Project H Studio Reveal: Before & After


Hey guys! Do you remember the Project H Bedroom Before & After? Sloped ceilings, a palette of nudes and naturals, dramatically draped  bedside pendants and bed linens to make your heart skip two beats? Yes, that one. Well today I am excited to show you another completed room in this lovely penthouse apartment near Amsterdam, the Project H Studio Reveal! Complete with a few before’s, a ton of after’s and a Shop the Look at the bottom of the post, I have every confidence you’re going to love this fresh, green, minimalist home office as much as I loved creating it. Let’s go!


Like the bedroom next door, this was a challenging space to design around because of it’s sloped ceilings that curve from 3 meters at it’s highest point on the one side of the room to almost down to the floor on the other. What the space really needed was storage space to house the client’s clothing (since there is no hanging wardrobe space in the bedroom, if you remember), the printer/scanner and other unsightly office supplies, and a clever solution for her cat litter trays and other bits and pieces we all tend to accumulate over time. Here’s a look at the space as it was when I was called in:



The client had a beautiful String shelving/desk system in the room already so that was an immediate jumping off point for me, and the gorgeous oak floor was already in place. The main thing I noticed the second I walked in the room was the storage situation. There was a very chunky and unattractive wardrobe that made the room look and feel small, crowded and unbalanced. Instead of allowing the eye to travel around the space with ease and rest on the delicate lines of the shelving system or the interesting curves of the architecture, it went straight over to that bulky corner to a cupboard that was out of proportion and not very pretty. The desk, while simple and not very offensive, felt like it cut the room in half, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing given the size of the room, but the shape of the ceiling beckoned me to open it all out. The graphic green and white wallpaper felt a little young and out of date too, when we wanted to go for something a little more sophisticated and refined.

I got straight to work a concept for the space to pinpoint the style direction in terms of colours, style and products. Below is a snippet of the moodboards I created:


I chose a fresh palette of greens, blues, greys, whites with a few natural nude and brown tones. I wanted it to feel airy and welcoming, a fresh place to start the work day and for it to be an easy place to be in during the day. The client’s preference for minimalism came into play during the design process and so we went for very clean furnishings, nothing too heavy – whites, wire chairs, metals but with warmer woods thrown in too to balance everything out and add some contrast. As with her bedroom, I wanted to pull in a bit of a boho vibe in here while keeping the whole space clean and unfussy.

With the client on board with the concept, we got to work on a fresh new floorplan to breath new life into the space, making functionality, organisation and spaciousness a priority.


We left the existing String shelving system in place but shifted it along the wall towards the window a bit to allow space for the built-in cupboard doors to open comfortably. We flipped the direction of the desk to against the wall to open the space up and make room for a small table and seating area. We went for a round table to break up all the straight lines and echo the roundness of the ceiling. We actually tried a rectangular table but the table itself was all wrong and then thought, hey, better idea, why not go for round? Followed by, why didn’t I think of that earlier? 

The main design element of this space was storage to make it functional, not just pretty. With a large printer, a ton of office equipment, as well as clothing that needed to be stored and supplies for the client’s three cats, we threw together a cupboard design that incorporated both the curvature of the ceiling as well as the client’s penchant for minimalism. Below, a cabinet we designed that basically filled the entire wall, curves and all, offering a huge about of storage space but looking streamlined and not bulky.


The client loved it, but decided to edit out some cabinetry to give it a lighter, airier feel. Below, the final cabinet design, including a little sideboard on the left with a special opening for the cat littler trays to go into!





We initially decided to keep the existing desk, but in the end we had a custom desk made. We wanted a legless, streamlined, functional and spacious desk that didn’t obstruct from the minimalistic sensibilities of the String shelving system and the openness of the space. The MDF table leaf we had made has custom features including wire storage underneath to keep the whole desk area looking as neat and tidy as possible.

We painted the wall behind the desk a very fresh shade of green (Normandy Grey by Little Greene) to provide a fresh and calming backdrop for the String shelving. We dotted cognac elements about to add contrast and earthiness, some greenery, woven and wooden elements and graphic artwork including the gorgeous watercolour lines print by Silke Bonde.







