go­ing dutch

By mix­ing vin­tage with con­tem­po­rary pieces, Maartje and Bart Oud­bier have en­hanced the char­ac­ter of their Art Deco Am­s­ter­dam home


Fresh flow­ers and flea­mar­ket finds fill a 1920s flat in Am­s­ter­dam

Liv­ing in a rented apart­ment in Am­s­ter­dam, Maartje Oud­bier and her hus­band Bart were on the look out for a house with a gar­den that didn’t take them too far from their beloved city. ‘Most of the prop­er­ties we viewed were be­yond our bud­get,’ ex­plains pri­mary school teacher Maartje. ‘Then, one week­end, we cy­cled to a pretty en­clave in the east side of town. It had a lovely vil­lage-like at­mos­phere and pe­riod build­ings that were in our price range.’

The cou­ple com­pro­mised on an apart­ment spread over three floors in a 1920s block. While it was full of orig­i­nal fea­tures, it hadn’t been touched for 30 years and so re­quired new electrics, plumb­ing and cen­tral heat­ing, and the lay­out needed a tweak here and there.

The cou­ple opened up the kitchendiner and liv­ing area on the first floor. On the sec­ond floor, all the rooms were re­con­fig­ured. ‘It was like work­ing out a jig­saw,’ says Maartje, ‘ but it al­lowed us to cre­ate an im­proved flow, in­clud­ing a larger bath­room.’ And an at­tic bed­room has been turned into ad­di­tional liv­ing space, with ac­cess to a sunny roof ter­race. ‘ We in­cluded a rus­tic kitchen, too,’ she says, ‘as we didn’t want to be run­ning up and down the stairs ev­ery time we wanted a glass of wa­ter.’

Once the build­ing work was done, the pair turned their hands to the in­te­ri­ors, en­list­ing the help of their friends with the

paint­ing. ‘I’ve loved dec­o­rat­ing since I was a child,’ says Maartje, who wanted to cre­ate a home with re­laxed scheme. ‘I’m a huge vin­tage fan and there’s no place I’d rather be than a flea mar­ket in France. I found some sur­prise bar­gains on­line, too, such as the old din­ing ta­ble I bought on ebay. We sit at it ev­ery day drink­ing cof­fee with the French win­dows flung open. I also in­her­ited won­der­ful pieces, in­clud­ing the rat­tan rock­ing chair in the sit­ting room, from my grand­mother. I com­bined them with sim­ple pieces from Ikea and the high street for an eclec­tic look.’

Through­out, fresh blooms add a whim­si­cal, painterly feel, thanks to Bart’s in­no­va­tive start-up field-to-vase busi­ness, which al­lows grow­ers to de­liver direct to the con­sumer. ‘It means we are lucky enough to al­ways have sea­sonal flow­ers on dis­play through­out our home,’ say Maartje. ‘They bring a play­ful­ness which com­ple­ments the many vin­tage items.’

And, of course, hav­ing re­mained in the city, the fam­ily – which now in­cludes 18-month-old Pien – still feels part of the ac­tion. ‘Life is a lit­tle more lo­cal now and re­lies on our neigh­bour­hood bak­ery, butcher, cof­fee shops and restau­rants,’ says Maartje. ‘But we have a home that’s large enough to ac­com­mo­date re­laxed din­ners with friends and plenty of so­cial­is­ing. Against the odds, we feel we’ve found a way to have the best of both worlds.’


2 2 KITCHEN Maartje kept up­per units to a min­i­mum, us­ing shelv­ing in­stead, to cre­ate a sense of space. For sim­i­lar units, try the Me­tod range, from £17 for a base frame, Ikea

1 DIN­ING ROOM Mis­matched old school chairs add to the re­laxed look. Find vin­tage din­ing chairs at Retrou­vius. The Bee­hive Sin­gle Pen­dant, £120, Heal’s, is com­pa­ra­ble. Bloomon of­fers a postal flower ser­vice in the uk, from £20.95 for a small bou­quet

3 AT­TIC ROOM ‘We wanted to cre­ate a prac­ti­cal space to make best use of this room, which leads on to the roof ter­race,’ says Maartje. ‘So we added a sim­ple kitchen area.’ Grevsta stain­less steel units, from £22, Ikea, are sim­i­lar

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