Q&A with Holly and Hedda

08.05.17

Hi guys! After months of secret-keeping and scurrying about behind the Avenue scenes getting all manner of things organised, I finally revealed to you that there are now two faces behind this blog -that interior designer Hedda Pier and Avenue Lifestyle (interior styling, editorial and photography studio) have joined forces under the name Avenue Design Studio. In case you missed it, click here to catch up!

With much excitement, we rolled out the announcement accompanied with fresh images taken by the lovely Hanke Arkenbout at our new studio in The Hague, along with an all new ‘About‘ page. But we thought you might like to get to know us as a team a little bit more, and learn a bit about how our partnership came about, so we put together a series of questions which we each answered individually, from the heart. We felt it only fair to throw Hedda right into the deep-end and get her to answer a few questions first, followed by mine. Let’s jump straight to the hot-seat!

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A BIG Announcement!

07.05.17

I’ve been hinting that there’s been something exciting brewing behind the scenes here at Avenue for a while now, something that has been all encompassing, scary, thrilling and at the same time calming. Today, finally, after months and months of scheming, organising, analysing and planning, I can share my news with you. I have a business partner! I now share Avenue with Hedda Pier, an interior designer who is not only highly skilled but has been one of my best friends since living in The Netherlands and someone who has unwaveringly offered me support, inspiration and encouragement. That there are now two faces behind a business and brand that has become almost a personal extension of myself is both thrilling and terrifying, for both of us, but I have never felt more calm, creative and in control as I have since we merged in January officially as Avenue Design Studio.

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The past two years has been incredibly fast moving for me work-wise and I have grown in leaps on both a personal and professional level. I have split myself between the two sides of Avenue – designing for projects and photographing for magazines and brands – while having two interns who work every day (from the studio in my home), as well as maintaining the blog and social media accounts. I have travelled for work, which is always wonderful but also puts a strain on the work load back home not to mention family life, and have at times been overwhelmed by the fast pace of my working life and the impact the last year of juggling has has on the things I aspire to be doing more of – shooting projects, spaces, people and places, creating original content for the blog, creating and seeking out inspiration in new forms, building new relationships and having fresh new experiences. At the end of the day, if you’re constantly running, there’s little time and energy for creativity and making strategic plans to ensure goals are met. I have big goals and only one set of hands. I see potential in the business I have grown, but have at times felt paralysed with fear to take risks (big and small) and have felt a missing element for a long time. Someone to share the ups, downs, accomplishments, epic fails, inspiration and experiences with. Someone who shares my passion and dreams. I am a people person and solo enterprise can be a lonely thing, I can tell you. And while I regularly collaborate with other creatives, I have intrinsically felt this void for a while. Get the full scoop

Four Ways to Create a Kids Space that Promotes Sleep

04.05.17

We are big sleepers in our family. Always have been. Lola has been a wonderful sleeper since she was a baby, partly because it was something that we always nurtured because we love sleeping and weren’t big on the whole night-waking thing or the pre-bedtime breakdown thing. Those are things, trust me, and they can consume you. Not that we have perfected anything parenthood related, but I like to think we have created a pretty great little sleeper through consistency, but also in creating a bedroom for her that beckons at bedtime and is generally a place she wants to be (and sleep) in. I have four tips on creating a cosy space for your wee one that promotes sleep while encouraging play, while being easy on the eye too!

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With a few simple elements to incorporate into your little one’s space for function and comfort, I am going to share with you my secrets on creating a cosy little nook your little one will adore and be proud of. Lola literally spends hours in her bedroom, alone or with a friend, doing everything from quietly colouring, flipping through books, playing with blocks or doing a puzzle. Not only that, at the end of the day, she is happy to turn in and apart from wanting mama to snuggle in with her most nights, has no trouble falling asleep. Hers is a wonderfully balanced space that not only encourages play but also promotes sleep and I would like to share with you the things I have found to be important during my decorating journey.

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SURPRISE Wedding for Friends!

22.04.17

It brings me so much joy to share with you a project that kept me sufficiently occupied for much of last year. With the help of friends, family and more than 20 generous sponsors, I threw the ultimate festival wedding as a complete surprise for friends of mine! I know, you all think I’ve gone completely bonkers, and trust me, the thought crossed my mind several times over the last year. In an industry fuelled by the desire to have, acquire and want, I found a way to use my skills and network to simply give, in a selfless, pure and honest way. To people I felt were the most deserving.

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On a beautiful late summer’s day, my friends Mimi and Yelke, were wed at the very charming De Lievelinge in Vuren, The Netherlands, in a festival style celebration. The wedding was a COMPLETE SURPRISE to both the bride and groom and was organised and funded in it’s entirety by a group of generous vendors, wedding professionals, friends and family. Theirs was a charming, low key, festival inspired celebration in which love and togetherness – along with food trucks and twinklight lights, wildflowers and Chantilly lace – were the main ingredients.

