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Home with Heart: A Classical Modern Belgian Family Home

Hey guys! It’s Holly Marder and I’m back again this month to take you through another inspiring interior for my Homes with Heart column. This month, I’m excited to introduce you to Dutch designer Christian Kocx, whose beautiful home in Belgium was the subject behind my lens in late October. Blending the home’s original, classical features with his minimalist sense of style, this home intrigued me from the moment I stepped inside. Let’s take a look around, shall we?

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Christian and his partner Isabel Dooms have called this 1925 historic Turnhout, Belgium, property home since they purchased it back in 2007, sharing it with their three children Mathias, Charlotte and Floris. “When we saw the house for the first time we fell in love with the façade, and when we entered the hallway we where blown away by all the details and the character of it all.” The property’s opulent Jugendstill details, are offset by contemporary elements which the couple brought in “to balance the palette”.

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“My style is a mix of classical and contemporary details,” explains Christian. “This creates an interesting dialogue in which both get to have an equal say. They strengthen each other and create a balance. Like ying and yang or black and white. By keeping the colour scheme simple, all the attention goes to the architectural details.” The home’s interior employs a minimal colour palette of black, white, grey and touches of brass throughout, with the entryway tiling and accessories in their contemporary loft living room the only hints of colour used. “I like to use colour to the accentuate the detail in my home, and it’s also the element that connects both of the styles,” Christian says. 

The house offered several attractive qualities already, which, though work needed to be done to the property, were a huge selling point. “Thankfully, all the original details were preserved,” Christian says. “We loved the history of it. We added our own contemporary touch with respect for the building.” 

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The couple had to replace the roof and at the same time, created a contemporary family loft filled with natural light. “It’s a nice contrast to the dark, historic part of the 1925 home.” In this large and light space featuring exposed wooden beams, a floor to ceiling bookcase fills one side of the room, concealing the television. Not to detract from the architectural details, a contemporary grey sofa and simplistic white sideboard are practical options for this family space. The brass side table by Rijuch and marble topped side table by Zuiver echo the opulence seen throughout the rest of the house. Cushions by Hay and Ferm Living add a dash of colour. The side chair is by Peli Design, with a home made cushion from Ikea fabric

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The entrance of the four-story house features original Jugendstill tiling in a muted colour palette, offering the only spattering of colour seen in the lower part of the house. The hallway is in fact one of the couple’s favourite parts of their home, alongside the lofty attic upstairs. They have offset the home’s classical features with a contemporary white console and a large antique chandelier which once belonged to Isabel’s parents. He rescued it from the attic and it now serves as an eye-catching object in their home’s entryway.

Furnishing their home has been an organic process that both Isabel and Christian have enjoyed. “By taking time to find just the right pieces of furniture and accessories, one item is added now and again creating a ‘new’ interior every time,” Christian says. “I can find so much joy in finding just that right piece to complete our interior. The most important is creating a home filled with objects the whole family can enjoy!” 

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For his period home, Christian has also created several items of furniture himself that form the basis of their contemporary classic aesthetic. The dining table was his own creation, a clean lined modern piece flanking a classical marble fireplace and antique writing desk. His highly modern table and chair set allows the centuries-old antiques to take centre stage, whilst offering the larger space striking contrast.

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Christian, a graduate from The Design Academy Eindhoven also designs a range of interior accessories with his label Mooi Goed. “I designed the Mooi Goed collection with the thought that I would like to have it in my own interior. The collection is, just like my interior, a mix of contemporary and classical details.” His minimalistic candle holders adorn the classical fireplace, amid ornate antique brass mirrors and marble, creating the contrast that Christian loves.

With a keen eye for design and a penchant for historical styles, a family friendly abode however is at the top of his agenda. “The most important is creating something the whole family loves living in. Practical and pretty. I can say that’s not always simple, but when I get it right I can enjoy it twice as much!”

