Enter the Loft | An Amsterdam Pop-Up

July 19th, 2015

The Loft is a fully designed and decorated loft space located along a canal in downtown Amsterdam, which is open twice per year for two weeks as a pop-up concept store for design enthusiasts to visit, be inspired and invest in an exclusive, lovingly curated collection of items for the home. Co-founder and head designer of The Loft, 28-year-old Kassandra Schreuder, invited me behind the scenes a few months ago to document the inspiring space for a 4-page feature in the Dutch magazine vtwonen. With the feature out this month, I thought you’d enjoy reading about The Loft and Kassandra’s role in the project. I translated Caroline Westdijk’s wonderful interview she wrote to accompany my images into English (you’re welcome) so those outside The Netherlands who are thinking of visiting Amsterdam could read along too. Get the full scoop, plus the full image collection I shot for vtwonen below!

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After studying economics and consumer phycology, Kassandra started working at The Playing Circle, a company that rents out beautifully designed meeting spaces in unusual buildings throughout Amsterdam. It was during this time that Kassandra was given the opportunity to launch a concept called The Loft, a platform created to inspire those with an affinity towards design, art and interiors. Between the two-week, bi-annual pop-up events, design enthusiasts can shop the online boutique for a carefully curated selection of interior items.

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“Our concept is very different from an ordinary shop, where you’d typically see ten items of a product that can be purchased at a checkout,” Kassandra explains. “When you enter the loft, it’s as someone really lives there, completely decorated from A to Z. For each edition we invent a fictitious person and we consider in detail how this person would live and how their interior would look like. I then create a design for the interior, complete with kitchen, bedroom and bathroom and start searching for furniture, design, art and handmade items to complete the picture. The idea is that everything that you see in the pop-up store is for sale, from the sofa to the artworks to the rugs, apron in the kitchen as well as the books on the nightstand. People visit The Loft to get inspiration for decorating their own homes. It’s far more interesting to see particular items in a particular context and setting, presenting you with ideas on how to bring together items in your own home.”

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Kassandra searches all year for designers and artists that create products with the utmost care and attention. In particular, Kassandra was drawn to items that demonstrate craftsmanship, made in natural materials including leather, wood, steel, wool, glass, bronze, marble and brass. “They are designs in which the material is often used as a starting point in the design phase. The carpenter looks at the natural shape of a piece of wood, for example, which then evolves into a piece of furniture. In this way, the strength and natural beauty of a particular material is highlighted, resulting in authentic design with a tactile appearance you want to touch and feel from all sides. I call this crafted design,” explains Kassandra. Nowadays, more and more young designers are working in this traditional and handcrafted manner. One of The Lot’s most important goals is bringing to our attention this group that captures the zeitgeist in such aesthetic manner.

“During my search for beautiful products to decorate our lofts with, it struck me that it was sometimes very difficult to find such designers and crafters on the internet, so I blog on our website about the special people I come across in my work. In this manner, I bring their work together in one place and in doing so, inspire online readers. I also share images of beautiful products that I find  on Instagram to put crafted design as much as possible into the spotlight.”

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“Though I attend a lot of fairs, studios, shops and markets, I also make use of other meeting venues belonging to The Playing Circle as an office. I often have an intern working alongside me brainstorm for The Loft, or I work on my blog. An environment designed with lots of love and care is far more inspiring than the standard gray office.

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The building in which The Loft is located is also the working environment for other creative industries, including the advertising agency Delight Agency. I consider the people that work here my colleagues and we often eat lunch together in a common kitchen and lounge area down the hall from The Loft. It’s very inspiring to have regular contact with other creatives.”
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With The Loft a great success, Kassandra has hopes to extend the concept to other countries in Europe in the future. ‘There are plenty of local artists and designers who create unique products all over Europe,” she says. “It would be amazing to design loft spaces in Barcelona, ​​Paris or Berlin to bring their special work in the spotlight.”
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The next pop-up event at The Loft will be taking place from 22 August – 6 September 2015. A newly designed and decorated 350 square meter space will be open to the public for just two weeks. If you’re planning to visit, a phone call in advance is recommended and appreciated. The Loft is open from Tuesday-Saturday between 10:00-18:00, and on Sunday from 12:00-18:00. The Loft is located on Prinsengracht 583, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Thank you to Kassandra and her team at The Loft for inviting me behind the scenes and allowing me to capture their beautiful and inspiring spaces, and to the team at vtwonen for continuously supporting my work.

