a stylish oasis by the beach
When creating a home that’s personal and meaningful, it’s a good idea to look to your own origins for design cues. For Ursula van Schoonhoven (pictured), owner of House of Orange furniture and homewares store and distributor of Dutch brand HK Living, it’s the merging of Australian and Dutch designs that leads her decorating choices. Ursula grew up in Melbourne with her Finnish mother and Dutch father, and met her husband Hans in Amsterdam. Hardworking pieces that are beautiful in their simplicity are at the core of Dutch design, as well as Ursula’s home and shop. “There’s a rawness, an honesty – a lovely imperfect feeling,” Ursula says. As well as running their businesses, Ursula and Hans renovate and decorate beach houses for clients. After three years focusing on other people’s getaways, they decided it was time to do their own. When they came across a baby blue-painted, beige-carpeted 1980s home, it was a miracle they didn’t run in the opposite direction. Instead, Ursula knew it was the one.
“It was so stuck in 1985, but the bones were fantastic – it had a timber façade, high ceilings and a gorgeous front deck.” The project took 12 weeks, with Ursula relying on her favoured trifecta – fresh paint, new floors and lighting – to overhaul the place. The beach house celebrates how Australian and Dutch design mesh together so beautifully. “Both countries have mastered the perfect blend of simple designs with a mix of textures and a real earthiness.”
FROM REAL LIVING’S NEAR THE BEACH, $59.95, AVAILABLE IN BOOKSHOPS OR AT MAGSHOP. COM.AU.