When we moved to Amsterdam 6 years ago, we thought we would leave after a few years, so we never ended up buying a place for ourselves. We found a nice little house for rent, in a nice little neighbourhood, with a nice little backyard which is connected to other nice little backyards by way of a romantic alleyway. So our children have direct and save access to heaps of nice little neighbouring kids! We fell in love with the house and the neighbourhood, but sadly our landlord told us a year ago that he wanted his house back. (We were also outgrowing the space since we had two more children after moving in here!) So we were preparing to move again and leave our beloved house and neighbourhood, until… our sweet 94-year-old neighbour told us she wanted to sell us her house!
She bought the house when it was being built in 1953, and had lived there ever since. First with her family, then alone after her three children left the house and her husband passed away. Until, at the end of last year, she lost her eyesight, broke her hip, and had to move to an elderly home. She loved her house, and wanted another family to love it as much as she did. And this is why she decided to sell it to us. So sweet!
We’ve been renovating the house for a few months now, and hope to move in later this summer. It’s such a big job and so exciting — it’s the first house we have ever owned! We’ve been designing, selecting materials, fittings, tiles… and of course I’ve been secretly looking around for some new ‘details’ as well. ; )
Home and Kids is one of our shop members and I particularly like their style. I found the black metal wire lamp in the photo above in their shop, and am so in love with it! I can’t wait to see it in our new house, but for now it looks perfect on that vintage side table next to our couch. I also am eying this mirror for our toilet, these wire trays and baskets for my new office (!!), and this Paris pillow for the couch.
There is also a wonderful children’s decor and gift selection, where you can’t go wrong with finding presents, toys, or other desirable little things like these cool Amy & Ivor mocassins that have Casper’s name on them.
In fact, I’m going to place a little order immediately, as sale is now on!
(Oh, in case you are interested — here are a few photos of our house renovation…)
Jim Flora (1914-1998) was a mid-century artist known for his album covers and some fabulous children’s books (The Day the Cow Sneezed, for example), and his illustrations are truly wonderful. Recently, a series of wallpaper was brought out in cooperation with Flora’s estate, all using the original art and illustrations from his archival music images, paintings and abstract designs.
I just love these wallpapers! Jim Flora’s illustrations may date from around 70 years ago, but all of these wallpapers feel so incredibly fresh and modern… Also, they are sweet and playful, but wouldn’t be misplaced in rooms for bigger children (adults even). I’m contemplating getting the instruments wallpaper above for Pim’s room. I’m sure he would love that!
Our friend, Jodie Fried, who longtime readers might remember from the Angawandi Charity Project or even before that, from the Bholu brand of quirky soft toys, is a woman of many talents (and apparently many successful business ideas!). She recently started a new company called Armadillo & Co which offers a stylish selection of handmade, natural rugs. She works with traditional artisans in India who specialise in varying weaving techniques, and they only use natural fibres like wool, jute, cotton and hemp. Being a mother, she not only offers a gorgeous selection of rugs for your home, but also a lovely and vibrant children’s collection as well.
She very kindly sent me one of her rugs for the girls’ bedroom so that we could see and feel the quality of the rugs, and it is the perfect addition to their bedroom. The colours are perfect in there (see photos of their room below)! Don’t you think it looks like it should be paired with the print on the fireplace mantel, the print on the left?
Plants in your interior must be back in fashion! I see them everywhere (we’ve been pinning plants on our Pinterest board too if you’re interested). I’m really enjoying the greens that I’ve been collecting in our home — it just makes things look so nice and ‘fresh’.
One of the new additions I got for our house recently is this fun upside down ‘Skyplanter‘ from Boskke. I love the concept behind it, and it is so amazing to witness that plants really like to grow this way! You can see a list of plants that especially love to live in the Boskke planter here. Amazing, don’t you think?
