Name: Nina Van de Goor
Location: Den Bosch, Netherlands
Rent or own: rent
Size: 1000 sq/ft + 320 sq/ft roof terrace
Lived in: 5 months
AT reader and Dutch blogger Nina Van de Goor of Ninainvoorm wrote in recently to share photos of the colorful, highly personalized flat that she shares with her boyfriend Helmut. "People always are surprised to hear that we've only lived here for such a short time when they see how packed and finished the house already is," Nina says. "Many people spend years redecorating and finishing their places, but except for the roof terrace, I believe we're completely done. There'll surely be some small changes the next couple of years, but the redecoration is completely done and we have all the stuff and furniture we need, even a little more than we need, to be honest." Hear more from Nina about her apartment after the jump...
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What have you done to transform the apartment?
A hell of a lot of painting! The former inhabitants had painted everything purple, burgundy red, orange and yellow, that was really an awful combination. They also had a lot of awful wallpapers, so we completely stripped the apartment, painted everything white (and added some colors) and put some nice vintage wallpapers on a few walls. Also, we put in a wooden floor through the whole apartment (except for the hallway and kitchen).
What's your favorite DIY element?
Probably the wallpaper-patchwork in my studio, that I made of patches of different vintage wallpapers.
What is your favorite design element of the apartment?
I love the vintage table soccer game that we put on the wall in the upstairs hallway. But I also really like the art wall with a lot of different framed artwork in our living room.
How important is color to you and why did you choose the color palette?
I really like color, and I often find it hard to limit the amount of color in my home. In my former apartment, I often added so many different colors that it got to be too much. I wanted to avoid that in this apartment, though I still wanted it to be a colorful place (not living in a colorful place is simply impossible for me). Therefore I tried to keep the basis (walls and woodwork) mainly white, and added color in accessories, art and some furniture. Some rooms have their own color palette (in the bedroom sunflower-yellow dominates, the guestroom has a feminine and romantic color palette). Other rooms (like the living room and studio) just show a lot of different colors. Sometimes I'm a bit dissatisfied with that and long for more unity in the color palette, but then when it comes to saying goodbye to certain colorful elements, I just can't. I'm just too attached to all my colorful stuff...
Where are the furniture and accessories from?
I'm a fervent thrift shopper and love vintage stuff, so a lot of the accessories and furniture is mid-century stuff. I frequent thrift stores, vintage design stores and markets, but also buy on Ebay and via second hand websites. I also shop at Ikea for basics. And I love to buy handmade stuff and art, especially via etsy.
Is there anything you don't like about the flat or want to change?
As we rent this apartment, we couldn't make any structural changes, though we would have loved to change the very tiny bathroom into something better.
I always want to change things and I simply don't have enough room to practice all my design ideas. That's a bit of a frustration: I want to avoid making it 'too much', but there's just so much furniture and accessories that I like, so many different styles and ideas that I want to try, and I just can't have it all in this one apartment.
This apartment has small bedrooms and little room for storage, and therefore it gets cluttered easily. I'd love to have more spacious rooms, with more room and less furniture. But being a collector of many things is a bit part of my personality, so even if we had more space, I'd probably just collect more stuff and furniture. Sometimes I also make the wrong decisions. I don't like our living room curtains and I wish we'd bought our sofa in a different color (both too dark). But those are only a few months old and I chose them myself, so there's no one else to blame and replacing them now isn't really an option.
Where do you get your design inspiration?
I read many blogs on interior decoration and buy a lot of magazines. I love to see other people's homes and get inspired by their ideas and design solutions.
What was your biggest indulgence or splurge?
It's not really one big thing, but more a whole lot of small things... I keep buying nice vintage items, especially vintage ceramics/tableware. I could easily host a dinner party with at least fifty people with all my tableware... And I spent a lot of money on a vintage advertorial elephant, but that's just been one of my best buys ever and I've enjoyed it ever since.
What kind of look/style were you going for?
I like a creative, bohemian mix and match look: mid century design stuff combined with bric-a-brac and more feminine, romantic pieces. I like to combine items from different style periods. But I like a lot of different styles and even learn to appreciate minimalism. So I might end up in a minimalist white and gray apartment some day (though I have to admit that's not very probable).
Was there any look or style you wanted to avoid?
Oh, many! I especially hate interiors that lack personality, that look like people just planted a showroom-interior into their living room. It doesn't all have to look brand new and spic-and-span. I also don't like dark interiors, overly romantic interiors or homes that are clean and cold.
What's the most common comment you hear about your place?
Most people really like our home, but they wouldn't want to live in it themselves ;). I think all the colors and patterns are a bit too much for them.
- Kristin Hohenadel blogging from rue Vieille du Temple, Paris, France. If you have an idea for a European house tour, please write to kristinh @ apartmenttherapy . com