SWEETNESS & LIGHT Sugar shades and pris­tine white cheer up a Dutch ter­race

Ilona and Daniel Pol­cyn re­freshed their run­down home with tones of bub­blegum pink and pris­tine white


The year 2011 proved a good one for Ilona and Daniel Pol­cyn. Hav­ing two young sons, they were quickly out­grow­ing their small apart­ment in the Dutch city of Tilburg. They had been look­ing for a big­ger prop­erty, with­out suc­cess when, while out walk­ing, they came across this 1960s ter­raced house.

‘At that time, there was a re­ces­sion in the Nether­lands, but it worked in our favour as house prices had fallen,’ says Ilona. ‘Also, the prop­erty was so di­lap­i­dated, it was be­ing of­fered at a knock-down price.’ In­evitably, it needed masses of work, but Ilona viewed that as a plus. ‘Be­ing cre­ative, we love ev­ery as­pect of in­te­ri­ors, so for us, it was a chal­lenge worth tak­ing on,’ she says.

In­stead of mov­ing in straight away, the cou­ple spent four months gut­ting the house and re­mov­ing in­ter­nal walls to cre­ate a big open-plan space down­stairs. Then, once the struc­tural work was com­plete, the walls were painted white, with a view to grad­u­ally adding colour. ‘In the be­gin­ning, it looked more like a hospi­tal than a home,’ Ilona ad­mits, ‘ but I ex­per­i­mented with colours be­fore set­tling on a scheme I was happy with.’

As the in­te­rior took shape, Ilona’s love of pas­tels be­came more and more ev­i­dent. ‘It’s eas­ier to cre­ate a calm, co-or­di­nated feel us­ing soft­shades as op­posed to darker, more com­plex colours,’ she ex­plains. Also, com­bined with the abun­dance of white on the walls and floors, the over­all ef­fect is a light, airy and up­lift­ing.

Sim­ple though this decor might first seem, a closer look re­veals a very dis­cern­ing taste in ob­jets, with items from past and present adorn­ing the walls and shelves. ‘It’s taken a long time to amass every­thing,’ says Ilona, ‘ but ev­ery piece here is a thing of beauty in its own right.’ As a re­sult, she has no hes­i­ta­tion in mix­ing and match­ing items, such as the din­ing fur­ni­ture, which comes in all shapes, sizes and colours.

This fun theme con­tin­ues up­stairs in the mas­ter bed­room. ‘I like to take one wall and ex­per­i­ment with it,’ says Ilona, re­fer­ring to the leafy fea­ture wall. ‘I’ve also kept this room nice and light, which is im­por­tant be­cause this is a fam­ily space, too – on week­end morn­ings, the boys love to come in and jump around on the bed.’

Ilona’s sons have clearly in­her­ited her cre­ativ­ity as they have had a hand in de­sign­ing their own bed­rooms. Ty­cho, now 12, is a huge Elvis Pres­ley fan and has filled his room with Amer­i­cana, while Fender, 6, opted for a clean, cool look.

Both up­stairs and down, the rooms are con­stantly be­ing up­dated, with Ilona of­ten re­paint­ing her fur­ni­ture. ‘Our house is con­tin­u­ally chang­ing,’ she says. ‘Daniel used to al­ways com­plain that noth­ing stayed the same for long, but now he’s fine with it –or per­haps he just doesn’t no­tice any more!’

Favourite room ‘I love our din­ing area – it’s where I write my blogs. I made the pink bench my­self, as I couldn’t find any­thing like it in the shops, and from there I have a lovely open view of the sit­ting room and kitchen’

Sit­ting room ‘i like to re­lax here and light can­dles in the evening, to cre­ate a cosy at­mos­phere.’ The Land­skrona sofa, £ 450, Ikea, is al­most iden­ti­cal. Hay Tray ta­ble, £135, Nest. Girl poster, £34, Martabad­blay.com. Frankie poster by Pax & Hart, £36, By

Sit­ting room A clas­sic mid-cen­tury side­board makes a state­ment in this all-white scheme. 1stdibs.com has a range of 1970s side­boards, from £ 415. Vi­tra Love Heart tray, £ 45, amara

Kitchen to re­flect the func­tional na­ture of the space, the colour scheme was kept sim­ple. For sim­i­lar units try the In­fin­ity range, price on re­quest, Wren Kitchens. Mister Moon Daisies wall­pa­per, £8 per roll, Mo­ti­flow

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