Skip to content

Monochrome Dutch Family Home Tour

Hello, it’s Holly Marder with another Homes With Heart column and this time I’m touring you through a sleek Scandinavian style home belonging to a Dutch graphic designer and her family. Ready for the tour? Having grown up in a dark house laden with thick carpeting, dark walls, persian rugs and heavy mahogany furniture, graphic designer Femke Brooks finds herself being drawn to clean, contemporary lines, open spaces and a monochrome colour palette. In the Scandinavian inspired home she shares with her husband and son in Tilburg, The Netherlands, northern influences form the primary components.

marder4

“Simplicity and use of light are two of the things that inspire me most about Scandinavian homes,” Femke says. Emphasizing her home’s abundance of natural light and spacious floor plan, she has kept furnishings and accessories to a bare minimum.

marder2

marder3

marder1

Materials such as copper, wood, concrete and wool, simplicity of design and geometric elements are right at home in the designers minimalistic abode. When it comes to colour, Femke prefers to employ shades of grey upon crisp whites and elements of black for high contrast. Wooden accents and soft textures add warmth and depth to the space. “The combination of white, grey and black has something robust and tough about it, but more than that, these shades combined create a sense of space and light,” Femke says.

marder5

marder6

marder7

marder8

Femke enjoys nothing more than decorating her home, drawing inspiration from the changing seasons. “Each season has a certain style, and I really enjoy styling for the different times of the year. I try to involve my little boy in the decorating process.”

marder10 (click to enlarge)

marder20

marder12

marder9

Styled vignettes create little areas of interest throughout her home. “When I put together a still life, I try to incorporate different heights, shades and textures but the end result is never too busy,” Femke explains. The designer also enjoys creating things for her own home, and many of the graphic prints found throughout the space were the creation of Femke and her Paqhuis business partner Karlijn de Jong. Femke also made the artwork above the dresser in the living room.

marder17

marder21

Femke draws much of her inspiration from the Dutch design blog April and May for the simplicity of style the blog represents, as well as Pinterest, but the Scandinavian aesthetic never ceases to offer inspiration.

When Femke moved into her partner’s bachelor pad, there was absolutely nothing in it but a couch and a table. It was cold and sterile and has taken the most part of two years for Femke to inject a sense of warmth and cosiness to the large space. “I began with accessories, such as cushions, throws, rugs and brought in more wood,” she explains, and though she has always been drawn to characteristic homes with older architectural details the 1970s built home was lacking, feels she has made the best of the space and architectural style of the house.

marder16

marder14

marder11

marder18

marder13

 

GET THE LOOK:
Spot something that you love? Here are some of the items in Femke’s home:
Sofa: Sur & Plus. Coffee Table: Restyle XL. Cushions living room, Sideboard “Besta” Living room, Grey hooks hallway, White and copper vase on grey stool hallway (DIY project): IKEA. Lamp on sideboard: Tierlantijn. Wooden hand: Hay. Dining table: Restyle XL. Lamps dining room, Wall colour bedroom: ‘Antraciet’ and Wall colour kids & dining room: ‘Vapeur': Karwei. Chairs dining room: Verner Panton (replica). Lamp entrance: Hema. Kids bed & dresser: Coming Kids. Rug bedroom: House Doctor. Button coat hook: HK Living.

So what do you love about this contemporary, monochromatic space? See you next month for another installment of Homes with Heart! – Holly Marder.

(text/images: holly marder)

Posted in Home Tours on January 30, 2014

Our Baby Boy’s Nursery Before + After

This is a very exciting post to write, especially since today begins week 40 of my pregnancy (I’m due any day now!). In fact, this post is right up there one that I wrote last summer: My Biggest News Yet. I honestly cannot wait to show you our baby boy’s finished nursery and a few shots of pregnant me.

