promising space became theirs and renovations began swiftly, lasting 3 months. With the help of friends and family, the kitchen and floors were replaced, the walls were freshly painted, and huge amounts of outdated wallpaper were removed. 

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“Located at the edge of our city, on one of its oldest roads that leads to the countryside, we now have best of both worlds: the advantages of the city, but the calm and quiet of the countryside too,” Marlous says. “I can’t exactly point out why, but this house gives us the ultimate feeling of being home. We love, love it. It’s got some kind of x-factor.”

With an eye for unique vintage finds and a penchant for creating a happy yet calming space, Marlous regards decorating her home as a way of life.  “Designing the interior isn’t just the thing I do to pass time with. It’s much, much more than that. Creating a still life that looks good and balanced is like oxygen to me,” she explains. “My home is my happy place, my safe zone. I look at my surroundings like a photographer that is about to take a picture: everything needs to be in place, the image needs to be right. I have a need to see the beauty in things, no matter how small. I suppose it’s a way of shielding myself against the ugliness in this world. Picking out ‘gestures of beauty’, no matter how small, makes me a happy person. So, interior design is more a way of life than just a hobby or a job.”

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In her home, Marlous is drawn to decorating with vintage finds and bright colours, mixing styles and hues to her heart’s content until she finds balance and harmony. “My style is pretty eclectic and it’s always a challenge to make a beautiful blend of all those different items from different eras together. It’s a nice and very rewarding challenge though. I love the whole concept of recycling and that one man’s trash can be another man’s treasure.” And though her style has evolved and shaped over time, Marlous wasn’t always so sure about her own aesthetic.

“It took a while for me to realize that this odd-bod bunch of styles really is my style. I really felt my style was all over the place and not very ‘recognizable’ for an outsider,” she admits.

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“Over the years, I have come to accept the fact that my style is best described as an odd mix of different styles, ‘eclectic’ would best describe it,” she says. “It’s why I can fall for a watermelon coloured 80s vase and a retro blue-and-white jug on one second-hand shopping day. I’ve always followed my heart when it came to decorating though: no matter how many ‘rules of styling’ (if there is such a thing) I was breaking. If something makes my heart leap for joy, I take it home and integrate it into my interior.” 

Her regular second-hand shopping sprees, the thrill of finding something unique and integrating it into her eclectic interior is what brings Marlous the most joy in designing her home’s interior.

“Since thrift finds are generally pretty unique, I can create my own, unique and personal interior blend with items that have a past life and have a kind of spirit,” she says. “My second-hand finds also inspire me for little easy DIY projects, such as block stamping a vintage tablecloth, or making cushion covers out of old bed sheets.” 

Marlous’ trick to finding balance in her eclectic interior is combining her colourful, thrifted finds with clean, contemporary lines. “Because my home accessories are brightly coloured, sometimes a bit kitsch and slightly whimsical, I have kept the home’s base (floors/walls) white or neutral like a white canvas. And though she loves to display all of her treasures, she prefers to keep clutter at bay. “This is why I combine vintage with contemporary.” she explains. “For example, the Moldavian kilim is paired with our invisible Kartell side table. The table is modern and sleek and because of its ‘invisibility’ it doesn’t outshine the kilim it stands on. In my opinion an eclectic mix of accessories works best on a neutral or modest base.”

Though spontaneous in nature, Marlous has learned to be patient when it comes to designing her interior, being elective and bringing home the right pieces. “I’m a very impatient person, so it took some years and mistakes to learn, but there’s nothing more satisfactory than the search of that perfect piece and the thrill of finding it.” 

The rug in the couple’s living room was the result of patience and persistence. “I have been craving for a Moldavian kilim since I don’t know when, so when we bought the house, the first thing we did was purchase the rug in the living room,” she says. “In fact, when we found it, we were heartbroken to learn that someone had already reserved it because we instantly fell in love with this particular pattern. Eventually it turned out to be too big for their home and it was returned. I guess it was meant to be!” 

