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’