colorful dreams

In Tanti, near Cordoba, we rented a beautiful house, with a giant garden, close to the river. It's owners are Dutch, so you get an interesting mix of Argentinian architecture and Dutch classic furniture, Argentinian nature and Dutch landscaping. With a very beautiful and calming result. There was one room in the house that was absolutely my favorite. It was semi-separate from the house, and the stairs to it already gave me a good feeling. Fresh, tangy but still soft yellow-green walls combined with green tiles, and on top of the stairs a nice promise for the room. It was painted in a lovely soft pink-orange tint, walls and ceilings. On the bed a nice, handmade, quilt, a lappendeken we call it in Holland. Nice idea for boring winter evenings (next year). Even the closets gave a new inspiration: a small little round metal screen to let in some fresh air. The flowery curtains were a bit faded, but that only adds to the romantic atmosphere.

inspiration from Carlos Paz

Before I report on the wonderful things that I'm seeing in Buenos Aires, where we are now, I want to show you the beauty of Tanti, Carlos Paz and other small towns and villages that we visited near Cordoba, Argentina. Carlos Paz is a strange little town. At first glance not beautiful at all. But if you take a closer look, fascinating. Beautiful houses next to the ugliest buildings you can imagine. Trees and flowers everywhere. Amazingly beautiful rivers and streams, where everybody gathers on a free afternoon or to spend a sunday. And everybody cleans up after they leave. And even the pavements, or a hand painted sign on a car, are a joy for the eye.

inspiration point: Tanti, Argentina

Now that I'm not surrounded by high tech design, fashion and architecture, I can focus on other sources of inspiration. Tanti, a charming little village in Argentina, an hour from Cordoba, is a good starting point. The nature is breathtakingly beautiful, and is well respected by everybody. and the people that live here, with their calm and gentle, and funloving nature, are teaching lesson or two in how to live your life. Now that we're on a sabbatical, just the thing that I'm looking for. Besides that, I have time to explore more settings and techniques on my camera, like Diarama and Black and White Grainy images.

happy christmas!

Almost exactly three years ago, we moved into our new home. The day before the move, our house was clean, empty and ... white. A perfect setting for a nice Christmas shoot. Time to do a productions together with Patricia Hessing, an architect and a designer at Soap Ateliers. To give an answer to the question: how to celebrate the perfect christmas production even though you're surrounded by boxes, paint and other moving stuff. The beautiful images were taken by James Stokes. We called it Take Away Christmas, but now it's shown in VT Wonen, called Out of The Box. And now, because we're moving to Argentina in two weeks, we're surrounded by boxes again! How convenient. (I hope I have time to show some more of this production, I still really love it).

redecoration of a showroom, part four

To give the sunglasses a better display and give the stylist an opportunity to try them on, I designed these mirrored shelves, and Douglas van Vugt made them. They sort of wrap themselves around the pillars in the showroom. Normally those pillars just take up a lot of room, not anymore! One of the shelved walls I covered with sackcloth and painted white, like the front desk in the entrance. In the area where all the clothes are processed, curtains were made of raw linen. They give a calm, pure look in an area that is normally quite cluttered. And they match the white, beige and black palette perfectly.

redecoration of a showroom, part three the wall can function as a clean and neutral background for brochures, booklets and small items. The walls in the entrance were painted white. The front desk was also painted white, and I stapled sackcloth over the light boxes and painted that white as well. Now the entrance is clean and welcoming and it gives a preview of what you will find when you turn the corner.

redecoration of a showroom, part one

A few years ago I worked on an intensive redecoration of the showroom of the PR-company Unlimited PR in Amsterdam. Because it celebrated it's 10th anniversary this year, I did some finishing touches to enhance the festive feeling. The showroom is huge, on the ground floor of a big loft style building. I'm really happy with the result, the owner made the wise decision to have all the floors repainted by DRT vloeren. The big building jobs were done by the men of my favourite contractor Tools and carpenter Douglas van der Vugt built the beautiful mirrored shelves. I'll lead you through the story in a few posts.
the images above show the showroom before the latest renovation and the design that I made for the wall in the entrance.

more at Ijm

Ijm is created by Frank Visser, but he always shares is work, ideas and his studio with a lot of other creative people. During InsideDesign you could also have a look at the drawings of Charlotte Koopman and Veronik Willems (below) and visit Mieke Willems  a shop that is set up by Mieke Verbijlen and Veronik Willems. Lovely work that puts a smile on your face.

Marlein at Ijm

People that visit or work with Frank Visser's studio Ijm, are always spoiled with Marlein Overakker's food. This weekend, during InsideDesign, she cooked in the evenings, that was served inside Frank's studio. So you could feast your eyes as well as your stomach. I still dream about the dessert: whipped cream with crushed raspberries, dark dark chocolate and cookies. Served from a big jar...
If you ever visit Ijm, don't forget to sneek a peek at Marlein's kitchen, a dream for every food and style lover.

a weekend at Ijm

Busy times again! I haven't even posted all my Paris-inspirations yet, but now that's all blown away by the things that I saw this weekend. On friday InsideDesign opened, a three day-design fair organised by (the Dutch version of ) Elle (Decor). Frank Visser, color king and creative brain of IJm, always partakes in this fair and shows his magic in his studio. The good news is that they have developed their own brand of paints: IJm Colourspots. Finally! It's not in the stores yet, byt the story behind is is beautiful, very logical and very Frank. Send an email to [email protected] if you want to know more about it.
Also check, a story behind a story.

that English feel

Although some of these images mightn't even be taken in Great Britain, photographer Debi Treloar has put the typical English feel in it that I love so much. A touch of romance, nobility and old, sometimes faded, glory. I've had the pleasure to meet her a few weeks ago, and she is very kind and gentle, and very very focused. Inspiring!