Other favourite pieces in the couple’s living room include a vintage Panthella semi-circular shade lamp by Verner Panton and the vintage zebra rocker. “Years ago I fell for this super-cute looking rocking zebra. There was something in his expression that I really liked. Like he appealed to my inner child or something. Now that I think about it: my favourite items are often animal-shaped.” 

“I have always had a love for the quirky, playful, colourful and eclectic. Items that immediately catch my eye often have a toy-like appearance, they often even come from the children’s department of a thrift shop. I’m not sure why I like those so much. Perhaps I never let go of my inner child.” 

The couple’s bright yellow cabinet is an absolute favourite. “It was already yellow when I found it. I was looking for a cabinet like it when I stumbled upon this one in a second hand store. The guy at the store couldn’t believe his ears when I told him it would stay yellow!”

Some of Marlous’ favourite thrift shop finds are the various artworks adorning her walls. “I have a love for old, thrifted prints and posters, we mounted my most favourite ones above the dinner table.” Other favourite pieces of art are the rare vintage Dick Bruna posters Marlous thrifted recently. “I found five of them, stashed in a corner of a thrift shop for €0.20 each. I had to pinch myself when I saw Dick Bruna’s signature on the corner of each poster. I walk on sunshine for days when I find something like that.”

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The couple’s dining room combines delicate vintage finds with wooden dining chairs by the well known Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek and contemporary white drum pendant lights overhead. In the kitchen, a baby blue Smeg fridge inspired a kitchen overhaul. “We actually designed our kitchen around our baby-blue Smeg. We bought it when we moved into a temporary home and so we had to think of a way of integrating it into our new kitchen plan.”

Though much of her home is comprised of inexpensive pieces from second hand shops and vintage markets, Marlous appreciates a splurge is sometimes necessary for the right piece. The couple decided to invest in a good quality designer bed for their new baby, the ‘Kili’ bed by Sebra, while the rest of the room decor comes from second hand shops, Etsy or Marktplaats (the Dutch version of Craigslist).  “I love the way the room worked out and I like the fact that, after much debate, we went for the Kili bed there. We don’t often spend money on something so expensive, but I’m glad we did this time!”

The couple’s baby daughter Jet’s bedroom mixes both bright and pastel hues against a calming white backdrop. The antique rag rug was an Etsy find from Vintage Home Stories.

One of Marlous’ favourite baby room features the ‘ABC of birds’ print from Etsy seller Geninne. “She sold it years ago in her shop. When I found out she didn’t sell it anymore, I realized how much I wanted to have it. When she announced on Instagram that it was back in her shop again, I literally didn’t wait a second and purchased it right away.”

In their own bedroom next door, the couple prefer a neutral palette, offset by Scrapwood Wallpaper by Studio Ditte, which they brought along from their previous home. 

On the same floor, the couple enjoy a cheerful home office, though it wasn’t always that way. “The sloping ceilings we have at the first floor were a real design challenge. They cast a shadow over everything and, during winter especially our workroom was pretty gloomy and not a nice spot to work. In the end, we replaced the previous black worktable with a white one and moved it in front of the window. We also papered the wall underneath the sloping part with a brighter pattern.”

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Marlous finds her inspiration in blogs, magazines and interior books. “My blogger friends are very inspiring people because they ‘feed’ my creative flow. They make me feel home in the creative community and feeling good is the best way for ideas to flow,” she says.  “One of the first interior books I bought featured the home of Emily Chalmers and I think her great sense of style and the way she blends all kinds of different styles together planted the seed for my current interior style.”

Marlous enjoys nothing more than filling her home with rescued items and creating an ever-evolving, though always inviting home for her growing family. “Our interior will always be changing.” she says. “It’s so very different from the 2010 version. Or the February 2014 version! As I’m currently on maternity leave, I have finally time to work on DIY projects again and to spend my days blogging, photographing, writing and making exiting new creative plans for the future.”

So what’s Marlous’ secret to decorating? “I don’t think one is ever too old to put playful, colourful things into their home, and I also don’t think that there are exact rules that need to be followed when decorating. It’s more important to just follow your heart and surround yourself with things you like to look at. I don’t select items especially on their appearance to make it easy to ‘merge’ them. The only thing the items in our home have in common is that they stole my heart.”