Photography: Holly Marder | Avenue Lifestyle for vtwonen // Words and interview: Caroline Westdijk (translated by Holly Marder for Avenue Lifestyle) 

Yvestown in the Kitchen

July 8th, 2015

My good friend Yvonne, a wonderful photographer, stylist, chef and the author behind the lifestyle blog Yvestown (mostly about Yvonne’s home and her life in Belgium), wrote a beautiful book last year all about food and living in the kitchen. As a foodie and someone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen, I’ve had my eye on the book for a while now so was delighted to see that the book is now available in English. This week I finally got my hands on a copy of the book, ‘Yvestown in the Kitchen‘ and it has left me utterly inspired and in awe of the work that Yvonne poured into this gorgeous book. Here’s a peek inside at some of my favourite bits.

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In the book, Yvonne goes inside the homes of her closest friends and family, including her own home, showing us their different styles, pantries, crockery and favourite recipes. It’s a ‘nosy glimpse into someone else’s kitchen’, as Yvonne writes, and is both entertaining and inspiring, and packed with delicious recipes that I am looking forward to trying. The little vegetarian pizzas above will be making their way onto our dinner table this week.

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Yvonne captures the spirit of each family she visits, allowing us to linger on every detail that makes each house she enters a home. She shows us families dining together, living in their kitchens and parts of their homes, and truly invites us to share in the simple joy of cooking and eating. Together. Because if there’s anything that Yvonne believes, it’s that a love of food goes further than that merely of cooking, but extends to a love of the kitchen in which the food is prepared and the way in which it is enjoyed.

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I know from the many times I have visited Yvonne at her home on the Belgian border that her love for food and preparing it runs deep. She is a natural in the kitchen and her food tastes like love. Literally. Last time I visited her, to shoot this feature and this one, she made the most amazing scones that I still think about from time to time. I gave them a go but they didn’t taste quite like hers did that day. Sob.

As a photographer of interiors, I love nothing more than to step into people’s homes and capture all the details that make it authentic to the people living in them. Each family is unique and capturing their energy and the soul of their homes is true art form. In her book, Yvonne has mastered that art and I just loved peeking into the kitchens she has featured, not to mention all the tempting recipes to go with them. Beautiful job, Yvonne!

Yvestown in the Kitchen is available through Yvestown’s own book shop or through Amazon. Those who read Dutch will also find two more books Yvonne has authored inspiring called the Weekend DIY Boek (a book full of inspiring do-it-yourself projects) and Weekend Ontbijtboek (a breakfast book).

Holly x

All Photography by Yvonne Eijkenduijn | The homes featured in this post belong to: Karine of Bodie and Fou | Joscha of Muswerk | Ingrid of Wood and Wool Stool | Annemarieke and Gerard of Snor Publishing | Marianne of Vintage Room

Style Files: Studio LileSADi

June 30th, 2015

I love working with small design labels as they are often very personal and fun to work with, but even more than that, I love to learn about their story and how they got started in their industry. This little column I’ve been writing, ‘Style Files‘, features some of the talented people I come across as a blogger and stylist, where I go behind their product and get to know them as designers, sharing their story with you all. Today I am thrilled to feature the sister team behind a fresh and young Rotterdam based design label called LileSADI, with images I recently styled and photographed for their new collection. The design duo team up with co-designers Siebring & Zoetmulder and chat about collaboration and what it means to join forces in the creative industries.

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// When did you start taking an interest in graphic and textile design, and what is your background?

Already as kids we loved to weave tiny carpets for our dollhouse and make our own silk scarves using aquarel paints. We have always loved to create textile! They are powerful in a way to completely change the look and mood of an interior, and can serve as mirrors of different cultures and times.

Dinah studied Textile Design in Florence. After gaining a wide ranch of experiences at various studios across Europe, she joined Sarah in Rotterdam to launch their own label LileSADi in 2012. Sarah has a background in communication and marketing, and possesses a strong affinity for design, interiors and styling. She is in charge of press, organisation and collaborations, but is also involved in the design process of new collections and the styling of the product photography. Together, the twin sisters complement each others’ own skill set and make a wonderful team.