Sweet Paul...

... thank you for softening the blow from the fact that is autumn again! I don't care, as long as I get to make this lovely food, or a funky pumpkin and these beautiful decorations for Haloween, or just get to look at the beautiful images and styling. I read first about Sweet Paul, a fantastic online magazine on Bloesem, a blog that I follow with great pleasure. Thanks for the tip!

Maison & Objet for children

At the fair Maison & Objet I also found some wonderful companies to realise the decorating plan that I made for a childrens' room for a 2,5 year old boy. As you can see on my mood board, I chose lot of different shades of blue, with a little bit of black for a cheecky touch. At Mimi Lou I found the best wall stickers, like a collection of cool old timers or moon walkers, Donna Wilson had beautiful blankets and pillows for a softer and dreamy feel, and at Fred the Dog I saw funny duvet covers and was bags, with dinosaurs, robots or cranes.

news from Maison & Objet: escapism or optivism?

Against a lot of beautiful and tender designs in muted colors, ecofriendly fabrics, and natural materials, there were a lot of cheerfull, over the top and sometimes almost hysterical (but always cheerfull) stands.
With wild designs, all the colors that you can think in one design. And lots and lots of accessories crammed in one room, that remind you of holidays far, far away (and a long time ago) or fairy tales and magical realistic novels. You can call it escapism, to get away from the sometimes grey and harsh reality, but I call it optivism and the celebration of the imagination (running wild!).
pictures show the designer of the bags from Trinity Knot, presse papiers and postcards from Astier Villages, life sized animals made of vintages tapestry and the furniture collections designed by Jean Paul Gaultier for Roche Bobois.

news from Maison & Objet: eco - deco - grey

It is good to see that so many designers try to be as eco friendly in their designs as possible. And I'm happy to see that eco has long left behind her gritty, dusty feel. You can even say that eco has become a style of it's own. And that designers are inspired by it's authentic, pure, unbleached look. With colors like the soft greys of pure cotton and linen, maybe sometimes colored with herbal and mineral colorings, accessories made of pure clay and stone, combined with black and white. Some add a feminine, more decorative touch with lace or padding and even sequins. It is soft and tender, and easy on the eye, but still interesting, exciting look.

pictures show work from Poterie des Guimards, pillows by Margarete Häusler, pillows by Nicolette Brunklaus, curtains by Beatrice Laval and a chair upholstered with linen from Leitner.

my holiday

As promised, I will be giving my impressions of the Maison Et Objet, you can read them soon! But first, let me tell you about my holidays, and the inspiration that I picked up there.
Our 'base camp' was at a beautiful gîte in the middle of Brittany, near Guingamp. The gîte is in an old barn that is beautifully restored by the owner. (Who happens to be my sister, which doubles the fun). Her website and her blog are in Dutch but she speaks fluently English and French. It is a great place to stay, to have a rest or discover the rest of Brittany, like St Malo (my favourite area in Brittany) or Dinan.
 You can rent the gîte or put up a tent (or a caravan) on the camp site under a pear tree. Lola, the donkey and her two goat friends will keep you entertained all day.
 In Dinan I found the best shop to spend a rainy afternoon, which sometimes can happen in Brittany. Fleur de Lin et Bouton d'Or is filled to the roof with ribbons, lace, antique fabrics, old buttons and colourful yarns. The perfect spot for some new colourfull inspiration.

Stephanie was here

Phew, I've been busy! But working 'behind the scenes', like trying to get some building permits (boring) (and complicated), shopping with and for clients (very nice!, but I already wrote about the shops I wanted to bring them to), working with the carpenter who's making some nice benches for a garden and a basement, watching paint dry and making some new paint samples. Nothing is finished yet, so there's nothing to show yet.

So it was time to reload my battery, as they say. And I chose the perfect spot to do that: B&B In de Aap, a beautiful Bed&Breakfast in a little village near the coast in the North of Holland.

Even if you don't go for the breazy seaside style, there's plenty of decorating ideas that work for any style. I like the wooden floors that are glued to the floor. You have the lovely feel of wood on your bare feet, without creaking that can wake you up in the middle of the night. And not the cracks where most of the dust and crumbs go when you're not watching. I also love the egg shell-paint, that gives the wood a nice gloss.

The walls have wall heating, which prevents the dust from flying around. And I like it better than floor heating because that always gives me the feeling that I have a fever. The chalky paint on the walls and the ceilings are perfect for walls that aren't completely straight, and it gives a nice nonchalant feel to any room. It can also work beautifully for a more loft style-house, because of the unfinished, raw look it can create.

The bathroom is a dream, with a nice big bathtub and a beautifully tiled shower and a tadelakt floor, a lime plaster that is traditionally used in Moroccan hammams. Beautiful and nice and soft to your feet.

All in all, a lovely place, (with a lovely big breakfast) that I will visit more often. They also have a nice and cosy family house, nice for a next visit.