Mandy and Matt’s Lovely Canalside Home

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

Name: Mandy and Matt
Location: Amsterdam, Centrum
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; Rented

Before packing up their belongings and moving back to the United States, Mandy and Matt wanted to share their lovely Amsterdam canalside home. Located on one of the main canals (the Herengracht), this stunning abode has a lofted bedroom, an open layout with tons of natural light, floor to ceiling windows, French doors, and beautiful pieces that really create balance alongside the noticeably picturesque view. What a fantastic way to spend your expat life in Amsterdam!

(Image credit: Breanne Johnsen)
(Image credit: Breanne Johnsen)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Modern

Inspiration: Our adventures in Europe!

Favorite Element: The open floor plan. We had a lofted bedroom and giant French doors separating the front and back half of the apartment. When the blinds were up and the doors were open, we were flooded with natural light and amazing views.

Biggest Challenge: Our apartment came lightly furnished, so we had to figure out how to add a few items to make it really feel like home.

What Friends Say: The view is everything. Our friends love to come over and hear all of the excitement on the canal right out front our windows. And, the early morning tranquility of Amsterdam tied to gorgeous sunrises here and there made for an unforgettable view of old Amsterdam.

Biggest Embarrassment: Perhaps our couches and/or the lack of closets. Like I said, our place was furnished so we had no choice. Bright white, no arm rests and a supreme lack of comfort made the living area pretty dry. While it may not be represented in the photos, our friends and guests were greeted in our entry by IKEA hanging racks.

Proudest DIY: I’d probably hand this one to my husband and his best friend. They successfully and independently assembled more than 6 individual pieces of IKEA furniture, including a dresser, 2 shelving units, a computer side desk, a coffee table and a side table. No extra parts!

Biggest Indulgence: Honestly, we kept it pretty simple. I had a love for Mariska Meijers designs, which was located right behind us on the Singel. I convinced my husband that we needed a few of her pillows to help brighten up the house.

Best Advice: If you’re going to spend a year or more abroad as expats, pick a supreme location for at least a year. While the rent was a little high, the convenience and energy of living in the Centrum made it more than worth it.

Dream Sources: Travel and friends were our biggest sources of inspiration. A rug from Istanbul, candle holders from Scandinavia, a woodcarving from Bali, it was a bit of a hodgepodge, but we loved our experience for more than two years.

(Image credit: Breanne Johnsen)

Resources of Note:


  • White paint
  • Generic metal blinds in back
  • Generic green canvas curtains in front


  • IKEA Hemnes Bookcase


  • Belle Revolution Convertible Sleeper – chrome legs, clean simple design, converts to multiple sitting positions and a bed.
  • Belle Revolution Convertible Chair – chrome legs, clean simple design, converts to multiple sitting postions and lays completely flat.
  • IKEA cow hide rug
  • Noguchi Walnut Coffee Table
  • IKEA Hemnes White 8 drawer dresser
  • IKEA Liatorp White side table
  • Turkish handmade backgammon board
  • Balinese carving made by Puja wood carver – Rama and Sita, “inseparable couple” small statue
  • Iittala Ultime Thule glassware
  • Custom painting of the Herengracht Canal by Denis Le Gallic


  • Generic walnut wood table with wood legs
  • Generic wood leg chairs with faux leather
  • IKEA Hemnes large white bookshelf
  • Iittala Kivi Votive (above the faux fireplace)


  • IKEA designed kitchen with microwave/oven combo, small below sink fridge
  • Turkish rug – found in grand bazaar
(Image credit: Breanne Johnsen)

Thanks, Mandy and Matt!

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