babyroom3

Other than a custom made roman shade, this room is all set. My husband and I finished it a few weeks ago but needed to get everything up on the walls – so we did that part last week. I wanted so badly to finish the room before our baby boy arrives so to have met that goal, amidst moving into a new home, made me unbelievably happy. Like it’s the first thing I accomplished as his mom. He won’t be sleeping in the room for the first 4 months but in a bassinet near our bed, but at least when I feed and change him, and when we play and have other babies over to play with him (like his niece who was born last January), we’ll all have a cheerful space to enjoy as a family and it’s not a full-on construction site so I really hustled to put our little guy first and to get this room finished along with our bedroom so the back of the house where we all will sleep and enjoy those first moments after birth will be chaos-free and baby/midwife-friendly.

babyroom8

I need to first shout out someone extremely special to me for making all of this come true because I never would have been able to pull this room together on my own. My husband! He has been amazing – helping to get everything prepped and he even styled some of the baby’s room and picked out lots of the art (he made the star wars art using a shadow box frame and vintage characters, bought the art showing the moon against the black sky at an indie fair last month and he framed a favorite vintage German plane illustration to the left of the window). He also gave me the idea to washi tape some of the prints on our little gallery wall to make it more casual and creative and so it can be versatile for when our son gets older, we can swap out images and there aren’t a thousand holes in the wall. He also bought and added little things dotted about here and there, including a few bits from his own boyhood, which made decorating the room so much more personal and loving for us both. I feel so glad that he willingly jumped in and wanted to be part of it all. I didn’t even have to ask or beg or bribe him! He put all of the furniture together and in place too – which was an enormous help. I owe so much to my husband for making this baby room a cozy haven. Now I can go into labor and delivery with a big smile on my face because everything is finished  and I no longer feel like my house looks like a hurricane hit it. Everything is peaceful and boxes are nearly unpacked in every room – I feel very zen. To top it off, he photographed the room and took a bunch of pregnancy photos of me, most of those we’ll keep private and for family, but some are included below. I can’t stop bragging, seriously, thank you Thorsten!

BEFORE: Okay so here is where we started (below). This was taken in November when we got the keys to our new place (we rent but received full written permission to remodel as long as the owner approved). At this time, the walls were a mess – covered with old, stained raufasertapete (wood chip wallpaper with millions of lumpy bumps), dirty trim in off-white and a very old vinyl linoleum fake wood floor that was not only peeling up in places and scratched to death, but was almost a glossy orange and was super shiny so you could see every flaw. It was also installed on floors that were never evened out so it felt a little like you’d had too much wine when you walked in.

before_decor8

before_decor82

Once I saw what I was up against, I started to cry. Then I started to doubt myself. Then I started to doubt that things would get done in time. Then I cried again. Then I started to brainstorm. I’m very visual so I got started with a mood board first, you can see it below. This part of the process chilled me the hell out because honestly, I wasn’t feeling very zen when I looked at our new place and realized that every single room needed work.

ourbabyboyroom_decor8

This mood board (above) inspired the room, as detailed in this post: Decorating Our Baby’s Room: Part One. In that post, I’ve included the 12 steps that I took to pull to the room together in case you need some help. You can click on the mood board to enlarge it if you want to examine the details.

DURING: Here is a photo showing our progress. The raufasertapete/wood chip paper was stripped, the walls were smoothed and primed, glattvlies was expertly applied (we hired out for this work!) and all seams removed, then two coats of Farrow & Ball’s “Cabbage White” were applied. Walls here are very expensive to renovate, each room (for us at least) cost around 800 Euros for this process. If we wanted to have the walls completely smoothed out (drywall process like in the states), it would have been several hundred more and could potentially start to crack since the walls are over 110 years old in this house. Glattvlies was the perfect solution. The trim, door and ceilings were painted crisp white. I had Ferm Living’s “Kite” wallpaper installed only around the window for a bit of pattern and contrast. You’ll see that in a minute…

babyroom_during

After all of the paint and wallpaper was complete by a local painter, our carpenter came to install our new oak plank (eco!) floors from Weitzer Parkett. I choose them but thankfully the lady who owns this house paid for the flooring and installation for the back of the house where eco-oak flooring was both needed and installed (our bedroom, baby’s room, hallway, eating nook, guest bedroom), this was for around 780 square feet of flooring, including sound proofing and leveling them out. I selected the flooring out of around 30 different samples and I love it – it’s gorgeous. The best thing about wood, outside of how natural it looks, is that it’s so much warmer and lasts ages longer than laminate. Laminate is a huge trend in Germany – it seems all apartments have it and though it’s certainly not horrible, real wood is the better and more affordable flooring long term. We’ve had extremely cold weather over the past week and the floors are always warm and our heat is barely on because of the flooring.