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// How would you describe your aesthetic and how did you develop your own unique style?

LileSADi stands for minimalistic design with a poetic touch. We love to combine soft with hard, fine with bold. Our first collection ‘Fluor UP’ was graphic flower prints with an architectural influence in flashy neon orange and carbon-blue. We draw a lot of inspiration from the architecture in Rotterdam, where we live. We are still amazed by the mix of shades, materials and the play of shadows, lines and reflections of the clouds in the buildings.

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// Your pieces are designed in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Where are your products made and can you tell us a little bit about the people who make them?

We place a strong focus on the craftmanship and quality of our products and we want to keep production in Europe. We like to know the people who manufacture our products. Most of our textiles are screen printed by ourselves in our studio in Rotterdam. For some other designs, such as the monochrome pattern ‘Rainy Days’ we selected large format screen printing facilities in the UK. As the amount of orders grew larger we started outsourcing the sewing of our home textiles and the new kids fashion line to a Polish family business with a lot of experience and knowledge. We are in steady contact with the team to discuss the current orders and specifications.

In the future we dream about a small collaboration with handcrafters in Thailand to produce textiles inspired by ancient techniques translated with a modern ‘LileSADi’ twist. Our Mohair blanket 01 is produced in collaboration with the famous Textilelab in Tilburg. It was an exciting experience to follow and lead, from seeing the whole process from the design to the first test, selecting the final yarns, standing next to the machine, observing and hearing the machine weaving our final blanket.

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// Was a joint career centered around graphic and textile design a long standing dream for the two of you? How did you come to work together and has it been a relatively easy process running a business together given that you are sisters?

The idea to open our own studio started taking form in our heads since 2010. At the time Sarah lived in Rotterdam and worked at an international internet marketing company and Dinah worked at a studio in Hamburg. After many visits and endless skype sessions in 2012 Dinah decided to join Sarah in Rotterdam and launch LileSADi. In the beginning it was challenging for us to be sisters and business partners at the same time. Talking too much about the studio work and not having enough distance where the main challenges for us. We are both a bit ‘in the clouds’, so we had to find our individual roles. Sarah took on the organisational part and Dinah the design part. At the same time, it is very beautiful to be able to create together and share the ups and downs together. We have the same style and ideas about how design should be and we complement each other with our varied talents.

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// You work a lot with whites but also pastel tones and black. How would you describe your relationship with colour?

Our relationsship with colour has changed over time. In the last three years LileSADi evolved from flashy and a lot of pastels towards a more calm color palette with a lot of black and whites. We experiment with different textures such as stones and marble. We still use and absolutely love colour. We also like to play with soft shades and gradients. For us we do not follow trends or fashion, we decide about the final colours duringthe design process, it depends on the flow we are in.

// What or who inspires your creative process? How do you channel your inspiration? What designers of today inspire you?

We find inspiration in architecture, particularly in Rotterdam with its contrasts between graphic lines and rough textures and yet you stumble upon poetic little escapes with an industrial charm. We admire the work of Hella Jongerious, Lex Pott and Scholten and Baijings. At SaloneSatellite this year we met Ingrid Hulskamp we were amazed by her delicate poetic design.

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// What does a typical day look like in the life of LileSADi? What do you love most about what you do?

We start the day with a coffee and discuss the tasks for the day. When the weather is nice it is a must to go outside for lunch in the sun.
A typical day looks like this: we pack the orders that need to go out that day, reply to blogger and wholesale requests and all other emails we received in the morning. After lunch we brainstorm about designs for a collaboration. At the end of the day we screen print new textiles and make some tests. No day is the same as the one before. We meet many interesting people and it is very exciting to create products that will be travelling to the homes of people around the globe and make them smile.

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// Can you tell us a little bit about your latest cushion and blanket line? What will you be working on for Autumn/Winter 2015?

Our new Blanket 01 is woven in collaboration with the Textile lab in Tilburg. Since Dinah experimented a lot with weaving techniques during her textile design studies in Italy, she was inspired to create a high quality piece for the interior made of luxurious Mohair. The triangle pattern gives a very tactile effect and flows into a subtle gradient. It is very costly to produce so this design is for those who are interested in investing in a real eye catcher for their interior.

