Archive for October, 2013

Inside Scoop: Scandinavian Style in The Hague

October 31st, 2013

Hello! It’s almost the end of the week and the start of a very exciting journey for me and my family, because tomorrow we get the keys to our new house! It’s a super cute little row house near the centre of Delft, and though it needs a little bit of love (OK, a LOT of love!) we are smitten and I can’t wait to share bits and pieces of our new home with you all in the months to come when things are a little bit settled. But today I am dreaming of another home, the gorgeous home of my good friend Hedda Pier, which I styled and photographed for my Homes With Heart column on Decor8. It’s light, it’s bright and it has loads of Scandinavian charm, so sit back and soak up the full scoop because I have plenty of eye candy for you today!









As an interior designer, Hedda saw immediate potential when she laid eyes on the period details, space and light of what was to become the home she would share with her husband Michiel and daughter Stella. An experimental renovation quickly followed the purchase of their three-storey row house from the 1800s, and the results are a light and spacious affair that seamlessly weaves function with aesthetics. The living room on the second floor features Farrow & Ball’s Mizzle on the lower half of the walls, which adds a soft touch to the bright turquoise and red accents and a fabulous painting by Anna Taratiel from Amsterdam’s Battalion Gallery. Soft tones return to the space in a variety of cushions on the couch, off-setting those brights and adding balance and calm to the space. Various accessories adorn a vintage credenza, but my favourite is that stunning turquoise vase by Lenneke Wispelwey. The modern colour and structure creates a striking contrast against the retro vintage pieces. That gorgeous painting behind the credenza was a gift to Hedda from her father. On the same floor is the couple’s bedroom.







How gorgeous is that bedroom? This is where Hedda and Michiel come to relax at the end of a busy day, with soothing blue tones throughout. The fabulous Piet Hein Eek ‘Scrapwood’ wallpaper was the starting point for the colour scheme in here, where turquoise, powder blue, charcoal and wood tones weave their way around the room, but really striking is the built-in cabinet the couple had made out of underlayment. Their contractor said it couldn’t be done, but as you can see it was a great success and such a creative and budget friendly idea too. I love the texture that By Mölle blanket on the end adds to the space. That one was picked up at Femkeido. And the bedside tables are rather ingenious – Hedda reused old kitchen cabinets to create those! Let’s check out the kitchen downstairs!




A light colour palette of white, powder blue and pale wood and high set windows cast aside any previous concerns there might have been that this ground floor kitchen would be too dark. Mismatched chairs surrounding their custom oak dining table and charm by the bucket load make this a fun and family friendly kitchen for Hedda and Michiel to enjoy their time together as a family. Through the kitchen and on to the entry, check out Hedda’s gorgeous home office where she runs her interior design business Saus Design.








I love the simplicity of Hedda’s studio, with a central desk in front of the windows that line the front of the house, and plenty of practicality. As a designer, you end up accumulating so much stuff that it’s crucial to have space for it all. Some things look great displayed too, though, such as gorgeous wallpaper and fabric samples, colour cards and this space strikes the perfect balance between functional and stylish.

But stepping away for a moment, let me just tell you a bit about Hedda. She is sassy, stylish and above all, practical, which are all fabulous qualities that she brings into the interiors she designs. But it’s her positivity and sense of self that really shines through for me, not only on a professional level, but also as a friend. Hedda was the one who convinced me to chase my dreams and create a career around styling and interiors from the very beginning. She has been such an inspiration to me, having walked out of a lackluster office job herself to start up as a designer just a few years ago, and for the two and a half years I have known her she has been nothing but encouraging and supportive. Whenever we get together we talk for hours on end, discussing colour palettes, current assignments, and our crazy kids. And we have been known to sink a gin and tonic or two and giggle the hours away but let’s not get off track! To the top floor to where the aforementioned crazy kids reside…







If those aren’t cute bedrooms, I just don’t know what are! I love all the little details she has added to their spaces – the pink skirting boards, cute display boxes for all their trinkets, soft colour palettes with brights popping up here and there, and adorable wall stickers. If I had laid eyes on one of these bedrooms as a child, I never would have left! So much thought went into designing these spaces. Hedda intentionally placed interesting items low down in the rooms to peak the interests of her children and encourage them to reach for books and toys. Very clever.

So what do you think of this house? Gorgeous or gorgeous? If you’re keen to see more of this house and read their whole story, head on over to Decor8!

Have a great day!

