Archive for August, 2013

Exciting News + Light Living in London

August 30th, 2013

Hello! We’ve had the most gorgeous temperatures here in the Netherlands lately. I think summer has decided to stick around for a little longer than originally planned, which I think is only fair given the winter we had this year. But it’s not just sunny skies that have me smiling today. It’s the news we received this week that our mortgage has been approved and we get the keys to our new house on 1 November! After a tiresome 18-month long search for a home to buy (our first), we finally snagged a very sweet little house in Delft that has (by some miracle) managed to tick every box on our combined wish list. I won’t go into too much detail just now, but know that mind, body and soul have vacated the premises and are now camping out at the new residence!

One thing I am looking forward to in our new home is bringing in loads of light, the power of which is largely underestimated. Having now spent six long winters in Europe, I have only just realised that there is something far more crucial than a cute new winter coat when the cool temperatures draw in. I don’t know about you, but what can have a major impact on my mood is a lack of light, and I have that a lot in our current home. Because my home office is between two rooms with a tiny slither of a window, I am always working beneath artificial light, which I am sure does something to me. So what I am most excited about is creating a cheerful, light-filled home for us all, and a brighter workspace for me. I recently spotted this gorgeous home photographed by James Merrell for Livingetc, which is not only absolutely beautiful, but natural light just bounces off the walls and fills me with instant calm.







Doesn’t all that gorgeous natural light make you happy? Crisp white walls, pale wooden floors and minimal living make this four-storey Victorian terrace in east London one of my favorites to date. I love the clean, modern feel with classic design details, a little bit of history and natural textures.

This lovely London home has left me feeling inspired about our exciting new adventure. Can’t wait to get stuck into a pot of white paint!

Tell me: Does light affect your mood, too? How do you combat the lack of light during the winter time to lift your spirits at home?  

Holly x

Image credits: James Merrell for Livingetc

Funky Gallery Wall in Amsterdam

August 28th, 2013

I was recently on location in Amsterdam at the home of Hyland Mather, a Canadian art dealer who is based in the Dutch capital. A spacious apartment with a retro vintage vibe, I was instantly taken by the striking gallery wall he has created mixing various art styles, an ever-evolving extension of his work and passion for art. Take a peek below at his clever compilation, interspersed with his own string art, and read the full story here.



You’ll see from his Houzz feature that salvaged street finds, vintage classics and contemporary art fill Mather’s Amsterdam rental, which he shares with his wife Malia and their son Addison. “Personal meaning is key, and it has to be uniquely cool to stay,” says Hyland of his self described ‘finder’s keepers style. The results are an eclectic, quirky and comfortable living space for this family of three.

At home, Mather is given free reign when it comes to aesthetics. But with a love of art that spans decades and an eye for the beauty in stressed shabby finds – usually hauled in from the curbside – you’d better believe this art fanatic will happily marry the two, interspersed with a few design classics here and there. “Both Malia and I quite like to ‘take in a lost item’ off of the streets when we see something worthy of a little second chance love,” he says. But for me, the stand-out feature of their ground floor apartment is the blue-grey wall dotted with a rotating selection of quirky, contemporary artworks. Some of his favourites, include original works by  Evan HecoxFaileDeedee Cheriel and Amanda Marie.



Last week I visited Mather’s gallery Battalion located in the stunning Westergasfabriek building to choose a piece of art for a shoot I was doing in The Hague. I snapped a pic on Instagram if you’re curious as to what I picked out. It was a colourful, abstract piece by Anna Taratiel. The gallery has so much more to offer than what’s on the website, and it’s gorgeous too. I also took a photo while in there for you to see, check it out here. If you’re ever in that part of town, Battalion Gallery is a great find!