For our new cushion collection ‘Line and Gleam’ we drew inspiration from the lines and light effects in modern architecture. The textiles are hand screen printed and hand painted by us in our Rotterdam studio. Each cushion is unique and made of Gots certified organic cotton. They are designed to be mixed and matched and adding a minimialistic and fresh touch to any bedroom or living room.

For Autumn/Winter 2015 we are working on expanding the material compositions for the ‘Daily Gems’ wall cabinet with new exciting materials and patterns, and are working on an exciting collaboration with a Dutch design label.

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// Can you share your 5 favourite places to eat and shop in Rotterdam?

Biergarten Rotterdam – a laid back atmosphere, fantastic burgers and in the heart of the creative scene of Rotterdam

& Designshop – Perfect place for interior decoration treasure hunters in the old North of the City

Dearhunter Vintage – The owner assists you in finding the hidden pieces

Nonna and Nena at Minimall  – Great lunch inspired by the Turkish and Italian grandmothers of the two owners

Mevrouw Meijer – French food by a Dutch Francophil. The interior is beautifully decorated with vintage wallpapers and small details. The menu changes every two weeks

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// How did you come to collaborate on your ‘Daily Gems’ collection with Siebring & Zoetmulder?

We got to know each other while working at Schieblock, the creative hub in Rotterdam. When Lianne Siebring from Studio Siebring & Zoetmulder approached us to do product styling and photography together with our products we were instantly inspired. Our minimalistic and poetic style with soft pastels and blacks and whites worked really well with the light wood and architectural compositions of the furniture designed by Studio Siebring & Zoetmulder. After receiving positive feedback on our styled photographs we decided to exhibit our work together at SaloneSatellite 2015 in Milan. The idea of a common product grew in our heads and that was the start of ‘Daily Gems’.

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// Siebring & Zoetmulder, what is your background in product design and how would you define your aesthetic as designers?

Lianne and Elise both studied interior architecture at the Willem de Kooning Art academy in Rotterdam. After completion Lianne participated in a masterclass Driving Dutch Design and Elise graduated from a Master Design lab at the Manchester School of Art.

In the work of Lianne Siebring, the user is central. From the choices of material to form, her work is characterised by clear lines that are connected in a smart way.

Elise Zoetmulder takes her inspiration from everyday life. During the design process she is conceptually driven to create functional products. Simplicity is key, using a wide range of materials, she relies on her intuition to realise an artistic and poetic yet functional design.

Since 2013, Lianne Siebring and Elise Zoetmulder have worked together on a collection of design storage systems. As multidisciplinary designers they aim to create trendy interiors and add value to spaces. Their designs are characterised by the careful composition of geometric shapes, resulting in an organic whole.

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// Siebring & Zoetmulder, tell us a little bit about your product ‘Daily Gems’ and how the two design labels worked together.

The two studios combined their aesthetics to create an atmosphere that represents a delicate universe with a minimalistic touch. The graphic patterns and soft colours of the collection of LileSadi works well with the raw and light aspect of the proportions and materialization of S&Z. We believe through collaborating and focusing on our individual skill sets we can create better a more in-depth design.

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// LileSADi, what was the inspiration behind the various design elements you brought to the ‘Daily Gems’ concept? What materials were used?

The idea was not only to create a functional organiser, but also a platform for a beautiful material collage – or as we like to see it, a physical and material still life. It’s a playground for aesthetic compositions of materials, structures and shapes. Suddenly your daily artifacts become part of what looks like a classical Dutch still life painting, the concept that gives roots to the name ‘Daily gems’.
The inspiration for the materials comes from the city of Rotterdam: where exciting architecture and industrial materials shape the landscape.

The Daily Gems cabinet features two boxes cleverly juxtaposed and interconnected, creating interesting and functional spaces.
The boxes are designed with beautifully milled lines all around the cabinet. They create a subtle pattern and rhythm, serving as rails for several different materials.

The materials were carefully selected and hand-crafted. Each one tells its own narrative: a circular screen-printed mirror, a perforated recycled metal square, a brass triangle with rain drops from Rotterdam and a hand-made cobalt blue porcelain circle. Their function is not just an aesthetic one, they also add value on a functional level. For instance, they can be used to lean a book against, hang jewellery on, display a plant, or store away your gloves.