Because we decided to use a round table in this area of the room, I wanted to use a cow hide to add an organic element to the space. I always feel that round rugs have such hard edges and wasn’t really feeling that idea. I chose this piece because it was the most simple hide I could find that felt modern and edgy and not too rustic ranch in Texas. Oh and don’t worry, it’s faux.

Below, the side of the built-in where the cats go to the litter trays – so practical and cute to watch them go in an out when they need the toilet. Like a little rest room!




We styled the empty end of the cabinet with leather magazine straps from Mathilda Clahr, magazine trays, baskets and pretty vintage accessories from House of C. That ceramic bowl is a Mauk Studio original.

Here’s one more peek at the ‘before’ situation:





Prop Cat wholeheartedly agrees that this particular shade of green was a genius idea, and even though the vintage Thonet chair was mainly there just for these images, he fancied it too. Animal approval is obviously what drives my work as a stylist and designer, so thank you, Beer.







To accommodate the curvature of the ceiling, we used a couple Ferm Living plant boxes and a very long wooden magazine rack from Foxy Potato to simply style the real estate undertake window and along the lowest wall of the room.




So that’s Studio H, folks. I could totally tick some things off my to-do list in this space, you? I hope you enjoyed this tour of one of my interior design projects. I’ll be sharing the kitchen make-over for Project H soon too, so if you like the boho modern style of this space and the Project H bedroom, keep an eye for it!

Spot something you love? Me and my team have whipped up a ‘Shop the Look’ below so you can create this look in your own home with a few pretty products similar to what we used in this space.

Shop the Look_blog

YOUR SHOPPING LIST: 1. Rattan Plate | 2. Rattan Plate With Pattern | 3. Iron Ceiling Pendant | 4. Ceramic Planter | 5. Plant Box | 6. Bamboo bowl | 7. Vintage Ceramic Pitcher | 8. Karaf Cork | 9. Metal Tray | 10. Clipboard | 11. Round Table | 12. Thread Chair | 13. Cow Rug | 14. Magazine Holder

Special thanks to the awesome Aukje Schukken for her input on this space creating the floorpans and technical drawings. Always a pleasure to work with you! Cant wait to share the Miami project we worked on together.

Meanwhile, I have been having quite the adventure this weekend in Munich, Germany! I went to attend the book launch of a fabulous interior design book called Wohnideen aus dem wahren Leben – Best of Interior I contributed on with several of Europe’s most talented interiors bloggers. At the same time, publishing house Callwey Verlag honoured three of the best nominated interior bloggers with an award and I scooped one of them! Will share that news with you later this week with some snaps of my weekend. It was extra special because my little girl Lola accompanied me on the trip and made it all the more meaningful.

H x

Interior design, Styling & Photography: Holly Marder for Avenue Lifestyle | Design assistance: Aukje Schukken | Editorial assistance: Nina le Blanc and Ellamira Kluit

8 Responses to “Project H Studio Reveal: Before & After”

  1. Wow Holly – The transformation of this space is amazing! Every photo left me saying, “I love that” and “I’ll have that, oh and that and that too…” Well done!

  2. […] read Holly’s blog if you want to read about the complete design proces of this home office in […]

  3. […] Would you like this workspace in your home? Check out the full before and after at Avenue. […]

  4. Jonne says:

    Hi Holly, it’s really beautiful as always. I read it right when you posted it and since then have been trying to find the faux cowhide you used. Because you said in the text it was faux but the shoppinglist has a real one. Would you mind letting me know where it is from? Thank you so much! Have a really nice day, Jonne

  5. BelForm says:

    What a great Before & After project! The transformation is really amazing! Especially all the lovely details make it look very cosy!

  6. […] mooie thuiskantoor hebben we gevonden bij Avenue Design Studio. Voor een klant in Amsterdam, heeft Holly deze studio ontworpen en ingericht. Het kenmerkt zich met […]

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