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.
“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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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)
Hello everyone! I was so thrilled by the response from all of you about our baby’s finished nursery project. It’s been unreal to feel such overwhelming joy and support – thank you. It’s certainly made my final days of pregnancy so nice as I typically being to get really anxious right before something big is about to happen. Our sweet son is due tomorrow! Sadly, I get quite sick the night before any “big” happens in my life – my wedding, my book launch parties, flying, the first day of school… I even get sick before I teach online or in-person workshops! Funny thing is that the moment I have to, “step onto the stage”, the fright is completely gone and I’m 100% myself, happy and you would have thought I was lying if I told you that the night before I was running a fever and had broken out into a cold sweat! This anxiety has griped me since I was 3 or 4 years old, and though I’m “used” to it, it’s definitely not something I enjoy. After all of these months of being pregnant and worry-free, I finally got a massive dose of anxiety and felt really, really overwhelmed and stuck in my bed this morning. I was up at 5am feeling anxious. I sat in my bed eating clementines trying to distract myself by thinking about my career and some of the fun plans I have for this summer. I also reviewed (again) all of your comments on the nursery tour post over the past few days, which calmed me down. I have to thank each one of you for leaving a little note of encouragement and love because I really, really needed that this morning. I also dragged myself to my acupuncture appointment and then my lady doctor and the little guy is thriving and I finally started having contractions. I stayed outdoors as long as I could (it’s freezing here now) so my husband and I walked over to a favorite spot for a lingering lunch. I felt so good after that. Anxiety is officially gone now. Between my loving doctor and husband, bumping into friends with their new baby on the street, and relaxing with a massive healthy salad, I felt a bit like a superwoman. You know, like we women can really do anything. A day before the due date and I’m out having lunch. How cool is THAT? Once I came back home, I wanted to continue the good mood so to distract myself, I jumped on Pinterest and down the rabbit’s hole I fell. Pinterest can be quite therapeutic sometimes, can’t it? Here are some pins that inspire me today and why. I hope that they inspire you, too.
This kitchen from Australian Home Beautiful magazine via Birch & Bird. What I love: Open and Bright feeling, minty green stools with natural wood seats, big basket style lighting. I’m hoping to put lights like these in my new hallway. Stay tuned for that before and after post!
This gorgeous tray design, the minty cup and of course, flowers. Always flowers. I can’t get enough. This came from The Glitter Guide.
A lovely cactus hanging out with some succulent friends, styled beautifully on a small desk to create a very sweet nook in gray, orange, green and black. I keep telling everyone neon orange is the new neon pink. Photography by Marij Hessel from Enter My Attic.
I really love all of the texture and warmth in this space. That rustic coffee table is lovely and I like the styling on the fireplace – the paintings are all divine! The only thing I would add is my Beni Ourain rug in cream and black and if the fireplace isn’t being used, I’d stack hundreds of magazines inside OR create a few shelves and put books there. Do you do this too? See a photo and imagine the tweaks you’d make to the space to make it your own? If you don’t naturally do that already, try to train yourself to do it vs. just mindlessly pinning as we are usually inclined to do. You can really begin to develop your “look”, your sense of style, through these seemingly simply exercises. Really. This photo came from Blood and Champagne.
These pretty patterns, very subdued against natural linen, actually look quite nice if you imagine them in the living room I just shared above. Lots of times we think of something as fitting a very country style cottage but if you use your imagination, often country prints can look really edgy in certain environments or even take on a new life altogether if you pair them with neons – like imagine the first two patterns to the left - the dotty one and the roses, as a big throw pillow on the floor for lounging, one pattern on one side, one on the other. The piping would be in hot neon pink or neon orange or even neon yellow. The zipper you’ve sewn in could be exposed and in gold so there is some flash. See what I mean about taking on a new life? Photo from Ignite Light.