These geometric textured shapes are made to feel, experience and create a sensorial poetic cityscape on the cabinet.

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// Siebring & Zoetmulder – Do you see yourselves developing more products together with Studio LileSADi? How did collaborating influence the quality and end look of the product?

Our collaboration with LileSADi was a natural, organic process. Currently we are still collaborating and will hopefully continue in the future.

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// Collaboration is a growing trend in the creative sector and between designers and creatives. What do you love about collaborating and how does it benefit you as a design label?

Firstly, collaborating is more fun! But apart from that, we can all focus on your own skill sets and complete each other. It creates a more in-depth multidisciplinary but also timeless design. In this time, where information is so widely available online, we think it is a must to develop specific qualities of design skills. Through collaborating this is possible!

Thank you to Sarah, Dinah , Elise and Lianne for allowing us to peek into your world for a bit and learn more about what you do.

To view more of the collection shown here, visit LileSADI and Siebring & Zoetmulder.

Have a lovely day,

Holly x

Styling and Photography | Avenue Lifestyle for LileSADi and Siebring & Zoetmulder | Photographed in the Avenue Lifestyle Studio; with thanks to Nathalie Fransen for loaning your living room (first 2 images)

Simple Styling with Vintage

June 12th, 2015

Hey guys, remember this house with the red floors? It belongs to friends of mine who have since moved and have opened up the house as a BnB for travellers heading to The Hague. Last week I received a frantic phone call from the owner, a good friend of mine and talented architect, saying that the house had suddenly received three bookings for the following day but was still empty (they’d only managed to get in the basics – beds, linen and a 4 meter table), and could I please go in an style it with props until they had a chance to bring in all the bits and pieces. I’d been working on an event that week and had been collaborating with a local vintage supplier so I made some calls and hit the shops. Pronto. I had 24 hours to style a two story, three bedroom house for it’s guests arriving the following afternoon! I thought it’d be fun to show you some of the spaces and how I did some simple styling with mostly vintage. It’s amazing how little you actually need to create a fun and inviting space, and I love using vintage pieces for the personality they bring to a space without too much effort.

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The house has fire engine red floorboards throughout, so I brought in items that would compliment the floors, add some fun and whimsy yet keep it calming at the same time for tired travellers looking to unwind. I brought in lots of texture and a neutral palette of creams and whites with pops of burnt reds and black for contrast and depth. As I was very short on time, the basis of the spaces needed to be pretty plain, so I brought in varying patterns to add interest and offset all the white and clean space. Here’s another view of this bedroom:

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I actually picked up that little boho style wicker bench while I was prop hunting on the day of this installation. It was propped outside a sweet little shop called Wauw (Piet Heinstraat, Den Haag, very lovely) and it literally stopped me in my tracks. I bought it right away and stuffed it in the back of my car, deciding to double up and use it for the BnB because it was the perfect piece for this little bedroom nook.

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Although there’s a ton of empty space here (and given the time and budget I would totally have stuck a fabulous piece of abstract art above the bench, I admit), the texture and delicate lines of the bench, sculptural shape of the plant, warm colours and tons of texture make everything feel light, airy and very holiday-like, which is exactly how this room should feel.

IN THIS ROOM: Bench | Black and white cushion | Floral cushion (vintage) | Walnut candlestick | Pottery planter | Rug | Black patterned cushion

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Here’s another room that got a quick makeover with nothing but a few vintage pieces and fresh linens. Forgot the before picture, folks. My bad.

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In this space, calming grey tones and burnt oranges downplay the bright floors and add a sense of calm and comfort. Again, lots of texture and patterns to offset all the white space. A woven wall hanging above that lamp would totally float my boat, by the way. But bed linens and woollen textures boost the comfort factor, with a scattering of cushions both old and new.

IN THIS ROOM: Vintage lamp and wicker stool | Dark grey blanket | Grey bed linen | Patterned cushion | Blue and white patterned cushion

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Upstairs is a large space with exposed wooden ceiling beams and loads of light. It used to be a living room but has been turned into a spacious communal dining space for the guests at the BnB. When I arrived at the house, there was nothing but a 4 meter table, a quirky ceiling lamp and a whooole lotta red.

An eclectic collection of chairs around the table and a few accessories completed the space. A few larger scale artworks would have finished this room off for sure – those heigh ceilings and huge windows are just begging for some statement pieces of art.