Have a great day,


Photography: Holly Marder for Houzz

Swedish Country Dreaming

August 22nd, 2013

As a blogger, I spend a lot of time roaming the web to find inspiration. Sometimes I lock eyes on something so sweet that I find myself lost in another world. Today, that world is somewhere in the Swedish countryside, unwinding in this beautiful country home which was snapped by it’s immensely talented home owner, photographer Helena Blom, and featured in the Swedish publication Lantliv.




After I spent the best part of what must have been an hour admiring the leather Chesterfield, I was taken by the soothing white, wood and neutral tones throughout this sweet family home. The image above of the children picking wild flowers along the road side is my idea of a good frolic! So adorable and so quintessentially Scandinavian. Images like this have me wishing we were raising our little girl in an environment like this, where she can breath fresh air every day, roam free and really frolic about like children should!




I was also drawn to the mixed assortment of dining chairs, and the industrial touches here and there. But what caught my eye straight away were the simple greens arranged throughout the home. Sweet, effortless simplicity.

Authentic details such as that gorgeous front door and the stairs also had me letting out deep sighs of delight, and something I have never seen is a hand railing made from branches like on the quaint little garden shed. If I owned this home, that would be my home office. Yes, yes I think that would be lovely actually. And after work, I’d flop my tired self into one of those hammocks…

Well, enough dreaming from me. What do you love about this home?

Hope you’ve had a lovely Thursday. Today, I took Lola over to my good friend Nathalie for an indoor picnic on her living room floor, since the weather in Delft was a little depressing today. So much fun to be had from such a simple idea. I posted a couple of snaps on InstagramThis one was such a sweet shot of the three little kiddos looking longingly at the brownie Nathalie had made for us. Will have to do that again :)

See you back here soon!

Holly x

Image credits: Helena Blom for Lantliv Magazine

Botanical Prints Take Me Back

August 20th, 2013

I grew up surrounded by antiques that were passed down to my mother from my grandparents, so my appreciation runs deep. Part of my mother’s inheritance included four huge botanical prints which now hang beautifully in my sister’s holiday home in Noosa, Australia. I always have this overwhelming sense of nostalgia when I look at those prints, and now I know why. My love of botany and those delicate artworks stems back to a book I used to flip through as a child, entitled ‘The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady‘, written and illustrated by Edith Holden, a naturalist of the early 1900s. I was looking through my daughter’s books recently for something to read to her, when my eye caught the familiar spine of a book I knew so well, in another lifetime.

the country diary if an edwardian lady

As a young girl, I would spend hours flipping through the delicately illustrated pages, reading the poems, personal thoughts and observations all carefully written by hand. It was my Uncle who eventually gave it to me before I left for Europe 6 years ago. It is a reproduction first published in 1977 of a naturalist’s diary for the year 1906. Holden recorded in words and paintings the flora and fauna of the British countryside through the changing seasons. Setting eyes on this book for the first time in years has transported me back to life a six-year-old, and today I wanted to share some botanical inspiration with you, too.



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I love seeing interiors with botanical references. It instantly takes me back to my childhood and to the pages of that book. While botanical prints can easily look old fashioned, I like them best when added to crisp white spaces, such as Jeanette Lunde’s gorgeous Scandinavian home below.



There’s something about botanical prints that add a touch of romance to a space, and who doesn’t need a bit of romance every now and then? I love them when displayed simply on the wall, using simple clips, a strip of tape, or even pegged to a piece of string. Heavy framing can take away some of the delicacy and charm of the image, I feel.



I hope you enjoyed that little trip down memory lane with me today. I am going to spend some time today flipping through the book once more. It still smells of my grandparent’s house. Heaven.

Have a lovely day, and I’ll see you back here soon with another fun home tour!


