Name: Neeza and Pierre
Location: Helmersbuurt; Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Owned
Neeza is from Malaysia, and Pierre hails from France — two wildly different backgrounds that tastefully meet halfway to create this unique space. Splashes of color to balance out the white floor and walls, placement of beautiful furniture, and special handcrafted accents are just a part of the unique beauty of this home.
It’s not every day you enter a home and instantly get goose bumps that last for the whole visit. Neeza and Pierre’s home immediately draws you in, and you find yourself scanning every inch of their abode jaw dropped and drooling. Each piece has a double purpose — it serves its original function (a chair is a chair), but they also manage to make it art.
What most see as an ingenious design – perfect and simple ideas you might create in your own home – Neeza and Pierre see as a work in progress. There is always another idea around the corner, an antique shop that needs to be sifted through, and a chair that needs a little care after being abandoned on a side street. Absolutely inspiring.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Pierre and I both have a love affair with Scandinavian designs — their simplicity and minimalist nature suits us both well, but Pierre's French heritage and my south east Asian roots combined have resulted in a mixture of Nordic/French/Asian touches everywhere. It’s quite confusing but we like it.
Inspiration: We wanted to obtain a sense of space — the white floor and the exposed brick wall gives the space a lofty feeling. But at the same time, we wanted the warmth and coziness that is reminiscent of traditional houses in Asia, hence the plants and splashes of color everywhere.
Favorite Element: 1) The kitchen tiles, which were designed by Pierre specifically for the house — some contain traditional recipes from France and hand-me-down recipes from my mom in Malaysia. 2) Our custom-made lace-fence railing. 3) The old door in our brick wall; we found this door when we were doing work to expose the brick. The door has been with the house since it was first constructed in the 1600’s — the buildings in our neighborhood originally were old storage houses for ships that sailed into Amsterdam, and all the attics in the buildings were connected via these doors. A bit of history discovered! No idea why the old owner wanted to hide it with horrid plasters! We left it as is, all the colors on the door are original, but added a glass frame to protect it and for added insulation. 4) Our bathroom tiles. 5) The custom-made bookshelves, which light up in the evening. Nothing better than softly lit books — adds a romantic feel to the space. 6) The cupboard in the guest bedroom custom-built by our amazing carpenter, Herman. 7) Our turquoise claw-foot bathtub! 8) The big windows everywhere, which allow a ton of light into the house.
Biggest Challenge: The bathroom tiles. I spent three weeks on all fours scrubbing to create an old antique feel to them and then sealing them with water resistant lacquer. NOT as easy as it sounds!
What Friends Say: Friends always say they love the house. But they are our friends, so of course they would say that!
Biggest Embarrassment: The third bedroom, aka our office, which is still a storage room at this point. We haven't done any work to it yet, even after 2 years of living here. But we have a plan of attack, which will start ASAP.
Proudest DIY: Definitely the bathroom tiles!!! The tiles we chose were porous, so horrid stains started developing quickly, so I decided to 'treat' them to hide the stains and essentially make them look like they are hundreds of years old when they are actually newly bought, newly produced tiles.
Biggest Indulgence: The kitchen.
Best Advice: Never buy porous tiles for your bathroom and NEVER sacrifice design for money. A good investment piece will last you a lifetime!
Dream Sources: The Selby, Design Sponge, Convoy, Sourced and Sold Amsterdam, Harvest & Co. Amsterdam, Neef Louis Amsterdam, Atelier Abigail Ahern, flea markets, WW.
Resources of Note:
- Sofa: Fantastic furniture shop on Spuistraat that sadly has gone out of business a couple of years ago.
- Coffee table: Sourced & Sold
- Black & White Throw blanket: Missoni
- Pillows (on couch and armchairs): Some came with the sofa, others sourced from various overseas trip.
- Orange chairs: We actually found them on the street! Someone threw out those gems. We had them cleaned and voila!
- Bookshelves: Custom-made for the house by our builder.
- Dog lamp: Abigail Ahern London
- Sign: Harvest and Company
- Record table: It’s a 1921 Singer sewing machine that we found in a vintage store and paid E25 for! Our best find ever!
- Dining table: Found in a vintage store on Overtoom.
- Lamps on record table: Finds from vintage stores in South-West of France & a fabulous shop in Haight Ashbury St in San Francisco called 'Loved to Death'.
- Hanging lamps (over the dining table): Sourced & Sold
- Cabinet/Shelving unit: Raw Material on Rozengracht
- Chairs: Various vintage stores and Neef Louis
- All custom-built for the house.
- Kitchen tiles: Designed by Pierre and printed/produced by Intercodam.
- Fridge: SmEG
- Bed: Bed Habits on Regulierdwarstraat, Amsterdam.
- Bed linens: Bought in France.
- Bedside table: Neef Louis
- Red lamp: Raw Material
- White wooden blinds: Custom-made for the house.
- Chandelier: Antique from France
- Reading chair: Inherited from my ex-boss. It’s a piece, custom-made for him in Italy.
- Dresser: 1970's vintage find.
- Storage cupboard: Custom made for the house by our fabulous carpenter, Herman.
- Brown cupboard: 1960's vintage.
- Giant mirror: Same shop we bought our sofa.
- Bicycle: RiH Amsterdam
- Chairs: Neef Louis
- Bathtub: Albion Bath Co. England
- Shelves: Custom-made by our carpenter, Herman
- Chair: Vintage
- Storage boxes: Harvest and Company
- Dustbin: From a fabulous store on the corner of Herengracht & Rozengracht. It says 'tempat sampah' which means 'rubbish bin' in Bahasa Malayu, which is my country's (Malaysia) national language. The white candleholder is also from the same shop.
Thanks, Neeza and Pierre!
(Images: Breanne Johnsen)
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(Image credits: Breanne Johnsen)