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Pretty cool to see how little is actually needed to add personality to a space (even a large space like this one) using vintage right? Ps: I am obsessed with that little pot belly stove.

IN THIS ROOM: Vintage dining chairs | Eye Eye poster | Vintage yellow string chair and mosaic table |Vintage wood and brass bowl and wooden tea set| Magazine holder | Embroidered cushion on yellow chair | Woven fruit basket 

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This bedroom has the most beautiful reclaimed antique sliding doors in a pale green colour, flanked by charcoal grey walls. Exposed ceiling beams are also a wonderful feature. I wanted to draw attention to these details by bringing in fresh whites and just a few pops of bold colour and pattern. I added some sculptural elements to draw the eye to those beautiful doors. A pair of vintage flying birds on the wall are super kitsch but in a clean, unfussy setting they are totally cool.

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Texture, colour, pattern, the use of various natural materials (wicker, ceramic, walnut, brass) and lots of subtle layering of textiles is what makes this space so lovely and inviting. And so simple too, guys. Just a few well chosen accessories is all you need to really finish off a space and vintage pieces keep it looking original too.

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And yes, I covered the headboards. They weren’t working for me at all, and I didn’t know they were all brightly coloured before I rocked up with two car loads of vintage props! It was a quick fix – a few sheets of fabric and the grey hairs those fabrics were giving me were a thing of the past. Of course we all know this was all purely for the shoot, so I could show you the impact of simple styling with vintage accessories. I let the guests rest their tired heads against those crazy headboards the following day but subsequently had to remove the cushions, which weren’t working in the space anymore. Such is life, my friends.

IN THIS ROOM: White bed linen | Button cushion | Vintage side table  | Tapestry cushion and green planter | Vintage birds

Hope you guys enjoyed this post and were able to take some ideas away. You really don’t need so much to turn a space around, so hit the markets and vintage shops and pick up some treasures to style simply with at home this weekend.

Holly x

Styling & Photography: Holly Marder for Avenue Lifestyle | Assistance: Aukje Schukken | With products by: Deja Vintage, Verzamelaars van Vrolijkheid, The Fine Store, By Mölle, Madame Curioka, Schoolhouse Electric

Avenue Lifestyle in vtwonen Magazine!

June 2nd, 2015

Hey guys, I am so excited to show you the results of an interview the Dutch interiors magazine vtwonen did on me and my blog recently. This six page feature is what followed after winning the vtwonen Best New Blog Award at Meet The Blogger last fall and I can’t express how grateful this kind of recognition makes me. I shot all the images in this spread (snippets of my home and my home town of Delft) except the profile shot of me, which was captured by Hanke Arkenbout. The author of the feature, the lovely Flory Hartog, did such a wonderful job of documenting my story that I had it translated it into English for those of you who don’t have access to the magazine to read. Enjoy!

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Holly Marder from Avenue Lifestyle is secretly rather proud of what she has accomplished thus far. On blogging at 2am, the line between public and private, and about perfectionism: “When I style I become a different version of myself, one that takes photographs of a messy, slept-in bed!”

The Blogger

Who: Holly Marder (29, stylist, photographer, and blogger)

Blog: www.avenuelifestyle.com

Blogging since: 2011

About: Interior styling and projects

Why: “The blog is mostly about my own house or projects I do as part of my work as a stylist and interior design journalist. In this way I reach an audience with a similar aesthetic and new potential clients.”

Style: “Feminine and light, natural and basic with lots of organic forms.”

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The seven sins of Holly

Lust “Pinterest is definitely a source of lust for me. It started as a guilty pleasure, but it has grown into a tool internal to my work as stylist.” Gluttony “I’m always on the look-out for special and unique pieces of art, for myself and for my clients.” Greed “Ceramics and stoneware for the kitchen. Plates, vases, mugs… if I spot something beautiful – especially if it’s artisan made – I have to have it. And the worst thing is that my husband isn’t allowed to use them, I’m just so in love with these delicate items.” Sloth “I wish I could be lazy! I can’t stand mess, so I spend very little time relaxing on the couch. I’m always tidying something up!” Wrath “An untidy home makes me very anxious. I like things just so, which drives my husband nuts!” Envy “I envy people that have a lot of time to practice their talents. At the moment I am juggling my work load in two days a week so often feel short on time. Soon however my little girl Lola will be attending school and I’ll have more time on my hands. All the things I’m going to do!” Pride “I’m very proud of what I have accomplished over the last few years. I came here six years ago with nothing but a suitcase full of clothes and now have a wonderful husband, a beautiful daughter and a home that keeps getting lovelier on top of an increasingly successful career as a stylist, photographer and blogger. A major accomplishment was recently winning the vtwonen blogger award, and it’s just getting better and better!”