Image credits: 1. Nizer Fontoura; 2 & 3. Kitka; 4. Gutenberg; 5 & 6. Jeanette Lunde of By Fryd ; 7. Hampton SC; 8. 1st Dibs

Inside Scoop: Colour Rules in a Dutch Family Home

August 16th, 2013

Hello! How are you today? I am excited to share a bunch of snaps I recently took of the most cheerful home I have seen to date. It is the home of designer Femke Dekker of the gorgeous interiors boutique Femkeido. I fist went to photograph her dining room and bedroom for the German interior design book I am featuring in, but the moment I clapped eyes on this bright and colourful interior, I knew I had to schedule another shoot and go back for the rest. And did I have fun! I did the second shoot exclusively for Decor8, knowing Holly would adore this home as much as I did. I was excited to see that the tour was featured last week {seeing my work published never gets old} so thought I’d share some of my favourite snaps of the tour with you and a few others too from the entire collection.







There were far too many great shots to just offer you a taste, so I went a little crazy. Apologies in advance for the RSI you’ll get from scrolling through this one! The fact that this home was positively huge {for Dutch standards} didn’t help matters, and Femke left no stone unturned where decorating was concerned. Every single corner of her home has been carefully curated and styled, oozing a quintessentially colorful and typically Femkeido aesthetic.












“I don’t think too much about how I decorate my home, I just do what feels natural and add pieces that I love,” Femke says. In my feature for Decor8, Femke explains how she layers colour on colour to create this playful look. I personally love the bedroom with soothing neutral shades and pops of pastel pink. Also striking is the charcoal grey wall that spans the length of the open living, dining and kitchen and the way both pastel tones and bright neons just jump right out. It’s masculine meets feminine, with concrete floors against a rainbow of colour. It’s a playground for the senses, for both Femke and her husband, as well as their three kids. It’s fun yet sophisticated all at once. It’s rather genius, in fact.

Keen to read more about this home and see some more lovely imagery? Pop on over to Decor8 and take a peek!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Holly x

Moodboard Challenge: Coastal Calm

August 14th, 2013

Hello! The weekend came and went far too quickly as always, but I’m happy to be back here with some pretty colour inspiration to kick start the week with. This time, in the form of a soothing summer palette and moodboard. I must admit, the idea isn’t entirely my own. An email recently popped up in my inbox from the lovely Claudia behind the travel and design blog DesignClaud, asking a bunch of bloggers if we’d be up for a moodboard challenge. The task was to pick a landscape photo taken by ourselves, to identify a colour palette and a create a mood board inspired by the image. I thought it was a fun and creative way to link up and connect with other bloggers, plus I’ll take any excuse to fiddle about with colours and pretty pictures. I had a good snoop around my files and unearthed the below beauty, snapped while on a road trip through France with a friend back in 2007 when I first came to Europe. I love the image for the calm, serenity and sense of eternity it leaves long after the first glance.

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The image I chose captures soft shades of grey, sand, dreamy blues with pops of green and mustard yellow. An interesting and challenging combination, but gorgeous nonetheless. I’d love to see a coastal cottage decorated in this palette.

I wanted to moodboard to convey a sense of calm with coastal influences, like the image does. I went for a soft shades and images that felt a little organic and very peaceful. This was fun! I have never made a moodboard before, so I enjoyed playing with palettes and creating this one.

Pop over to DesignClaud to find out more about the challenge, get some tips on how to create both a color palette and a moodboard, and see what other clever bloggers have created. You can also link up your own post if you feel like giving this a try too.

Have a lovely day!


Image credits: Beach image and colour palette by Holly Marder; 1. source unknown; 2. Weekday Carnival; 3. House Tweaking; 4. Safavieh Rugs; 5. Carnevale Clay


Inside Scoop: Savvy Space-Saving Design in a Netherlands Home

August 10th, 2013

It’s days like the one that I am about to re-live that I consider myself very fortunate in my work. To be able to peek into a stunningly renovated home and hang out with the most wonderful bunch of strangers while snapping the pretty space they call home is a lot of fun! On this particular occasion I found myself in Utrecht, marveling at some seriously smart, jaw-dropping interior architecture in the company of it’s sunny inhabitants, Karianne Peeters, Erikjan de Wit and their super cute kiddos, Jan-Jan and Jikke. On assignment for Houzz, I spent a lovely Saturday getting to know this family and learning all about their renovation of this once-commercial space. Here are some of my favourite snaps from the tour.