floors1

oakfloors

After the flooring was installed in the back of the house, it was time to clean the room, unpack the new furniture and put it all together (a huge thanks to my husband Thorsten and his friend Alexander for their hard work putting everything together on Christmas Day for me! :) Here’s the first piece of furniture, the eco-friendly Oeuf Sparrow Crib in White, that they placed in the room. This was the starting point for me to begin decorating. This was my dream piece for the room, so it had to go in place first. In fact, I always place the most important/focal piece in a room FIRST and build around it. Do you do that too?

timetodecorate_decor8

AFTER: Next came everything else! Here is how the rooms looks AFTER. I will link the major brands below but if I miss anything, just ask me in the comments section and I’ll provide brands and links if I can recall them all! Some things I repurposed from other rooms in our home (like the black Eames rocker), the pendant (which was formerly in the guest bedroom) and the wooden task lamp (this was in my office).

after

detailsholly1

after2

babyroomholly3

babyroom6

babyroom15

babyroom11

hollybecker_after

babyroom16

 

after3

 

babyroomholly1

babyroom14

 

meprego2

babyroom1

babyroom4

meprego

babyroom13

babyroom19

babyroom2

 

details

babyroom10

pregome

babyroom12

More links to explore that relate to this room:

* Nursery images that inspired me that I wrote about are here.

* My Pinterest mood board, which was kept “private” until today. Pinterest is a great place to create a private board and to pin your inspirations while you’re working on a project that you don’t want to share with the whole world. You could once add only 3 private boards, but now you can add 6 – yeah!

* A  progress update on the room renovation was blogged about: Baby Boy’s Room – Progress

* Essential baby things that you see in this room above: Baby Essentials For The First Year

* Having a baby? My top tips on how to decorate a nursery: How To Decorate a Baby’s Room

after_hollybecker

SOURCE LIST:

Paint: Farrow & Ball “Cabbage White” which changes with the light – it’s usually pale mint green but can change to a gray or even blue depending on the time of the day. It’s wonderful!

Crib: Oeuf “Sparrow” Crib in White

Bookcase: Ouef Mini Library in White/Baltic Birch

Dresser with changing table top: Oliver Furniture “Nursery Dresser” in White

Wooden Closet: Car Moebel

Felt Gum Ball Rug: Olli Ella (custom ordered in colors that I wanted)

Flokati Rug: Easy Carpet (on ebay.de)

Nursing Chair: Olli Ella (custom ordered with a natural base which is not typically available and in dove gray/cream)

Eames Rocker: I brought this in from our living room; you can get them at DWR or just google them.

Face Storage Boxes, wall boxes above dresser, bear quilt & wallpaper: Ferm Living

School chart above crib: Vintage, I bought this at a local flea market

House-shaped handmade raffia storage box: RICE “airport”

Pendant: White paper, unknown. When I remember, I’ll let you know!

So, what do you think? I am soooo happy with this room. I can’t wait to get the roman shade in and hang it – then the room will be complete. My heart is so happy about the room and most of all, our baby boy whom we are waiting for now… We cannot wait to meet him! While Thorsten was taking some pregnancy photos of me today (a few are included above), I started crying tears of just the most overwhelming happiness. This is truly one of the BEST times of my life you guys. I mean it. We have been married for nearly 13 years (in July) and so we’re both so excited about this life change and to walk into that hospital a couple, and as one of my reader’s told me, walk out of that hospital a family. Thank you so much for sharing this special part of my life with me, it means so much to be able to put all of this out there so publicly to some of the most dear people – all of you have been so kind to me during the past 9 months with your comments and emails (and gifts in the mail)… Really, I couldn’t feel more love. Thank you (hug).

xo,

Holly

(Photos: Thorsten Becker)

sponsors

This post was sponsored by Oeuf, Car Moebel, Farrow & Ball and Oliver Furniture. Products shown from these companies were donated to this project as gifts. I’m so grateful and honored to have been able to work with these four generous and wonderful companies. Thank you!