Holly x

* All images were styled and photographed by Holly Marder for Decor8 and Avenue Lifestyle

At the Kinfolk Table

October 29th, 2013

I’ve spoken before about my love for Kinfolk. The magazine, the events and their entire philosophy that is all about getting back to basics and enjoying delicious food in the company of likeminded people in an intimate gathering. And now Kinfolk have launched their brand new book, The Kinfolk Table, which draws on these exact ideas and offers beautiful and inspiring recipes to inspire small gatherings. I was invited to attend a Kinfolk gathering last weekend, which took place in a Manhattan style apartment in Amsterdam, hosted by two of the loveliest people I know, Chantal and Harry, whose apartment and Provence home I photographed some months ago. They prepared a feast for their 16 guests of all of their favourite Dutch, French and Italian dishes. It was absolutely beautiful. The tables were simply decorated in fall fashion with tiny candles, fresh herbs and pinecones and we dined off Chantal’s 100 year old serveware that used to belong to her grandmother. It was the most wonderful evening, chatting, sharing recipes and savouring the moment, and all in celebration of the beautiful book. Photographer Danique was there to capture all of the gorgeous details, which I am so happy to share with you here. Bon appétit!





















That’s me holding the plum tart, and boy did I eat a LOT of that! Everything was delicious, with gorgeous cheeses to start the evening off, fish soup, lentil salad, courgette risotto, and trio of desserts which included that amazing plum tart, chocolate mousse and stewed apples. I went home with a full belly and a happy heart. A huge thank you to Chantal and Harry for their brilliant hospitality {and the extra 10 kilo’s I put on that night}!

And Didn’t Danique do the most wonderful job on the photography? If you don’t know her work yet, you must visit her site 88Forever and take a peek into her portfolio. Her style is soft and romantic with a vintage feel to it, and is very similar to the look and feel of one of my favourite photographers, Laura D’Arte. Truly inspiring, and all so soft and natural. You can see more gorgeous imagery of the Kinfolk dinner on her blog.

Have a wonderful day,

Holly x

Photography by 88Forever


Giveaway! Win LileSADI home accessories

October 28th, 2013

I am excited to announce another exciting giveaway on the blog! This time, Rotterdam based accessories studio LileSADI is offering you the chance to win one of FOUR gorgeous products. For this giveaway, I teamed up with the girls over at Nu interieur|ontwerp again to bring this fun product range to you. LileSADI is a collaboration between German textile and surface designer Dinah Smutny and her twin sister Sarah Smutny. The duo work create a range of graphic accessories for the home including cushions, wallpaper and illustrative prints featuring geometric lines, pretty pastels and whimsical designs. You can see the whole collection in their webshop. Think one of the below beauties would look great in your home? See how to enter below!




1. Poster illustration ‘End of summer‘ 50x70cm; printed on 170grams of off-white matte paper (shown above)

2. Cushion ‘Dimensions‘ 45x45cm; including pillow insert of 100% feathers; Inspired by the mysterious colour and light play of church windows (shown above)

3. Illustration ‘Polar Night Bear‘ 21x29cm; designed for the Dutch interiors magazine 101Woonideeën

4. Set of 3 art prints ‘Dimensions’, ‘Graphic Flowers’ and ‘Rise Up’ 21x29cm; inspired by the colours and shapes of church windows in France, signed and dated


– Comment below stating which product is your favourite and why

– Like LileSADI on Facebook

– For an extra chance to win, leave a comment over at Nu interieur|ontwerp, and pop over to the Avenue Lifestyle and Nu interieur|ontwerp Facebook pages and like them too!

Next week

Entires close 10 November. The winners will be drawn at random and announced on Monday, 11 November. There will be four winners, each receiving one of the lovely products listed here.

Good luck!

Holly x

* Photography and styling credits: Holly Marder for Avenue Lifestyle and Nu interieur|ontwerp

Sukha Amsterdam: A Shop with Soul

October 28th, 2013

Happy Monday everyone! It’s blowing a gale here in Delft today {the tree in my neighbour’s garden is literally leaning sideways!} and I am feeling grateful to be in the warmth of my cosy home. It’s a perfect day to roam the net, search for inspiration, plan the week and tick a few things off the to-do list. We get the keys to our new house this Friday, so I have started to plan for a busy few weeks ahead of painting and sanding, packing and carting boxes, nesting and getting settled in a new home. It’s an exciting time and we are so eager to move into a place that is all ours.