I hope you guys enjoyed this peek inside this truly beautiful home. I wish you all a prosperous 2015! Looking forward to taking you through more lovely interiors this year here on decor8! – Holly

(Photography and Text by Holly Marder / Food styling: Ajda Mehmet)

Posted in Homes With Heart on January 15, 2015

Ferm Living Spring/Summer 2015

Yeah! Spring/Summer collections are releasing and I just love this time of year when all of the fairs kick off (like Maison & Objet) and brands go public with what they’ve been designing behind-the-scenes for the upcoming season. Danish lifestyle firm, Ferm Living, which is available in North America and Europe online and in-stores, just launched their new Spring/Summer 2015 collection via ISSUU and to me, their new items for kid’s and pottery for plants along with their new vases shown below, really stood out.

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I also love their new pottery tableware in greenish-gray, too because it feels so good in the hand with that delightful weighty feel that pottery brings – such warmth and texture. Ferm is really focused on muted tones of blue and green for the season, with brass and pale pink added in, and of course with green living and  plants being all the rage in the world of interiors currently, this meant that creating modern vessels to put them in was big on Ferm’s to do list this season. I need some nicer pots for my window plants in my newly redecorated kitchen (new countertops, faucet, moved a few things around, new window coverings, shelving… And now to hang some art!) because my current generic ones from the local plant shop simply must go.

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Have you noticed that brass is the new copper? I’m finding it more and more – brass or gold in general. Out with the old and in with the gold! I still love my coppery goodies collected from last year though and in my very opinionated opinion (ah hem), if you love it–whatever “it” is – then it belongs in your home regardless of the current trend (unless it’s your hot male personal trainer or the pool boy, that is). So my copper stuff will have to live alongside my gold – plus I love combining the two because both metals have a warm tone so they definitely work well when combined. See, I’m smart like that. :)

What do you think of the newest Ferm Living collection? 

(images: ferm living)

Posted in design on January 14, 2015

Fitness Focus for 2015 + Deliciously Ella Book

Thanks to my obsession with burning hours on Amazon while my baby snoozes, I found a new book (and new to me blog) called Deliciously Ella. Ella Woodwards, the young lady behind the blog, has created 100 dairy-free, gluten-free and sugar-free recipes that supposedly will make you feel great which is the most important thing in life right? Because your health, mental and physical, can really make or break you. I’ve been off of white and brown sugar and honey since January 6th and cut out most diary (I use rice, almond, coconut milk or oat milk now) and already feel so much better after the initial detox headaches and cravings subsided. I’m no longer in sloth-post-holiday mode. I’m ready to take on projects again with gusto and get movin’ at the gym. Health equals wealth and not just financially. When you feel great you become rich in so many other areas in your life. I’m learning that the reason why so many highly successful people are fit and work out daily is so they can stay or become more successful. It’s true. You get more accomplished when you feel amazing and your energy levels soar. Why do you think the fabulous Martha Stewart can sleep only 4 hours nightly for so many years and be such a powerhouse?

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Ella’s personal story and motivation behind her work is quite inspirational, “In 2011, nineteen-year-old Ella Woodward was diagnosed with a rare illness that left her bed-ridden, in chronic pain, and plagued by heart palpitations and headaches. When conventional medicine failed her, Ella decided to change her diet. She gave up meat, gluten, dairy, sugar, and anything processed—and the effects were immediate: her symptoms disappeared, her energy returned, and she was able to go off all her medication. A self-confessed sweet tooth, Ella taught herself how to make delicious, plant-based meals that delight the palette and improve overall well-being.” Sounds wonderful! This book promises simple prep and raw, natural ingredients so I’m definitely going to grab a copy and start using it. Here is a peak inside of Deliciously Ella below straight from Anthropologie, where you can purchase it or buy it on Amazon UK (with cover shown in this post) or on Amazon US with a different cover, same content.

Now to share with you a few books that I do own and love that share the same approach to eating healthy.