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I hope you guys enjoyed touring Marlous’ home! I’ll be back next month with another inspiring home. But before I sign off, tell me: what do you love about Marlous’ home? Love her mix and match style, or too quirky and colourful for you? I’d love to read your thoughts, and if you spot anything you love, feel free to ask Marlous directly in the comments section below.

- Holly

Posted in Homes With Heart on September 23, 2014

Homes with Heart: Scandinavian Pretty Home Tour

If you love sweet pastels, Scandinavian style and the domestic talent that lies behind the blog Yvestown, then you’ll love this home tour because today I am taking you through Yvonne Eijkenduin’s beautiful Belgian abode. Hi guys, it’s Holly Marder back this month on decor8 with another home that’s nothing short of inspirational for my monthly Homes with Heart column. It’s fresh, summery and brimming over with heart. Let’s go, oh and you can click on any image to enlarge and pin!

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Photographer, blogger and author of the book Yvestown in de Keuken, Yvonne and husband Boris have poured their heart and soul over the past 6 years renovating their 1896 home on the Belgian border. Originally a six bedroom family home, the house was built for a family and their next door brewery. More than a century after it was first built, the Dutch couple (the home’s third owners) have tackled one section of the property at a time, reviving the home’s own original features and creating a space that exudes love, light and Yvonne’s feminine sense of style.

Whimsical florals layered upon a fresh white base set the stage for a striking collection of vintage finds as well as contemporary pieces. And though Yvonne can’t quite pinpoint the look of her interior to any singular style, she agrees with “Scandinavian Pretty”, a description once made of her home by Joanna Copestick, co-author of Decorate, in which Yvonne’s home featured. “It’s mix ‘n’ match, blending Scandinavian and English design styles,” she says.

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The first room in the house for renovating was the kitchen, undergoing a fresh color scheme of crisp white and blue, with hints of red, pink and mint green weaving it’s way through accessories and wallpaper. A zinc-topped kitchen island, open shelving and a traditional range hood gives the room a country look and feel, while wooden countertops, simple white cabinetry and clean lines make for a fuss-free, contemporary country kitchen. The fireplace doubles up as storage, where the couple stash cookbooks and mason jars. “I wanted too have a clean kitchen, that wasn’t too girly, mixing industrial, antique and modern styles,” says Yvonne. The blue door in the kitchen leads to the cheerful guest bathroom, employing a palette of pale blue and white, with charming Portuguese tiling underfoot.

Off the kitchen and in the mud room, a favourite piece adorns a Cath Kidston clad wall, Yvonne’s Tala Vegetable Rack which she picked up in an antiques shop on a trip to the UK. The rack is used to store the couple’s fruit and vegetables and has become one of their favourite vintage finds. “I love that it is in my favourite fire engine red and it looks so great against the floral wallpaper in our mud room. It’s very useful but also very photogenic.” Through the mudroom and into the back garden, Yvonne has poured her love of gardening into a thriving space offering fruits, vegetables and flowers in abundance.

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The living room is the couple’s most recent project. Walls were painted a soft creamy colour to add warmth to the large space, while white wooden floors and sporadic pops of pink make for a fresh and feminine space. A penchant for combining furniture styles, and a special sway towards vintage finds, the room effortlessly strikes the balance between the old and the new. Natural weave rugs ground each area and add texture to the space, while the couple’s mantle, refurbished with a fresh coat of paint, Cath Kidston wallpaper and a wood burning stove, breaks the space between the living and dining and creates a focal point. The vintage 1920s Ercol chair is a favourite.

“A vintage Ercol chair was on my wishlist for a very long time but I couldn’t find one in the Netherlands because they’re very British. I kept track of online marketplaces until I found one from a man who was selling his for an absolute steal at just 50 euros.” Yvonne had it reupholstered and it has found a permanent home in the couple’s living room. “I like the design, it’s quite Scandinavian in shape but it’s actually a quintessentially British piece. I always like to mix Nordic pieces with English, and it’s funny because the chair seems to have both of these qualities.”