This dining room in Seattle gave me such a cozy feeling the moment I saw it, but beyond that, the wallpaper! Oh my! That is one fantastic pattern isn’t it? I see so many black and white spaces these days that really lack warmth and character but this space is different with it’s warm wood tones and more traditional pieces of furniture. In fact, I think this could be a great alternative, especially if you’re into the current black and white Scandinavian trend that you see so commonly on blogs but like me, feel like it’s still a bit too cold and industrial for your liking. This dining room has a very rustic appeal. Imagine a midpoint? Something in between the stark, clean Scandi b/w rooms and this one? How would I design a room like that? With this wallpaper above, a natural rug like the one shown, those same chairs only with a more graphic seat cushion in black and white and a table with metal legs and a wooden top that looks a bit industrial. I’d also swap out the pendant for someone more modern and graphic in either black or white – or perhaps go with all glass orbs like this one or something similar. Photo from issue #22 of Rue Magazine, via Lark & Linen, showing the home of designer Brian Paquette as photographed by Belathee.
I was so impressed this morning when I spotted this image on Pinterest and then tracked it down to San Francisco creative director Suzanne Shade who made it by hand for her kitchen. It’s so funky! It’s like London meets Copenhagen style – I can see wallpaper like this selling well at a store like Liberty. I love the mix of photography, toile and solid geometrics. It didn’t hurt that the image contains some air plants and the Tom Dixon “London” candle that I’ve been DYING to own for months now. Photography by sfgirlbybay. And yes, I would hang that wallpaper in my home without hesitation, it would be amazing in my guest bathroom or in my entryway. Drooling over here…
I love photos featuring a nicely styled messy bed! My bed in the morning is rarely disheveled stylishly and camera-ready but then again, I’ve also don’t typically awake to gorgeous Victoria’s Secret bed-head either. Anyway, beyond the bed, I love the rich walls and the grouping of tiny vintage frames and mini paintings. Definitely a great look to try if you want to do something a little different than the typical large-picture-above-bed look. Photo via Merrilee Liddiard.
Are you slightly obsessed too by Kate Moss? I grew up with Kate as the “face” of my generation, she is nearly 40 now and still looks wonderful… In fact, I think age suits her quite well. I really want the Kate Moss Book to display on my coffee table – I bet it’s so interesting to flip through and bask in her often breathless photos from year to year. Photo from Kate Moss Daily.
I know it’s quite a switch to go from Kate Moss to French textiles, but wow I just can’t help myself. I loved seeing this page from a sample book showing French textiles dating around the 1862 from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was so taken in when we studied the history of textiles in college and today I’m no different, I eat this stuff up. What an inspiring glimpse!
I’m hoping you are all doing just great! I’m writing this post with a huge heart full of love for you all as we wait for our little baby boy – his due date is tomorrow and we couldn’t be MORE excited to soon welcome him to our life and to yours, too! xo Holly
(images linked to their sources above)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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?
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).
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
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).
(Photos: Thorsten Becker)
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!
I’m always psyched when I hear from fellow Bostonians about a creative project that’s going on there. Boston has such a special place in my heart – I lived there for so long and founded my blog there – it’s a really great and supportive city for creatives! Just this morning I received an email about Print Club Boston, founded by an Australian expat who recently relocated to Boston, Elizabeth Corkery, and wanted to learn more. Elizabeth lives and works and Somerville and as an artist, she decided to try a new adventure and so Print Club Boston was born. What is it exactly? It’s an online source for affordable and limited edition silkscreen prints, and as you can see below, they’re gorgeous and unique. Each piece is released as part of a series which has a thematic cohesion and production and all are printed in limited edition, small runs. I adore the two prints shown directly below, especially the one on the left called Pink Flowers – it really resonates with me for some reason. I imagine it framed in a big copper frame with a white border – so pretty and perfect for springtime!
Elizabeth has this to say about the first series, “The first collectionThe Grid, The Trellis is an eight-print series, which is based around the structural geometry of the garden trellis. A commonly used armature for the upward growth of plants, the trellis simultaneously addresses the potential for fertile, organic expansion and the unnatural geometric structure of the grid.” It’s so interesting to hear where artists begin on their creative journey, don’t you think? Below is a glimpse of Elizabeth working in her studio…
And by the way… Do you have any current sources for shopping for art prints online? Or certain artists that you love and follow? Please share your links below, I’m always looking for new sources for art prints!
(images: print club boston)