Ava will be four in less than two weeks! I can’t believe my baby girl is getting so big so fast… She went through a huge growth spurt the last half year, both physically and intellectually, and she’s rapidly developing into a little school girl. Sweet!
I love having conversations with her. She’s talking so maturely at times, but at the same time keeps making adorable grammatical mistakes, or is combining two words into one (my favourite Ava word at the moment is ‘clapplause’ — which she requests every night after she’s finished her plate).
Make History!, the company we know from the gorgeous Time Capsules, has recently come up with another beautifully designed product, the Little Quote Jar. A simple glass jar with an oversized cork top, with enough space to hold the (included) notebooks and pencil, and a slot in the top to ‘post’ your quote. I’m loving it! It permanently lives on our table, in close reach to us all, so we can immediately write down all the funny things we say. (And it looks beautiful!)
Karin Stenmarck is a Swedish designer living in Switzerland, who makes her collection of Sture & Folke blankets entirely by hand, using only the most high quality materials like Liberty fabrics, cotton velvet and natural linen. Her blankets are really beautiful; they are the kind of baby product that you just love to keep around in your house — baby, or not! The toddler comforter has a wonderful, generous size (I use it as a lap blanket myself all the time), and the different little ribbons on the front are not only stylish decoration, they are also great for babies who love to play with them.
Luez Design and Play is a small New York-based design agency which is all about fun and simple design. The designer, Laura Rodriguez, creates products that appeal to both children and adults, and that will continue to add character to your home as your family grows. I love this little House Wall Hook, an adorable little decor piece by itself, but a useful hook at the same time. It is available in three pretty colours, and comes beautifully wrapped in a cardboard box, which includes screws and plugs to hang it. It would make such a cute gift (for a housewarming maybe?).
All items from Luez Design and Play are designed with love in New York City, and made with love in the USA.
In my house, one of the first rules my children will quote is the famous ‘five second rule’. It is the rule that, if any food has fallen on the floor in the kitchen, it can possibly still be eaten f it is picked up very quickly. (They learned very quickly that the five second rule did not apply to the lovely streets and boulevards of Paris!)
I always thought the five second rule was a complete myth and just a good excuse for tired parents not to have to go fetch yet another cookie or throw away a sandwich with just one bite in it, but turns out I was possibly wrong. Scientist at a British University have found proof that the five second rule could actually be true! I love it!
Now I am wondering, is the five second rule just a European thing? Or even maybe just an English thing?
Montreal based company Sur Ton Mur offers a lovely collection of affordable art prints by some of Quebec’s best children’s books illustrators. The selection is carefully curated, of high quality, and very diverse thanks to the different techniques and styles of the illustrators.
All Sur Ton Mur artwork is signed (and, if applicable, numbered) by the artist. So if you like the prints above, make sure you pick them up quickly!
They would make wonderful additions to any little kid’s room, wouldn’t they? (Plus, there’s a great selection of prints for adults too!)
Because yesterday was the (official) first day of spring, I finally finished a little project I have been working on… Pillows! I used mixed techniques to put words on them — embroidery, appliqué, and painting with textile paint. I especially enjoyed the embroidery work — it’s been a long time since I did embroidery, and I forgot how much fun it is!
Happy spring everyone!!
The lovely Lauren from Houzz asked to pop over a few weeks ago to take some photos of our home and do a little interview about our house renovation project. She and photographer, Noah Darnell, stopped by just as we were serving pancakes, the kiddos still in their pyjamas. They snapped these photos before taking photos of the rest of the house, and I love that they captured the Saturday pancake ritual in our home. (Usually I am in my pyjamas too, of course! But still!)
If you would like to see photos of our home on Houzz and read about our renovation, you can click here. Thank you Houzz for the feature!
(All photos by Noah Darnell)
Jurianne Matter is a Dutch designer and I’m a big fan of her work. The clever ways she uses paper and patterns is just wonderful! These XL angels are new in her collection and are such a lovely way to decorate your house for the holidays.
