Mar­loes Hoede­man, founder of lin­gerie la­bel LOVE STO­RIES, has de­signed her 19th-cen­tury Am­s­ter­dam home in the tough-but­fem­i­nine spirit of her brand.

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Mar­loes Hoede­man, founder of lin­gerie la­bel Love Sto­ries, has de­signed her 19th-cen­tury Am­s­ter­dam home in the tough-but-fem­i­nine spirit of her brand

Mar­loes Hoede­man is a high-fly­ing Dutch­woman, an ef­fer­ves­cent Titian blonde at the helm of the global lin­gerie brand Love Sto­ries. She stands at 170 cen­time­tres in flat, fluffy mules but some­how seems taller. Her face is sprin­kled with light freck­les, like gin­ger star­dust. “Wow, don’t I look glam­orous,” she laughs, dis­arm­ingly sur­prised at how well she scrubs up in front of Vogue Liv­ing’s lens.

The Am­s­ter­dam home Hoede­man and her part­ner, Eric Bi­jls­man, re­cently ren­o­vated is equally self-as­sured, stylishly non­cha­lant. A for­mer ware­house on the Am­stelveld just off Prin­sen­gracht, the city’s fourth con­cen­tric canal from the old cen­tre, the four-storey red-brick build­ing dates from the early 1800s, its high, arched ground-floor doors giv­ing di­rectly onto the his­tor­i­cal veld, what was once an open field. “It’s more of a neigh­bour­hood than you find di­rectly on the canals, which are mostly oc­cu­pied by ex­pats who are of­ten away,” says Hoe­d­er­man. “Here, we know all the lo­cals and our kids play to­gether on the veld.”

As for the adults, they of­ten put out pic­nic ta­bles and eat meals to­gether. “Or we throw open the garage doors and in­vite our friends over for drinks. That’s great, be­cause we can dance and have fun and when it’s over we just go up­stairs.”

Up­stairs, Hoede­man and Bi­jls­man have had the en­tire in­te­rior stripped back to bare bones, re­veal­ing the in­tri­cate brick­work typ­i­cal of much Dutch pre-in­dus­trial con­struc­tion. The ra­dial con­crete stair­case, a Bru­tal­ist ad­di­tion, spi­rals from the ground­floor en­try up through the liv­ing and din­ing floor, then tra­verses the main bed­room be­fore fi­nally open­ing onto the chil­dren’s rooms un­der the steeply pitched eaves.

“The pre­vi­ous owner had lined the place in plas­ter, fake ceil­ings and floor cov­er­ings, con­ceal­ing this in­cred­i­ble nat­u­ral beauty,” Hoede­man points out. “We wanted to cel­e­brate the au­then­tic­ity of the struc­ture.” ››

‹‹ Twenty me­tres long, what could oth­er­wise be a cav­ernous habi­ta­tion is lofty in the true sense of the word. The façade of the dou­ble-height liv­ing area is punc­tured with gen­tly arched, met­al­framed win­dows; gen­er­ous dou­ble doors give onto a bal­cony perched right in the tree­tops. “In sum­mer, the breeze rus­tles through the leaves. In win­ter, the city is cov­ered in snow, which muf­fles all noise. At any time of year, ly­ing on the big sofa with [my chil­dren] Lola and James is one of my favourite things to do.”

Not that Hoede­man has much free time. With 18 own-brand stores around the world (in­clud­ing Syd­ney’s Bondi Beach and War­ringah Mall, and, as of 2 Septem­ber, The Calile in Bris­bane), for which she de­signs not just the gar­ments but also the in­te­ri­ors, and a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Swedish be­he­moth H&M, she is the epit­ome of what the Dutch call su­per druk (mega-busy).

Born in a small vil­lage in the north­ern Nether­lands, Hoede­man stud­ied in­te­rior and fash­ion de­sign at Am­s­ter­dam’s Artemis Acad­emy, quickly find­ing work as a stylist for the Dutch edi­tions of Elle Dec­o­ra­tion, Vogue and Glam­our. “I was re­ally fo­cused on in­te­ri­ors,” she re­mem­bers, “but I al­ways liked to have a model in the im­age as well. I would look at styles on the run­way and in­ter­pret them for the home.”