Pictured above: Superfront sideboard | Ikea table | Vintage Thonet chairs | Iumi lamp | Matisse figure study artwork | Bij Marlies vintage rug | See more of the studio here

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>> What do you enjoy about blogging?

“Blogging is not the primary part of my job and I usually do it late at night, when I’m by myself in my studio. I love to share, and the blog is a platform for me to share what I do. It’s very important to me that the blog is unique, with my own work as much as possible – using my own photographs or images by a photographer capturing my styling work. I love to inspire people with my ideas and images that were born from my own efforts.”

>> Give an example of your work with which you inspire people?

“The makeover of my bedroom which I blogged about went all over the world! From vtwonen to My Scandinavian Home in Sweden, SFGirlbyBay in San Francisco and on Pinterest, I have seen images of our bedroom all over the place and it has been extremely humbling. The bedroom also featured in COUCH magazine in Germany.”

>> Why do you think that post went viral?

“The before and after situations were dramatically different from each other, and the end result was simple, calming and light, with pure white walls, a few vintage pieces and linen bedding. I think the simplicity of the space is what ultimately appealed to people. People wan tot know how they can transform  space with little effort and expense, which is something this space achieved.”

>> How does your work as a stylist and decorator make you happy?

“I always feel so honored when someone trusts me with the styling and decorating of their home. Saying to me, ‘do what you would do in your own home’ is a huge compliment.”

>> How would you describe your style?

“I really love the light aesthetic of Nordic interiors, clean with loads of personality. What I find most important is a sense of cohesiveness a space, that everything in it belongs. A home should feel welcoming to everyone, young or old, and it has to be liveable!”

Things I Share

>> What do you and don’t you share on your blog?

“There is a very delicate balance between public and private on my blog. I generally only share things that have to do with my work. I very rarely share images or stories about my daughter Lola or my life as a wife or mother. I try to share posts that directly have something to do with style. We recently took a family trip to Paris that was combined with work (I went to shoot an interior and we added a few vacation days to the trip), which I shared on the blog. This level of sharing I feel is fine, but I would not go into detail about  my personal life for the sake of my own, and my family’s, privacy.”

>> Do you show everything that concerns your work?

“A lot, but not everything. I’m careful about sharing projects that are still in development. I’m happy to share things when they are complete, but am careful not to give my readers false expectations or give away the information and advice that my clients pay for. I share many of my daily adventures on Instagram, but complete projects make it to the blog in full when they are ready to and not before. I have lots of projects in the works that I can’t wait to share!”

>> Why is your blog ad-free?

“My blog isn’t my main source of income, but it does generate work for me. The blog is an extension of my creative life and a peek into my aesthetic and inspiration as a stylist. The majority of my clients that ask me to design and style their interiors find me through my blog. I prefer to keep my intentions pure and not connect my name to commercial parties that are not a genuine fit with Avenue Lifestyle.”

>> You don’t do sponsored posts either?

“Sometimes, but more often than not I approach the company myself, and work with hand selected brands and designers whose style I admire and whose products I genuinely love. I recently worked with Superfront in this way, a Scandinavian company that designs elements for customising Ikea furniture. I approached them with the suggestion to collaborate because I love their concept so much and was in the process of decorating my studio space. I used generously sponsored items from Superfront in my studio tour in exchange for original styled images of their product and the exposure on my blog and through my social media network. We were both thrilled with the collaboration.”

Pictured above: Sofa Company couch | Vintage rug | Vintage coffee table | Abstract art by Lola Donoghue (similar in my shop)| Abstract art by Jaime Derringer | Art by Stilleben | Vitra cushion | Ferm Living kilim cushion | Wall sconce lamp by Schoolhouse Electric

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Things I do

>> A day in the work life of Holly?