If you don’t know Jurianne’s work yet, check out the rest of her designs here — the pop up posters are so beautiful, and many of her other products make cute little gifts to pop in the mail for far away friends… (All available through Bijzonder Mooi.)
Our Christmas is a bit of a cultural melting pot. One of my brothers lives in Germany, the other in Ireland, my parents are based in Italy and we arrive from France. Of course we all like to bring along some traditions from all of our countries, so we have these hilarious meals where we start off with foie gras which we drink with German Sekt (sparkling wine) and finish up with mince pies and panatone topped off with a good port. The stilton lands on the cheese plate beside the parmesan and there are furious debates about whether Scottish oatcakes taste like sawdust and should never be eaten with gorgonzola or if this is the best fusion food ever.
One of the traditions I do miss from my time in London are Christmas crackers, which are really hard to get in France, not to mention Germany or Italy. They are so much fun to pop! Thanks to the wonderful world wide web, I have started ordering them online form the UK. This year I have decided on the Toast Christmas Crackers which come filled with a little hat, an old recipe and a little gift. Don’t they look lovely?
For this week’s The Little Things, I’m showing you how to make a super sweet, and super easy-to-make child’s apron out of a dish towel! No kidding, if you have a sewing machine (or know someone who does!), you can make this apron.
The sweet image above (drawn by Sara Musch) shows you exactly how to do it. Click here for your free download! And yes — it is really that easy. You only need to sew seven straight lines! Two for the arm holes, and five for the pockets…
Enjoy making this… (And please share the result in the comments below!)
PS This is the third post in a series which is called ‘The Little Things’. Thank you Maud Fontein for taking the beautiful photos, and Sara Musch for the sweet download! I used an apron and shoelaces from Hema, and Ava’s shirt is from Nils & Happy to see you.
Sara and Pim have shared a room since Pim was born. I recently asked them if, when we have a bigger house, they would like to have separate rooms or still share. They both said they still would like to share! So sweet. Sara is now 8, and Pim is 6, and I imagine that in a few years they will think differently. But for now, they’re happy together.
They share a fairly big room, and I tried to decorate it to each give them their own ‘identity’ in the room, with a more boyish and a more girly side. The rest of the room is unisex. Checked red and white curtains and a huge wallpaper tree by Inke bring the two sides together and make the room ‘one’.
To give Pim’s side of the room a more boyish appearance, we painted a big blue square above his bed. We put up the beautiful house shelf boxes by Ferm Living to display some of his treasures, and a sweet knitted garland by OeufNYC. On his bed the gorgeous harlequin bedding of Olli Ella, and a personalised pillow from Petiotes. Beauregards the Wolf doll is from BlaBla Kids.
Sara’s side is definitely girly — we bought her antique bed on Ebay and painted it white, and I made her a flowery patchwork quilt myself last winter from a batch of Liberty fabric scraps.
Pretty soon, Casper is moving in with Ava as well — Ava is looking forward to it!
Do your children share rooms? Did you, as a child? (I’m an only child, so I always had my own room!)
How cool is this Glow in the Dark owl poster? Fast asleep during the day, but when the lights go out, Mister Owl wakes up and keeps an eye out for whoever needs the reassurance. It is available in a fantastic neon pink or orange, and (literally) brightens up any kids room.
Available from the wonderful lifestyle & gift shop, The Kid Who.
The wonderfully kind and thoughtful Gabrielle from Design Mom has featured my home, and an interview about our family life, in her Living With Kids blog series today. What I love about this series is that she asks such thought provoking questions — she really tries to draw out the kind of answers that give a genuine glimpse of each family’s day to day life. She goes beyond the usual ‘where did you buy that sofa’ type of question and really delves deep. (I nearly had tears in my eyes as I typed my answers out!)
I am extremely flattered to have been invited for the interview and to be included among so many other great families and homes in this series. You can see the photos of my home and read my answers here. Thank you Gabrielle!