When a friend put her for­ward to de­sign the in­te­rior of a his­toric man­sion in a for­est half an hour out­side Am­s­ter­dam, she met the client and thought, “Wow, I don’t know if I’m go­ing to be able to do this. It was such a huge project, and he was such a de­mand­ing guy!” The de­mand­ing guy was Bi­jls­man, a share­holder in über Dutch brand Scotch & Soda, which sold to Sun Cap­i­tal in 2011 for a re­ported US $400 mil­lion. “But I did the job, which was ev­ery­thing from cab­i­netry to tea­spoons, and en­tailed 60 work­ers over 8 months to get it fin­ished. And I guess I just never left!” she laughs.

But a man­sion in a for­est re­plete with chan­de­liers swing­ing from the trees “felt too grown-up. Deer would come strolling through the

gar­den, and it was dread­fully quiet at night. I needed more of a city life”. So she con­vinced Bi­jls­man to move back to the big smoke — or at least to Am­s­ter­dam, pop­u­la­tion 882,000.

The Am­stelveld ware­house re­flects Hoede­man’s pen­chant for vin­tage, much of the fur­ni­ture and fit­tings, in­clud­ing the distinc­tive pan­elled oak par­quet floor­ing un­earthed at an­tiques mar­kets in Am­s­ter­dam, An­twerp, Brus­sels and Paris. The ceil­ing-height liv­ing room cab­i­net is a be­spoke piece by con­tem­po­rary Dutch de­signer Piet Hein Eek, com­posed of re­cy­cled cup­board doors. The co­gnac leather sec­tional sofa by Mario Bellini was orig­i­nally in Hoede­man and Bi­jls­man’s Swiss chalet. “The way it wraps around the metal stairwell makes it look as if it was made for this space,” Hoede­man mar­vels. Up­stairs in James’s bed­room she has cov­ered sec­tions of the same sofa in a white tow­elling fab­ric “like a big, spongy teddy bear”. “Some­times de­sign­ers for­get about com­fort, but it’s a home and it should feel like home,” says Hoede­man. “Ac­tu­ally, I take the same ap­proach to the in­te­ri­ors of my bou­tiques. Women are go­ing to strip in there, it needs to feel in­ti­mate.”

Hoede­man’s skill — in her mix ’n’ match lin­gerie ethos as well as her in­dus­trial-chic in­te­ri­ors — is in cel­e­brat­ing tough­ness of spirit at the same time as ac­knowl­edg­ing the need for soft­ness. You can feel it in the hand-loomed Pe­ru­vian car­pets off­set­ting the hard­wood floors. Sense it in the in­dus­trial-steel cab­i­netry she’s re­pur­posed into a bath­room in the mid­dle of the main bed­room floor. (“It’s to­tally trans­par­ent, but I don’t care if I’m on the toi­let and some­one walks through.”) In­tuit it, too, in the chil­dren’s bed­rooms, where in or­der to re­tain the beauty of the 200-year-old vaulted tim­ber ceil­ing but also en­sure ad­e­quate warmth, she came up with the idea of in­su­lat­ing on the out­side of the roof.

This may be no mod­ernist “ma­chine for liv­ing in”, but it is a mod­ern ap­proach to mak­ing his­tory live and breathe, deeply, once again. VL

By Stephen Todd Pho­tographed by Marc Van Praag Styled by Thelma McQuil­lan

THIS PAGE Hoede­man in her Am­s­ter­dam home with her daugh­ter, Lola, on a vin­tage Mario Bellini leather sofa; be­spoke light dim­mers mod­elled on DJ con­soles; vin­tage oak par­quet floor­ing from an Am­s­ter­dam flea mar­ket. OP­PO­SITE PAGE the front of the 1800s ware­house has been re­con­fig­ured to form a dou­ble-height liv­ing area, re­veal­ing the orig­i­nal tim­ber beams, with a Bru­tal­ist con­crete stair­case spi­ralling up to the at­tic; sofa de­signed by Hoede­man and fab­ri­cated by lo­cal ar­ti­sans; vin­tage plas­tic Casalino chairs painted sil­ver chandelier made by Hoede­man from hard­ware.

THIS PAGE in the main bed­room, in­dus­trial steel bath­room mo­d­ule ap­pro­pri­ated by Hoede­man; be­spoke bed­head; ’70s lamp is a flea mar­ket find. OP­PO­SITE PAGELola in her bed­room; vin­tage Mario Bellini low chair cov­ered in white tow­elling fab­ric; vin­tage drum used as a side ta­ble; se­quinned show­girl’s out­fit (framed on wall) found by Hoede­man on her trav­els.

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