Lisa & Richard’s Colorful, Cozy Dutch Home

updated Feb 20, 2019
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(Image credit: Breanne Johnsen)

Name: Lisa and Richard
Location: Museumplein, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Size: 1,150 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years; Owned

Lisa, from the States, and Richard, from the Netherlands, bought their first home in Amsterdam in 2012. Their vision was to create “a space that had character but was still minimal and not overloaded with artifacts.”

(Image credit: Breanne Johnsen)

They also wanted a home with a cozy feel, or as the Dutch would say, “Gezellig”. They accomplished this with soft neutral tones and a mix of materials — a plush, comfy couch and soft pillows and throws mixed with beautiful dark woods and vintage tables. To add a little more character, they used splashes of bold colors, found in their art, runners, and rugs.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: New & Old World Chic.

Inspiration: Collecting handmade artifacts and vintage furniture from living and traveling abroad in Asia, Africa and Europe.

Favorite Element: Our favorite elements are being centrally located in the museum district of Amsterdam and having created a space that is Gezellig ( “Cozy” in Dutch). Our vision was to have a space that had character but was still minimal and not overloaded with artifacts.

Biggest Challenge: Lack of storage. Our flat was fully renovated before we purchased it. They did an excellent job creating open space in the main rooms, and we were able to have storage closets built into our bedroom and spare room. However, it’s quite a challenge to place all of your belongings into only this space, so we have had to be creative and try and minimize our belongings.

What Friends Say: First impressions generally start with loving the open space and light between the living room and dining room and the fireplaces in both rooms. The dining table is also a hit, as it used to be an old Chinese door.

Biggest Embarrassment: Still searching for an overhead light over our dining room table after two years! When we moved in we joked it would take two years for us to find something that didn’t block the natural light that streams in from the stained glass windows, and here we are! If anyone has any suggestions let us know!

Proudest DIY: Putting together small pieces like our kitchen bar stools, bed stands and other IKEA related pieces. We’re now ready for the next phase of home ownership and more DIY projects in the kitchen and bedroom!

Biggest Indulgence: The sofa. We spent a great deal of time trying to find the right size and style for the living room. This sofa is unique in that you have the huge detachable piece to use as a leg rest, which can also be used as additional seating.

Best Advice: Take your time to find the right purchases that you are truly excited about, and seek outside help if you’re not able to find what you’re looking for. For us the dining room and living room were the most important rooms we wanted to first focus on, and we found an excellent interior designer (Charlotte Emmerig – LOTZ Interiordesign & Styling) who helped us source the right pieces to fit in our space. We thought this was not in our budget, but were happy to find a great interior designer who was able to work within our budget.

Dream Sources: Purchasing special pieces from each place we have lived and traveled in the past seven years together. We have a painting from Vietnam in our dining room, several pieces from Hong Kong/China, and hand made linens and a table runner from Sri Lanka and Africa.

(Image credit: Breanne Johnsen)

Resources of Note:


  • Curtains in living room and dining room, light brown, custom made
  • Living room and dining room, light beige with generic off white trim
  • Other rooms generic off white


  • Couch, custom made in The Netherlands, through Aura Peeperkorn Interiors
  • Chairs, Loods5, The Netherlands
  • Tree Painting, Artist, Andrea Fono, San Francisco
  • Pieces on table behind sofa, locally sourced and travel relics
  • Hope Chest under T.V., China
  • Table behind couch, China


  • Dining table, originally a vintage door, sourced from China, through Auro Peeperkorn Interiors
  • Dining table chairs, custom made through Auro Peeperkorn Interiors
  • Painting, Local artist in Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Persian rug, vintage passed down from family
  • Candle Bar stools, Ikea Holders on table, Royal Delft Blue
  • Table runner, Sri Lanka


  • Bar stools, Ikea
  • Design and materials, locally sourced in The Netherlands


  • Bed spread, The Pottery Barn
  • Bed Frame, Ikea
  • Shelving under window, Ikea
(Image credit: Breanne Johnsen)

Thanks, Lisa and Richard!

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