Naturally, with a new house in sight, I am pinning like a crazy person on Pinterest, and my eyes are always on the lookout for styles to incorporate into our new home. But with a wedding in just over 6 months, creating our perfect home will be a slow process {slow is not a word that sits very well with me}, but I am getting excited about small things we can do and add to our new home that won’t cost the earth. I am crazy about Sukha Amsterdam, a lifestyle boutique filled with gorgeous items for the home and body crafted in Nepal and India. What I love about Sukha products is that they are made from pure and natural materials. Wood, wool, linen, cotton and cashmere form a collection truly beautiful collection of accessories and also fashion items. I also love the origin of the name Sukha, which translates to Joy of Life in Sanskrit. If the name alone makes you smile, wait til’ you see the products!




I am always curious as to how a company like this came about so today I want to share the Sukha story with you. Founders and designers Irene Mertens and Sam IJsbrandy journeyed to the poorest regions in India and Nepal where they jointly developed the Atelier Sukha product line-up with local communities. They now have several small handicraft companies creating rugs, pillows, blankets and also special one-off pieces such as chandeliers. The Nepalese women make the knitted products for Sukha, while the men craft rugged wooden benches with warm quilted blankets. Cotton and linen crafts happen in India with care and attention.

I love the ideology behind the brand. Atelier Sukha invests in these local economies, helping to create a better life for the workers and their families by staying loyal and committing to regular orders crafted at a fair price. Atelier Sukha is all about pure and natural elements grown locally following ecological principles. The products look and feel as if they have been crafted by the skilled hands of the Nepalese and Indian people who have poured their heart and soul in them. They are classic, durable and sustainable. I think this world of ours could use more brands like Sukha to lead the way!

sukha 4



If you are in the area, be sure to drop into the gorgeous Atelier Sukha shop in downtown Amsterdam to admire the gorgeous products and learn the stories attached to each product. For those reading this from afar, they also have a lovely webshop to satisfy your online shopping urges.

Have a great Monday!

Holly x

Images courtesy of Atelier Sukha 

Piet Hein Eek Challenge: Before!

October 23rd, 2013

I mentioned last week that I was going to become the proud owner of my very own Piet Hein Eek collector’s edition cabinet, to take part in an exciting competition called 101 karakters being organised by paint company Histor. Well, a few days ago it arrived on my doorstep, ready to be pimped something pretty in the coming weeks before being carted back to the Piet Hein Eek showroom on 9 November for the big reveal! Those who won one of these limited edition cabinets – of which only 101 were made – will be able to bring their design to life at this event, while mine and a bunch of others created by some of my blogger friends will be on display. It’s exactly the kind of creative challenge that I simply can’t resist, so naturally I was so excited to find out I’d be given the chance to design {and keep!} one of these gorgeous cabinets. I snapped some ‘before’ photos of the little beauty today to show you, and I must say, I love it just the way it is already!


Piet Hein Eek challenge 5


It is a simple design, beautifully executed. For those of you who don’t know Piet Hein Eek, he is one of the Netherlands’ most esteemed designers, who specializes in creating simple and beautiful designs primarily out of wood. He’s practically a household name over here, with a gigantic showroom in Eindhoven and furniture and accessory lines being sold through large retail chains for those who appreciate a bit of design in their homes at an affordable price.

I love my cabinet. But, as pretty as this little baby is, she’ll be given a little makeover as soon as my Histor paints arrive! Part of the challenge was to describe the character of your Piet Hein Eek original in a brief sentence, before choosing three Histor paint colours to use on the final design. To be honest, I took all of about one minute to put together my design, as I was instantly drawn to a particular colour range and was of course imagining the piece in my new home (which we get the keys to in TWO WEEKS!).

I promised you in my last article that I’d be sharing my ideas and the entire makeover process over here on the blog, so to give you an idea of what I’ve been dreaming up, I thought I’d present a little moodboard of inspiration for my design. Drum roll…

Piet Hein Eek Challenge

The colours I have chosen are Histor’s Leliewit, Damp and Cyber. I tried to covey similar shades in my moodboard for you to get an idea of the colour combination with a few images to convey the kind of feeling I wanted to give my cabinet. Cool, calm and collected were the words I used in my description of the final design when I entered the competition. I wanted it to be a sophisticated piece, without taking itself too seriously. I was going for a fresh colour scheme that I wouldn’t tire of, and as I get bored with colour really quickly, I thought shades of white, grey and putty green were perfect! I love the addition of terracotta in this mix too, so will be using cognac leather handles by Nu interieur | ontwerp. I used them once on a glass Ikea cabinet for a styling project I did for Style Me Pretty Living and they look fabulous!

What do you think? I’d love to know your thoughts. As I love the original version of the cabinet so much, I’m considering leaving some of the cabinet unpainted, but am undecided. Any tips or suggestions you can give me?

I’ll be sharing images of the progress on Pinterest and Instagram (using hashtag #101karakters).

See you back here soon!

Holly x