I am pretty good at pestering, well, on email. In life, I fold quickly. But with Vicky, I continually pestered her. I knew this Knock Knock would be excellent as I adored everything she shared on Instagram. Her artwork, her references and, more recently, her online shop called Greek Spaces. I was right. Her home is an excellent reflection of her aesthetic. Not fussy, colourful and full of heart. I was so delighted that she was willing to share it with us, and I hope you feel the same.
My family and I moved into our new home last November. It's a newly built townhouse that is part of one of the many projects aimed at gentrifying certain neighbourhoods in Rotterdam. If you had asked me a few years ago if I would even consider buying a house from a blueprint, with zero possibility of seeing it in real life, I would have replied with a firm no. I love places with period features and character and have always thought that new builds tend to be soulless. However, if you nowadays want to live in or close to any city centre, particularly with a family, you can't be too picky. In practice, you learn that you are privileged to buy property in most cities today.
It was my husband who was very enthusiastic about this particular project. So, with quite some reluctance, I agreed with him to seize the opportunity and buy the house. We had to pick from a website and brochure. Patiently and admittedly a little anxiously, we waited two years for construction to finish, but my husband's confidence in the project turned out to be on point. Whenever I express my happiness in this new house, he reminds me teasingly that I had so many doubts. I love this townhouse's spaciousness, which is especially good when you live with two teenage boys. Also, the lively and diverse neighbourhood, the natural light coming through the big windows, and the charming park across the street adds so much joy to this new home. In the months before being handed the keys, I noted that the thing that got me most excited was that 'new canvas' feel; I couldn't wait to bring colours onto those walls and decorate them with all the art and textiles that I had collected over the years.
When you enter the house at street level, you step straight into the kitchen. This space has no hallway and only catches daylight from the front side, so a brasserie-like feel would be a great way to play with these characteristics. I chose a pinkish colour for the walls and ceiling and a terracotta and off-white chequered tiled floor. To enhance the atmosphere, I added a floor-to-ceiling mirror on the back wall and lots of paintings all around. This kitchen is my favourite space in the house. Drinking my coffee there in the morning when everyone has left for either work, or school always feels like a moment of bliss. A little bit as if I were in one of those typical Parisian cafés.
The other rooms all have different colours depending on the atmosphere I wanted to create. I kept the living room relatively light, so the view of the park and our garden would be the focus. For the stairwell walls, I decided to go with a bold pink. This is because, with the stairwell being such a central part of the house, a colour with great positive energy would do well in connecting all four storeys. Also, I always like to make fun of how pink helps me to counterbalance all that male energy I live with.
You must always understand on a conscious level what kind of feeling you want to express in your space through colours, art, objects and furniture. Especially in the copy-paste culture we live in, many people pick up ideas in an entirely unconscious way. Don't get me wrong. What excites me about art and the use of colours is not necessarily of interest to others and certainly doesn't make me or my taste any better than anyone else's. I just firmly believe that an expressively decorated space is a great way to generate good energy in one's home. Being in my forties now and looking at life on a different level, decorating is more and more about expressing my perspective on life rather than showcasing an avant-garde or sophisticated taste. There is so much more in trying to express an open mind with abstract art, honouring life's duality through contrasts in colours and textures, or balancing serenity with chaos. Similar to how you grow as a person through the various stages in life, your home can evolve too. So, from that point of view, I believe a house is never really 'done', which makes me curious about how mine will look over time…