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Living Room Makeover | Before & After

21.04.17

Hi guys, I hope you had a peaceful Easter break. I thought I’d return today with a peek at my living room. Truth be told, I have hesitated to share it because it is not finished (in my eyes) and we are in fact in the throws of planning a fresh new renovation project, in which most of the living room will be changed. Nonetheless, I promised you a tour so lets’ jump straight in, including the ‘before’ pics as always AND a ‘Shop the Look’ so you can shop your favourite pieces. Enjoy!

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When we signed the papers to our 1920s row house in Delft, The Netherlands, we were on a complete high. At least, until we walked in the front door, keys and champagne in hand, realising the work that would be involved getting it to a liveable state. We sank our champagne and headed straight for the building supply store, with the plan to have the house freshened up and ready for moving in the space of two weeks. The basics were done (walls were painted, floors were priced up) and then slowly, very slowly, we tackled the rest, room by room. I wrote about the progress (forever ago!), shared with you the bedroom, my home studio (herehere and here), Lola’s bedroom, and more recently, the kitchen. What an adventure this house has been! There have been highs and lows, times where we flew through the relentless to-do list, and times where we stood completely still. Every single thing we did to this house was with our own two hands, making the journey a long and tiring one, but the destination all the more rewarding.

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Annemieke Boots Ceramics Studio Tour

22.03.17

I am sure I don’t need to remind you about my obsession for ceramics and stoneware, however I do think this bunch of images I shot recently that support that (very healthy) obsession need to be shared with you (as I can only assume you share the same loves as me), immediately. One toe inside the door of Annemieke Boots‘ light-filled Amsterdam ceramics studio and the rest was history. Too much inspiration to name so let’s dive straight into the tour, shall we?

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One glance at her studio and you will see that Annemieke’s work is inspired by Scandinavian simplicity, her designs derived from pure, simple forms. “My work is light, fragile and has something sweet, something soft about it. It is an extension of myself.” With a keen eye for detail, Annemieke admits that she once strived to make each and every piece exactly the same and uniform, but as her love of the discipline grew she came to appreciate the beauty in imperfection. “I have realised that the dents and bumps the occur naturally are precisely what makes hand-turned pottery special. Each item is carefully made with love.” Are you as excited as I am to see the rest of her studio? Click through to see the whole tour!

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Kitchen Makeover | Before & After!

24.02.17

Hey guys, not sure if you remember but about a thousand years ago (a thousand, three… same thing) I wrote about the kitchen makeover we were planning in our new home. I shared the inspiration with you thinking we’d whip it together in no time, but life happened and with two floors upstairs to work on, a growing business, full schedules and a toddler we had our hands full. Slowly we chipped away at it, taking breaks in between to concentrate on other spaces, but for several months our kitchen has been at a point where we are satisfied functionally and aesthetically. So without further ado, I am thrilled to share some images of our tiny but lovely kitchen having worked hard to transform it from a tired, drab old thing into a fresh, functional and pretty space, and all on a shoestring budget!

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Since purchasing our place in November 2013, we’ve spent the best part of three years slowly renovating it, doing all the work primarily ourselves. Nothing major, but it was enough to keep us sufficiently occupied for a long time, drain a decent amount of energy as well as euros from the bank account. You know how these things go. They start small and then add up until the original plan gets out of hand and then you do nothing because everything just feels too hard. Renovating our home has been a slow, organic process as we tackled the never-ending list of jobs bit by bit. We had bought a house, a car and got married all in the same 5 month period, so pennies were flying out faster than we could earn them and pausing between each job was a necessity. Long story short, it took a while – as all the best things do – but let’s jump straight into the before and after, shall we? Get the full scoop

Book Collaboration: How to Hygge + Giveaway!

12.02.17

Hello! I am back in the swing of things again after a long, long blog break due to a super-charged first couple of weeks back at work. There are some big changes going behind the scenes here at Avenue and I am excited to share it all with you over the coming couple of months, but for now I am excited about something else – a gorgeous book entitled How to Hygge that hit the shelves late last year, featuring my own photographs on it’s lovely pages. And to celebrate this beautiful book, I will be giving two copies away as a very small token of my thanks for your support in 2016. Knowing that there are people out there who read and are inspired by this blog motivates and drives me to be better in a creative sense, gives me courage to grow and explore and for that I am deeply grateful.

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In How to Hygge, renowned Scandinavian cook and writer Signe Johansen explores the culture of hygge, shares the secrets of Nordic living and shows you how to adopt these elements into your everyday life. She explains the secret to feeling contentment, inner happiness and the art to living your best life, which Nordic countries have long been experts at despite the cold and lack of light much of the year. Translated roughly as ‘cosiness’, Hygge (pronounced: Hoo-ga) is all about warmth, conviviality and community. Its the celebration of nature, simplicity and togetherness.  Get the full scoop