A Dutch Essentialist's Serene Home

A Dutch Essentialist's Serene Home

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Winkie Visser
Aug 17, 2017

Name: Gaby Suhr
Location: Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands
Size: 1,163 square feet
Years lived in: 6 years, owned

Several years ago Gaby spent a couple of months traveling around the world. Living from just a suitcase, she became conscious of just how little one actually needs on a day-to-day basis. Some time later, a friend told Gaby that he felt she had a distinct ability to see the essence of a situation. To focus on the bare necessities. It was a comment that stuck with her, and an idea that she began to develop in the following years.

Gaby became so passionate about the bare necessities, she ended up starting her own company based on that very concept: essentialiving, where she helps people reap the benefits she herself has experienced with these life principles.

So how would she describe essentialism? "It's the sister of the more sober minimalism. The main difference is its target: it's not reducing the number of possessions, but rather focusing on what's most important to you. Instead of asking 'What can I miss?' one should investigate 'What can't I live without?' I think that's an important difference. Although it will probably also result in less belongings, the cutback of goods is just a means and not the purpose. Moreover, it affects more than one's property! Essentialism can be applied to any aspect of your life: time, relations, even your food...Ultimately, if you're able to cut back your life to its essence, this will yield more ease and space. In your mind and in your life. And who doesn't want that?"

When asked how essentialism has influenced her own home, Gaby says: "My decisions are based on what I find significant and aesthetically pleasing. My surroundings are important to me. I want my home to feel peaceful and spacious (which doesn't necessarily mean big). So I might buy an expensive design sofa, but also a dirt cheap table from Marktplaats (the Dutch craigslist). I will only purchase items that I need and actually use.

Or items that I find very beautiful. This does limit the number of items in my home, because I will refrain from buying anything else. I also might repaint a wall regularly. It's enjoyable and I love the variation. Because of the importance of my interior, it's something in which I'm willing to invest time, money and energy. Even as a little girl, I wanted to keep things tidy and appreciated items that looked pretty."

As Gaby's philosophy evolved over the years, a clear starting point emerged: "I've come to realize the essence of the floor. It will make or break the entire room. When I bought this house, the living room and bedroom had a floor I didn't like at all (the living room featured a yellowish oak floor and the bedroom had a carpet in a similar color). You can't compensate for it with furniture and accessories or even the wall color. As is anything in life, you need a good foundation; in this case the floor. You can properly continue from there on. At any rate, that would be my starting point next time I move. And not let it lag for a few years!"

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Basic, Scandinavian, essentialism.

Inspiration: Various interior design Instagram accounts, like @designlykke, @stylizimoblog and @styled_by_eve.

Favorite Element: The antique spice rack that used to belong to my grandmother. All other stuff I'm not attached to. I'd sell everything without any hesitation and collect new favorite items all over again.

Biggest Challenge: Finding a new, (much) smaller apartment in my home town.

What Friends Say: "I feel sooooo relaxed in your home."

Biggest Embarrassment: Painting the same wall three times in one week, because I just didn't get the color right (exactly the way I wanted it).

Proudest DIY: Not in this home, but I've tiled walls, designed and built a divider closet and laid laminate flooring before.

Biggest Indulgence: Open garden doors.

Best Advice: Focus on what's most important, eliminate the rest. Hit delete and smile! 😊

Dream Sources: Hay, Muuto, ferm LIVING. And I'd love a gas fireplace.

Resources:

PAINT & COLORS
Almost all paint is by Farrow & Ball:
Living room floor - Great White
Living room wall - Blackened
Living room behind the couch - Cornforth White
Entry - Dorset Cream
Kitchen - Borrowed Light
Bedroom - Manor House Gray

ENTRY
Wall hook Curve (ash) - Normann Copenhagen
Deer head - &klevering

LIVING ROOM

Clock Clork - PUIK Art
Table lamp Milk - &tradition
Sofa Aikon - Design on Stock
Wall lamps Gipsy Bendo - QAZQA
Hanging wall lamp - E27 from Muuto (white) and Ekby bracket from IKEA
Rug - House Doctor (not available anymore)
White coffee table - Leen Bakker
Vintage side table - thrift shop
Armchair - vintage model from Gelderland
Closet - thrift shop
Poster - Vee Speers photo from Fotografiska
Sound system - R4 from Ruark Audio
Green vase Petit - ASA Selection (not available anymore)
Cushion Stockholm (black and white) - IKEA
Cushion Gurli (black) - IKEA

DINING ROOM
Table Phill - Spectrum Design
Bench Loet - Spectrum Design
Wooden chair Tom - Spectrum Design
White chairs - thrift shop
Candle holder Winebottle - ferm LIVING
Vase Paperpulp - Serax
Retro '70 Gold pendant light - Zuiver (not available anymore)
Bookshelves Paperback - Spectrum Design
Wooden hand - Wooden Hand from Hay
New York City map print (pink) - Famille Summerbelle

KITCHEN
Shelving system Pocket - String
Porcelain cup with letter G - Design Letters
Pepper mill Bottle Grinder (black) - Menu

BEDROOM
Wall hook Gym - Hay
Drop-shaped wall hooks Dropit - Normann Copenhagen
Poster frames Ribba - IKEA
Posters - from ViSSEVASSE - BAUHAUS Preparing and BAUHAUS Waiting
Bedside table Selje (white) - IKEA
Wooden stool used as a nightstand - Leen Bakker (not available anymore)
Mirror Flip Mirror - Normann Copenhagen
Poster and frame Loved Yourself? - I LOVE MY TYPE
Alarm clock Wake-up Light - Philips

Thanks, Gaby!


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