1. It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turschen (Amazon US/Amazon UK)– I love that Julia lost a lot of weight eating the foods in this book while creating it. When someone loses weight writing a health cookbook I feel like ka-pow! That’s the book for me! Julia made it a huge draw because I love GP but she is so perfect that I often feel like she’s just not relatable in all of her gorgeousness (I mean did you see her at the Oscars in that fantastic pink Michael Kors dress? How can we compete?), but Julia is one of us and is also super gorgeous minus a full staff and access to top trainers and fitness gurus and unlimited cash. Don’t get me wrong, GP rocks and she is why I bought the book in the first place, but learning about Julia through the pages of It’s All Good instantly made it my fave go-to guide for healthy eating. That combined with all of the book photography by one of my top five photographers in the world, Danish-born Ditte Isager, and I was hooked. Plus I got my hands on a signed, dedicated copy from GP herself so hey, I can’t complain. In fact, I tell everyone about this book and even buy it for my friends. You can see some of the gorgeous pics in this book on Ditte’s blog.

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2. Honestly Healthy by Natasha Corrett (Amazon US or Amazon UK – German version here which I also have). British-born Natasha turned me on to OMbar (chocolate sweetened with coco milk) and I just love some of her recipes in this book and her amazing website and videos, too. I’m dying to attend one of her supper clubs or cooking classes in London because meeting her would be interesting since her mom is Kelly Hoppen and I think Kelly is just the best but even more, I just want to watch her cook and learn some new tips. I actually love the idea of scheduling a private cooking class with Natasha and a few of my dear friends, this would be so much fun and would make for a great blog story, don’t you think? Perhaps I’ll connect with her for a story like that as I’m looking to bring more lifestyles to decor8 this year that encourage us all to life our best life. I like Natasha’s cookbook because it lives alongside her online content so I feel close to her – like I can watch a video (What’s In My Fridge is so great), flip through her book, make her recipes, read her blog, follow her on Instagram, etc. It’s dynamic, alive, fresh. I love when authors have a very active online presence and do video work too (if they are, in fact, good on camera and not awkward of course. I often wonder if I’d be good or awkward, I have to try it for my next book and you can let  me know). It just brings it all together.

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In addition to these three titles above, has anyone picked up a copy of Nourish by Amber Rose, Holly Davidson and Sadie Frost yet? I’m in love with the cover, it makes me so SO happy. I love lifestyle book covers with either photos of people or multiple lifestyle photos so you get a preview of what’s to follow on the pages inside. The cover alone for Nourish makes it very interesting to me to look into further.

What is your favorite cookbook at the moment? Have you made any health or fitness goals for the year? Tell me about them. I’d love to know what you’re doing.

Here’s to better health for us all in 2015! And congrats to Ella for the new book and much success to you!

(images: anthropologie)

Posted in Books + Magazines on January 14, 2015

My 10 Faves from Kate Spade Saturday For West Elm

Fun stuff! I read about this cool collab last month in the NYTimes but was reminded of it again while reading my friend Geraldine’s blog today – the collaboration of Kate Spade Saturday and West Elm. What a sweet union! I had to peek in on the WE site to see what they’re offering and the collection is bold, graphic, colorful, energetic, youthful and happy — you gotta love the colors and patterns. I think they did a great job merging both brands – no easy task and many meetings and months of back and forth, I’m sure! But they’ve done a great job so in celebration and to show my support, I thought to pull together 10 of my favorites.

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1. This yellow/beige rug shown above. Simple but stunning.

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2, 3, 4, 5: These pieces of wall art 2. painted floral, 3. abstract 1, 4. yellow sun, 5. Yo.

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6. This awesome entryway table because if I still lived in the states, this would be in my home!

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7. My favorite from the collection is this Sleep In mirrored wall art.

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8. The chairs are darling but this navy and white dotty wing chair has my heart.

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9. This rug in pink and orange. (Psst: It also has a matching pouf here).

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10. Round storage boxes – very nice for jewelry and I love the unusual shape because isn’t a storage box supposed to be, well, boxy? So cute and clever.

Do you spot any faves from this collection? What do you think of it? What would you like to see added?

(images: west elm)

 

Posted in design on January 13, 2015

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