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The newly renovated dining room features a pastel pink painted hutch custom made out of repurposed vintage wood, accented by a spray of vintage plates. “I think plates are a very nice decorating alternative instead of paintings and art. Sometimes you don’t want to eat off a pretty plate but would rather hang it on the wall because it’s a piece of art.” Yvonne has combined both new plates with favourite vintage pieces to modernise an old fashioned concept. The hutch houses a precious collection of vintage china which she has collected over several years. Yvonne began her collection of 1920s Johnson Bros china when they were relatively unpopular and she now has a complete set of what has become a rather valuable collection. “I was recently in the UK and was at a little antique shop that was asking about 15 pounds per plate. I feel as if I have a gold mine in my cabinet now!”

A vibrant acrylic painting in this space makes a striking statement atop a contemporary sideboard, a vignette which offsets the farmhouse farmhouse feel of the rest of the room.

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The second living space is where the couple come to relax, read and unwind. The piece of art above the piano is a piece by a close friend of Eijkenduijn’s, Dutch artist Auk van Hilten.

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Yvonne runs her blog Yvestown from the light and sunny front room, which features a French antique round table and mix of vintage chairs. Some of Yvonne’s favourite finds are her vintage Eames Bertoya wire chairs which she found on the Dutch online marketplace, Marktplaats. “I have wanted to buy a pair for quite some time because they are such a lovely design. When I finally found some for sale they were selling them in a set of four so I shared the purchase with a friend and we each kept two,” Yvonne explains. “In a way they are not really farmhouse vintage which is a style I like, but they compliment the rest of the pieces. They are still vintage but they have very clean lines and therefore go with a lot of things.”

The fire engine red bench is another favourite, the ‘Småland’ bench by the Swedish designer Yngve Ekstrom, scouted for Yvonne by her blogger pal Caroline from Lille Lykke. “I loved it immediately for it’s shape and the bentwood feel and went to pick it up right away for an absolute bargain, much less than it is worth.” Yvonne kept it’s vibrant red colour to add contrast to a wall of Cath Kidston floral wallpaper. “Every room in my home needs a bit of red to offset all the pastel colours.”

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Delicate floral wallpapers by Cath Kidston, Eijkenduijn’s favorite designer, can be seen throughout the couple’s home, bringing each space together to form one harmonious picture derived from a palette of pastels. “I just love her aesthetic, her clever floral patterns for the modern day women,” she says. “Cath Kidston is great for mixing and matching, and in combination with a lot of white.”

Eijkenduijn owes her interior design success to understanding her own style. “I know my style. I stick to the palette (white, pink, red, blue, green) and style and it just works,” she says. “If you have a good concept and it flows, stick to your guns.”

So what’s Yvonne’s secret when it comes to combining vintage pieces with newer items? “If you want to mix modern vintage with antique vintage, you have to make sure the lines are very clean. I don’t have a lot of frilly antiques, but I go for the cleaner lines with that Scandinavian feel to them.”

So guys! What do you think? I have visited Yvonne’s home several times now and never fail to be inspired by her consistent sense of style and all round love of interiors. Ah, and her cooking! Make sure you get your hands on a copy of her book. She has some delicious recipes and fabulous interior inspiration in there too.

Spot anything you love? Feel free to ask about it in the comments section below! - Holly

(photos/text: holly marder with the exception of 1st image by Yvonne Eijkenduijn)

Posted in Home Tours, Homes With Heart on August 07, 2014

Homes With Heart: Classical Modern Family Home

Hi guys, do you want to see another inspiring home this month shot for decor8, one that is positively dripping in deep blue and grey tones and classical modern style? It’s Holly Marder and I’m here with my Homes With Heart column to show you another gorgeous space that I styled and photographed. Ready? Let’s go!

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Dutch designer, freelance editor and stylist Haikje Verberk and her partner Rik Lebouille immediately fell for the authentic 1920’s detailing of their South Holland row house and purchased it within a week of their first viewing, turning it into a cozy yet cool and ultra sophisticated home for their family of four.