“At the moment, I work two days a week, while my daughter is at creche. That means that I work a lot at night, sometimes until two in the morning, to manage my work load. Sometimes Lola and I work together at my desk, she with her coloring pencils on one end, and me with my PC at the other. On Wednesdays and Thursdays I have my hands free. I try to spend one of those days in the studio, answering mails, editing photographs, designing interiors and placing orders for clients. The other day I’m out and about, meeting clients, shopping or photographing interiors. My clients and photography projects come first, so sometimes blogging takes a back seat. This is something I hope will change as I start to have more time on my hands, because I really do love to blog and share my love of style and interiors.”

>> You also photograph a lot abroad?

“I get on a plane to shoot an interior abroad every few months. I was in Madrid back in November to photograph two interiors and then in Paris in March. My schedule is always very tight during these trips: I fly out on a Tuesday evening, spend two days shooting on location and return home on Thursday night after a full day behind the camera. There’s usually no time for exploring, though I’d love to! My images are sent soon after returning to magazines (via two agents that represent my work) for publishing.”

>> Do you see and talk to other bloggers?

“If at all possible I try to participate in the bigger events that, for example Meet the Blogger and The Hive organise. It’s always a pleasure to meet and talk to the people that I mostly have online contact with in real life.”

>> Does the blogger community feel like a community?

“Everyone has their own story, but a love of sharing is what connects us all. You really understand each other’s struggle to keep a blog alive and inspiring, and there’s a lot of encouragement and support flying around the online world. That absolutely creates a sense of community and solidarity.”

Pictured above: Bed linen by Couleur Locale | Artwork by Puur Anders | Bedside table | Vintage artworks, blanket and harmonica wall sconce | See more of the bedroom here

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Things I Want

>> What are your plans for the next two years?

“Right now I’m working on several projects which I’d like to wrap up so I can share them on the blog. I’d like to do more “before and after” features, as I know my readers love those. I’d also like to build a small team around me, to work and create with. I’m quite lonely at times! A little extra manpower behind Avenue Lifestyle would be welcome, so I’ll be working hard to make that happen in the near future. I love seeing my work in print, so I’ll be continuing to photograph interiors and share them with my network of magazines. I always get so excited when a magazine wants to publish my images, it really is an honour.”

>> A blogger that gets excited by paper?

“I think that the online and offline world complement and reinforce each other. Magazines and bloggers collectively cater to a very wide audience and it makes me happy that an influential magazine like vtwonen embraces bloggers and the work that they do.”

>> What’s in the works for your own interior?

“Oh, so much! I love change and am always brining new things into our home. I have my eyes on a new dining table at the moment and the kitchen, extension and garden are also high on our list for renovating and restyling. There’s always something to do, and I am sure once it’s done we will be on the lookout for a new project. All the more to share on the blog!”

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Holly’s Favorites 

>> Shopping

“The most charming little antique shop in Delft, De Kaerskorf Antiquiteiten (Markt 2, Delft), is in a beautiful 16th century building. The owner is an enthusiastic collector and has a gorgeous collection of antique tiles. I love giving authentic tiled as gifts to special visitors.”

“I love shopping for vintage and use vintage a lot in my work as a stylist and in my own home. Deja Vintage (Markt 85, Delft) has a great selection in excellent condition and price ranges. I found our coffee table there!”

>> Food

Hills & Mills (Oude Langendijk 6, Delft) is a charming pure food cafe serving biological, healthy and delicious food in a former bakery located in the historical heart of Delft. The family owned business prides itself on exceptional quality food and service, offering breakfast, coffee, lunch, herbal teas, fresh smoothies, frozen yoghurt and dinner. Their naan-burger with mango chutney is to die for!

I’ll share more of my favourites from Delft soon, but that’s a quick selection that I highly recommend from the magazine feature!

Hope you guys enjoyed this interview and feature.

A big thank you to the team at vtwonen, who think my work and blog is inspiring enough to share on their beautiful pages, and to Flory for all the hours it took to get this interview written down (from a 1.5 hour interview on the phone in English, into Dutch!). I am so grateful.

With love,

Holly x

Photography: Holly Marder for Avenue Lifestyle & Hanke Arkenbout / Words: Flory Hartog / Translation: Aukje Schukken, with thanks xxx