The owners of this striking 1911 home have enabled its vintage character to shine through even after they modernised it.
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.
TOP TO BOTTOM: THE COUPLE HAVE FILLED THEIR HOME WITH UNIQUE OBJECTS THAT REFLECT THEIR PERSONAL TASTE.