Posted in Home Tours on January 27, 2014

Scandinavian Style Dutch Cottage Tour

Hello readers! Are you ready to tour a light and bright Scandinavian style Dutch cottage? It’s Holly Marder again and I am back with my Homes With Heart column. While many vacate their summer homes for the winter season, warm textures, endless light and understated Christmas touches make this petite residence the perfect winter escape for owners Nathalie Fransen and Bas van Egmond, and their three children.

decor8cottagedutch (click to enlarge)

Interior designer Nathalie Fransen and co-owner of NU interieur | ontwerp, and architect Bas van Egmond purchased this 38 square meter vacation home late last year as a place for them to escape to the Dutch countryside on the weekends with their children. Once a brown, dark and dated interior, Nathalie and Bas spent the summer creating what is now a light, bright and welcoming space.

decor8_dutchcottage_6(click to enlarge)

decor8_dutchcottage_12
“We live in a really small apartment in Delft, the Netherlands. While we love our urban lives, we wanted to compensate it with a bit of nature,” Nathalie says. “We were really lucky to find this space. It was owned by an old couple who had lived here for 17 years. It was no doubt already dated 17 years ago, but they didn’t change a thing. You could feel that they really loved the space, as if it was some sort of treasure.”

decor8_dutchcottage_1(click to enlarge)
decor8_dutchcottage_2

decor8_dutchcottage_14

The first thing Bas and Nathalie did was coat the dark interior with white paint, replace the kitchen and bathroom and infuse it with their minimalistic sense of style. “We decided that painting it white would freshen it up, but would also make it look and feel a lot larger,” Nathalie explains.

decor8_dutchcottage_13
decor8_dutchcottage_11

White floors infuse the space with light but are also surprisingly low maintenance. “I want our kids to have the freedom to be children, but I really like neat spaces,” Nathalie explains. “Therefore, I seek solutions that can ensure the space can be tidied up easily after the kids are in bed, such as smart storage.” As a designer, Nathalie, with her business partner Tessa Weerdenburg, strives to offer the same combination of practicality and aesthetics to her clients.

decor8_dutchcottage_15

decor8_dutchcottage_16
decor8_dutchcottage_14
decor8_dutchcottage_8

Design classics and inexpensive Ikea products combine with a black, white and wood colour scheme, making for a charming Scandinavian style retreat for this family of five. “We love to combine old and new, sentimental items that have been handed down, with new pieces and also inexpensive items. We were lucky to inherit design pieces from Bas’s parents because they know we appreciate them.” The family escape to their cottage most weekends, and love to continue that tradition through the winter. And though they don’t make as much use of the garden as they do during the summer, they enjoy creating a warm and cozy cottage to enjoy when the temperatures drop.

Spot something that you love? Here are some of the items in Nathalie and Bas’s home: Lamp above dining table: Vintage Arne Jacobson AJ Royal Louis Poulsen lamp; Royal Shelving System: Poul Cadovius; Dining table and stools: Ikea; Sofa: Ikea Soderhamn; Coffee table: Montis Tor Table; Paper star; lanterns: Snug Studio; Paper lantern bags: Broste Copenhagen; Wooden bird: Architect Made; White vases: Snug Studio; Kitchen / storage: Ikea; Grey throw on bed: Zara Home; Graphic throw blanket on sofa: Hema; Cushions on sofa: Dille & Kamille (green); Marble cheese board: Lijns

I hope you enjoyed this fresh and festive cottage tour! Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and I’ll see you back here next month with another Homes With Heart column. – Holly

(text/photos: holly marder)

Posted in Home Tours on December 20, 2013

Eclectic Modern Family Home Tour

Hello everyone! It’s Holly Marder back with another inspiring home tour in the Netherlands this month that I photographed for my Homes With Heart column on decor8. Are you ready to be inspired? Great!