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“Though the house was in a very original state, in that all the old authentic details were still intact, there was no central heating, we had to renew the electrics and rebuild the kitchen and bathroom. Everything needed to be updated. But that was a beautiful chance to create our own perfect home.” The renovation took four months, revealing a fresh new kitchen, new floors throughout, smooth plastered walls and a blank but beautiful canvas upon which the designer could decorate. Expecting the couple’s second child, she was very motivated to get their family home up to scratch before the arrival of their daughter. The couple managed to unpack and decorate their home in the two short months after having moved in, just in time to welcome baby Fiene into the world.

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I still don’t know how we managed to do so much in that short period, but we did,” Verberk marvels. To speed the process along and ensure as much was done as possible in the time frame they were working with, Verberk created moodboards of every room mapping out her ideas and made organisation a priority, preparing as much as possible before the move so all that was left was the decorating. With just the finishing touches yet to be realised, the couple had created a warm, personal and contemporary yet cozy place to call home.

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 “To this day we are very happy with the way we remodeled our house. We preserved the beautiful old details while adding the comforts of central heating, a luxurious kitchen and bathroom in exactly the way we wanted,” Verberk says. But like many renovations, this one also came with its fair share of obstacles. “The entire renovation was a challenge,” confesses Verberk, “We had to design and decide how we wanted the house in a very short period of time.” To speed the creative process up, the designer prepared drawings from the layout including all of the furniture placement, alongside the mood boards she had created for each room. “In this way we knew exactly what needed to be done in every room from sockets to lighting points to which colours or wallpaper were to go on each wall.” 

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The couple infused their home with a contemporary take on an essentially classical aesthetic. “I consider myself a contemporary romantic. I like to design new contemporary products which find their inspiration in old products or craftsmanship,” Verberk says.

The first styling project Verberk undertook in her new home was the feature wall in the dining room laden with custom consoles displaying favourite items. “I am a collector and I like to display precious little items in a special way,” Verberk explains. “My uncle Thijs is a carpenter and can make the most beautiful things with his hands, such as these consoles. I liked the museum kind of feel it gives the items you display on them so I decided to do a whole wall with them. Everybody loves them and they are so popular now that my uncle even makes them on demand.”

Original paneled sliding doors lead from the dining room through to the living room at the front of the house. The couple’s affinity for classical modern style continues into this space, with cool blue and grey tones setting the stage for a striking collection of antique plates above the sofa. Mostly flea and antique market finds, Verberk collected the plates during market trips with her mother. One piece is a particular favourite, a plate which dates back 39 years to Lebouille’s birth. A mix of design items and marketplace finds, the room is a blend of the old and the new with Verberk’s signature classical modern aesthetic.

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The children enjoy separate bedrooms on the first floor infused with natural light. The couple’s bedroom on the same floor is a serene space of crisp whites and grey tones throughout.

The designer, a graduate of The Design Academy Eindhoven, has infused her home with the product that began as her graduation project and led to her career in interior styling and design, window and wall stickers. “At the Academy I was fascinated by lace, which is how my collection window stickers started. I wanted to give old lace curtains a new and fresh look and designed a stylized lace sticker for on a window. It was instantly a big success and picked up by the magazines. A dream start for a young designer and now 10 years later the Lace window sticker is still one of the bestsellers from the collection!” The stickers can be seen on the living room windows and in all the bedrooms.

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Upstairs in her studio is where Verberk is her happiest, surrounded by creativity and the tools needed for making and designing her stickers and various other projects. “The room has a cozy feel and a nice view of the street below,” she says. “I have a great passion for design and decorating and am happiest when I create something beautiful.” The pixeled floral wallpaper behind the custom made craft supplies cabinet are a favourite feature.

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Despite the rush to create a cozy and inviting home for their growing family, Verberk and Lebouille are ecstatic with the results of their home remodel, “We are absolutely in love with our whole house. It has everything we ever wanted from a house and feels very much our own.”

So guys, what do you think? If you spotted anything you love or have any questions, feel free to ask Haikje in the comments section below. See you back here next month for a beautiful tour of a Scandinavian pretty country home in Belgium. – Holly

(images/text: holly marder)

Posted in Homes With Heart on July 07, 2014

Homes With Heart: Dutch Design Duo Family Home

Hey guys! Hope you’re ready for some Dutch interior design inspiration because today I (Holly Marder, your Homes With Heart monthly columnist on decor8) am taking you through the home of an inspirational young design couple’s home filled with pastel tones, unique one-of-a-kind finds and lots and lots of heart. Let’s go!

