The own­ers of this strik­ing 1911 home have en­abled its vin­tage char­ac­ter to shine through even af­ter they mod­ernised it.

True Love - - Contents -

The home’s beau­ti­ful red-brick façade and its black-and-white in­te­rior make for an un­usual com­bi­na­tion. Built in the early 1900s, the house re­minds one of a church that con­tains el­e­ments of an English coun­try house. In other words, this is no or­di­nary house that its in­hab­i­tants, Manda and Billy, fell in love with.

“We lived in an apart­ment in cen­tral Am­s­ter­dam and re­ally wanted to move to a house out­side the city,” says Manda. “On en­ter­ing this home, we were in­stantly at­tracted by its am­bi­ence – the impressive win­dows to the ar­chi­tec­ture and all the pre­served de­tails.”

A few things had to change, though. Manda and Billy hired an ar­chi­tect to help them work out how to ex­pand the kitchen – it was un­usu­ally small for a house that size – and build two ad­di­tional chil­dren’s rooms up­stairs. “The ar­chi­tect de­signed an ex­ten­sion of a brand-new kitchen,” Manda says. “But since the house is ac­tu­ally a cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal ar­ti­fact, it was not easy to get the plans ap­proved for the devel­op­ment and re­fur­bish­ment of the up­per floor.”

The process took a long time, but fi­nally the cou­ple re­ceived per­mis­sion and could start plan­ning the con­struc­tion. They hired a con­trac­tor to over­see the job, as well as a con­struc­tion com­pany that sub­con­tracted to highly qual­i­fied elec­tri­cians and plumbers. Today, the kitchen, with a tree be­hind the white door, is bright and wel­com­ing. It blends in with the rest of the house, even though it is newly built.

Manda and Billi both love vin­tage de­signs, and dec­o­rated the home with items they sourced from an­tique stores or online on eBay. The re­sult is a unique blend of modern and vin­tage decor. Hence, the kitchen has state-ofthe-art gad­gets and a sky­light, as well as an­tique fur­nish­ings.

Manda and Billy also favour dark colours. The kitchen ceil­ing is painted in the same blue as three of the walls, while the fourth wall stands out in a mild shade of green. “I love dark back­grounds against a splash of glam­our in the form of brass or gold or an un­usual colour,” ex­plains Manda.

Freshly cut flow­ers cre­ate an­other per­fect con­trast to darker tones. When she painted all the walls in her first rental apart­ment grey 12 years ago, ev­ery­one thought she was crazy. But today, dark colours have be­come quite pop­u­lar in the de­sign world, ac­cord­ing to Manda. Aside from com­ing up with her own ideas, Manda also draws in­spi­ra­tion from news­pa­pers, her trav­els and In­sta­gram. She likes to break the rules of de­sign and en­cour­ages ev­ery­one to take risks and make their per­sonal style a re­al­ity.

From the kitchen, you can see through the house to­wards the din­ing room and the liv­ing room. Whitepainted floors form a uni­fy­ing stylis­tic el­e­ment, and the beau­ti­ful win­dows soften the light. The old kitchen now func­tions as a small TV room, which is al­most en­tirely filled by a large sofa, while the din­ing room with its an­tique ta­ble and chairs also serves as a working space for Billy. Here, art pieces give the room a sense of grace and el­e­gance.

The liv­ing room is Manda’s favourite room in the house since it is filled with some of her favourite items, mak­ing it feel cosy and glam­orous at the same time. Dec­o­rated with var­i­ous tex­tiles and unique pieces, such as a beau­ti­ful vin­tage lamp and a com­fort­able 19th-cen­tury leather arm­chair, and pep­pered with a few stylish fur­nish­ings like the side ta­ble, it’s a per­fect place for en­joy­ing wine with friends or re­lax­ing with a book by the fire­place.

Checker­board stairs lead to the first floor, where two large bed­rooms are lo­cated: the cou­ple’s bed­room and a guest room. Manda and Billy’s bed­room is spa­cious and has the lux­u­ri­ous feel of a five-star ho­tel room. There’s a soft wall-to-wall car­pet and the walls are painted in a rest­ful, dark blue-grey tone. Here, the cou­ple’s unique tastes come out, as one can see by the old cin­ema arm­chairs placed be­neath a fun rab­bit lamp, along­side a pink hat on the wall. On the bal­cony, large trees pro­vide shade in sum­mer.

Equally classy is the guest room, dec­o­rated in grey­ish-pur­ple tones with a few pink high­lights.

An­other floor up are the chil­dren’s rooms, which are still be­ing ren­o­vated, and should be ready soon for Alec, Eve and Jules.

There’s also a tower room that Manda and Billy have not yet touched, given how dif­fi­cult the per­mit pro­ce­dure has been till now. They would love to turn it into a cosy man­sion or study room, but that will have to wait for later. There is still time and for now, the two have made their dream home a re­al­ity.


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