Holly2

“Don’t pin me on to just one type of style, it would kill me,” says Nancy Berendsen, blogger and magazine editor who envisioned a light, bright and airy space when she first laid eyes on the dark and dated house that was to become her home. Located in Oostzaan, the Netherlands, the house had everything that she and her husband were looking for – space, fresh country air and loads of potential to create the ultimate family home for their two children and puppy, Molly.

holly7

holly9

holly8

holly10

A full scale renovation ensued, where bringing in natural light was the main priority. Nancy has always been drawn to bright Scandinavian interiors in which natural light plays a crucial role to the home and its inhabitants. Even when the days turn dark, her home is still a cheerful place to be. With the help of an architect, they reworked the combined living, kitchen and dining room to maximize natural light. To achieve this, a section of the roof and exterior wall of the home was removed and replaced with a steel framed glass window that follows the contours of the house. The result gives a greenhouse quality to the home’s exterior, but the light that floods the space is unmatched. Glass sliding doors that run the length of the house leading out onto the patio also worked to open up the space and invite the outdoors in. With views over the neighboring farms and a small stream, the patio is as much apart of the home’s living space as the interior itself during the warmer months.

hollyout1

hollyout2

hollyout5

hollyout4

Nancy is drawn to a mix of designs styles, which she seamlessly combines against the backdrop of her freshly renovated home. Fresh white painted walls and oak floors form the canvas against which she has infused her eclectic sense of style. “I wanted to create a joyful home where family and friends feel welcome, warm and energized,” she says.

Nancy’s keen eye for detail, texture, colour and shape, as well as a love of vintage and preloved treasures, has given her home a sense of joy and optimism. Vintage pieces scoured from markets and online marketplaces remind Nancy of her beloved grandmother, while modern clean-lined design items work to create a space that is sophisticated yet doesn’t take itself too seriously. “I love to play with different materials to create a cozy atmosphere at home,” she says. “I love mixing old with new, such as vintage leather with soft cottons or fluffy sheepskin, to draw the eye in.”

holly13

holly11

holly3

holly5

holly6

holly14

holly4

Holly1

holly12

Bright pops of color against pastels and neutrals add to the lighthearted feel of Nancy’s home. “I love colors. They add optimism to a space, but it has to be in a soft, balanced way,” she says. Nancy’s fave color combo? Neutrals combined with greens and a touch of yellow, salmon and pink is always a winning blend.

holly16

holly18

holly21

holly17

So what’s Nancy’s (her photo is above, left) trick to finding just the right vintage and secondhand items? “One of my favorite online shopping tricks (I use mostly Marktplaats and eBay) is to simply search a specific material that I am currently swooning over, such as wool or bamboo, and just see what pops up!” And while this method keeps her thrifting fancies satisfied, nothing beats a good old-fashioned treasure hunt. “I love to go thrifting and I’m always on the hunt for simple, strong and beautiful design.” But there’s more to clever thrifting than meets the eye. Nancy takes all things into consideration before bringing scoured treasures home with her, but shape plays a primary role in the selection process. “Shape is incredibly important, whether it’s the curved legs of a chair or the bow of a spoon,” she says. “At the moment I’m deeply in love with old-fashioned candle holders with a handle.”

holly15

holly20

holly19

While an old meets new aesthetic has formed the basis of Nancy’s happy interior, displaying her children’s artwork is closest to her heart and gives her home a personal quality. “Their intuitive feel for colour can be stunning combined with a touch of design,” Nancy says. “Don’t feel guilty about being selective. They will love you for highlighting their art, and it will instantly give your home that personal touch, which is what I search for in decorating.”

So what do you think decor8 readers – any ideas from her arrangements that you picked up on and would like to try in your own home? See you again with another Dutch home tour in November! – Holly

(text/photos: holly marder)

Posted in Home Tours on October 29, 2013

Books:

Some of my books

Co-editions are also available in many languages, learn more

eCourses:

Next dates

Blogging Your Way
e-courses, 2015
Visit our e-course website to learn more about our inspirational e-courses by bloggers, for bloggers.