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Design duo Tineke Beunders and Nathan Wierink, behind the Dutch label Ontwerpduo, live within meters of their design studio, making their Eindhoven, Netherlands, family home as practical as it is pretty. With a flair for design in all it’s forms, the couple have infused their modern home with quirky details and pops of colour, exercising restraint when it comes to the details. “We both love a clutter free home. The workshop is already enough mess during the day, so there shouldn’t be too many things in the house,” Beunders says. “We like things that have a function and are beautiful at the same time.”

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The couple began their design label while they were still studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven and having built up a network in an around Eindhoven, they decided to stay put and love the creative energy that surrounds their home town. Having worked together for 10 of the fourteen years they have been a couple, the duo’s home is testament to their refined and perfectly aligned sense of style. “We developed our style more or less together. In fact, design choices at home is something we never argue about,” Beunders says.

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At home, they endorse their own designs as well as the work of fellow designers. “All of our belongings have a story attached to them. Rather than just buying stuff, we have traded work with other designers, searched long and hard for the right pieces on Marktplaats or at second hand fairs, made things ourselves, or had things given to us by friends.”

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When it comes to colour, the couple prefer to go all out in their studio using signature hues of dark grey, blues and pastels in their designs, keeping colour in their home sporadic and spontaneous. “Colour in our home is less important than it is in our work, as our use of colour is something that people recognize us for,” Beunders explains. “The colour in our house is less thought-out than in our work. Of course colour needs to be there, but the house also needs to be light and white.” The couple painted the concrete floors of their newly built home a subtle shade of pink, which slightly offsets the white but doesn’t compromise on the natural light on their interior. In their bedroom, they prefer neutral tones and natural materials, while the children’s bedrooms are a little more outspoken. “We like archetypes, so used reddish/pink for our little girl, and blues for our baby boy.”

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The couple combine their design know how to come up with their own unique ideas at home. “While living in your house, you notice things that would be more convenient, functional, cosy or light, etc,” Beunders says. “And because we can make so much ourselves, we can really make the house work well for us.”

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All over the house are concepts they devised out of a particular need or desire, such as their built-in bed, a favourite for the design duo. “We have a very weird bedroom. The 2×5 meter space was the only room in the house which would accommodate a double bed and a wardrobe, so Nathan built our bed between two walls, with curtains at the end of the bed for privacy and also a kind of luxury,” Beunders explains. “It feels very large, despite the size, but it also turns out to be a very useful bed because the baby can’t fall out of it. In the weekend we love to spend our morning hours all together here.”

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The couple also enjoy meal times together around the dinner table, the Slim Table by Bertjan Pot for Arco, which is surrounded by industrial style dining chairs. When not conceptualizing design at work, Beunders enjoys nothing more than preparing wholesome meals in the family’s contemporary kitchen. “The house came with the kitchen. We are lucky it is white,” she says. Warm wood tones, pops of colour and striking earthenware vessels brighten up the simple, white and grey modern affair.

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A penchant for industrial style continues to the living room, where the couple display all their favourite knick knacks in, on and around a cabinet filled with old zinc boxes from the metal industry in their surrounding neighbourhood. Above the cabinet hangs the couple’s most prized piece of art, a self drawn map illustrating all of the bike routes they have taken together over the years through Europe.

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Quirky and original design combines with vintage and second-hand finds, while products and prototypes from their own collection have also found their way into the savvy young couple’s interior. The coffee table configuration is their own design they came up with for the dutch brand Pode. The rug in the living room was an Etsy find.

In their newly built abode, pastels, muted tones and the odd shock of dark colour breathe life into what is now the warm and bright home of a fun-loving family of four.

So tell me: what did you love about Tineke and Nathan’s home? I always love to read your comments. I’ll be back for another Homes With Heart later this month. See you then! – Holly

(Photographs, styling and text by Holly Marder)

Posted in Home Tours, Homes With Heart on June 06, 2014

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