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Polished concrete floors, beautiful oak doors and  a custom kitchen, high ceilings, and light for days makes this place one of my favourite home tours to date. But aesthetics aside, I loves seeing how Karianne and Erikjan created a practical home for themselves and their two little ones with a small amount of space and a very specific layout. The house has essentially two bedrooms. The master bedroom above the kitchen incorporates a home office and leads out onto a roof terrace. The kids share a bedroom above the living room. In what used to be a built-in wardrobe, the couples youngest child, Jikke, enjoys a perfectly cosy space for her bed and a set of drawers. Knowing that space would soon become an issue, Karianne and Erikjan put their house on the market to look for something bigger for their growing family, but in the meantime, they have been incredibly creative with the space available to them. It’s always interesting to read the reactions my European Houzz tours get from the mostly American readership. I think it’s difficult to imagine a family of four sharing a space this size, as it is in Australia and South Africa where I’m from. Being one of the smallest countries on earth with a huge population, large houses with gardens come at a 9very high) premium, so finding savvy space saving solutions is key. It’s so interesting how this couple managed to create so much extra space simply by knocking out a wall which once split the kitchen in half, giving them all that space upstairs for the office and storage cupboard. I also love all the raw materials used throughout, including concrete, oak, plywood, steel and aluminum. And that touch of blue in the kicthen is perfection!

If you want to read their story, which includes their renovation steps and budget, click here.

Absolutely loved seeing this space, and I am looking forward to seeing what Karianne and Erikjan do with their next house! Stay tuned for part two…one day.

So tell me, what do you love about this space?

Have a wonderful weekend!


Colour Files: Peach, Grey and Turquoise

August 8th, 2013

Hello! Back today with some pretty colour inspiration for you as part of my ‘Colour Files‘ column. This time, I am crushing on a summery combo of peach, grey and turquoise. It started when I spotted the below image by the interior design duo behind Jersey Ice Cream Co. Fresh and feminine, it’s had me all sorts of excited about a little project I will be starting in the not too distant future: redecorating Lola’s bedroom!

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I was instantly drawn to the sweet shades of peachy pink and soft grey with touches of turquoise and even cobalt blue when I clapped eyes on that darling row of ribbons. Pretty but not too girly, it’s the perfect palette for a little girl’s bedroom. We’ve been considering getting her a bigger bed now that she’s two, and of course that idea sparked a never-ending rabbit hole search this week for ideas and inspiration. I just love the bedroom above, which incorporates the same pretty palette.

Not limited to the room of a toddler, however, these pretty pastel hues would also perk up any living room too. Paired with grey, they give the whole palette a neutral quality. A few accessories, artworks or fresh flowers would be enough to add a fresh summery scheme to a lacklustre space, like the gorgeous watercolour artworks by Leslie Schewring for her ‘Color Me Pretty‘ column on Decor8. L.O.V.E!

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In the gorgeous living room above, a bold tufted turquoise sofa is offset by a pretty patterned sofa in grey and peach. In a neutral setting, the colours bounce off the walls and the room has just the right amount of pretty without being overwhelmingly feminine.

Do you love these colours too? Would you change anything about this combo at all?

Can’t wait to get started on Lola’s big girl bedroom now! Was recently given an old wooden cabinet which I plan to update for her bedroom. Me thinks it needs a lick of mint green paint and some pretty peach handles… more on that later!

Holly x

Image credits: 1 Jersey Ice Cream; 2 Ferm Living; 3 Leslie Schewring for Decor8 (left), Nessa.B (right); 4 Leslie Schewring for Decor8; 5 Nessa.B (left), Caitlin Shearer (right); 6 Living Etc.