Dutch graphic designer Irene Hoofs started her design blog Bloesem around the same time that we began Remodelista, and we've loved watching Bloesem literally blossom over the years. She recently sent us photos of her newly renovated Amsterdam loft in a century-old converted warehouse, designed by X + L, a Dutch favorite of ours. Irene tells us, "This was the first apartment my husband and I bought and has a special place in our hearts. We've thought of selling it many times, but we love its location in the heart of the Jordaan area." The couple and their two sons have led a nomadic life for the past decade—they currently reside in Singapore and use their Amsterdam place during vacations and holidays. "The contrast between the two cities is striking'' notes Irene, "Singapore has a great heritage and some amazing old architecture, but is very much about the New World, while Amsterdam reminds me of the 16th century Renaissance."
Earlier this year, the couple asked their good friends, interior designers Xander and Leon, of X + L, to "turn the apartment into a functional yet cool-looking pied-à-terre." Irene explains, "My husband was the remote, hands-off project manager and I was responsible for the decoration and furniture, with one small catch—there was no budget to speak of." Her solution? Scour the attics and garages of family and relatives and comb thrift stores across the Netherlands. And to great effect.
Photography by Irene Hoofs.
Above: The warehouse's original thick wooden beams run through the building. "They add great character to the apartment," says Irene.
Above: The apartment is just over 1,000 square feet, but, in its new incarnation, filled with custom cabinetry, it feels much more spacious.
Above: Among Irene's finds: a vintage Dutch dining table. The lighting fixture is an X + L design.
Above: Husband, Rik, in the kitchen, which X + L detailed with an inset shelf for Irene's pottery finds.
Above: "Despite many big windows, the apartment does not get a lot of light, so we kept the space as open as possible to let in maximum light," says Irene. "This meant breaking down a number of walls and using sliding doors to separate rooms; during the day, we leave these open to let in the light."
Above: In place of what had been a dark kitchen, a minimalist countertop made from Corian.
Above: The main space is devoted to a seamless kitchen packed with birch wood cabinets designed to look like furniture. "As a collector, I need storage. Lots of it," says Irene. "And by that I don’t mean boxes and humid basements, but sleek and intelligently designed, built-in closets and drawers that are easily accessible and blend in seamlessly with the rest of the apartment. I admit it, it's a high-maintenance request list."
Above: "If you have been following me on Bloesem, you know that I collect (my husband would say ‘hoard’) vintage ceramics and I found some beautiful pieces in my thrift store journey through the east of the Netherlands. This group is a subset—the rest I took back with me in my suitcase to Singapore." You can read about Irene's finds in her post: Bloesem on Ceramics.
Above: "The Artifort lounge chair belonged to my father who bought it some time in the seventies." Irene says that the concrete floor painted with white industrial floor paint "reflects the light. And the white feels like a good fit with the industrial history of the building."
Above: The kids' room for sons Lode and Kiet has a desk and chair that Irene terms "boy proof: made of iron and unbreakable. This is how Dutch classrooms looked in the old days." The metric system poster was a lucky find, she says, that made her reminisce about her younger years. "I could not have imagined then that I would one day become a modern day nomad."
Above: Indigo baskets for toys in the boys' room from HEMA.
Above: Ikea bunk beds.
Above: X + L fully delivered the storage Irene was after, especially in the master bedroom.
Above: The wall of cabinets in the bedroom are made from wood chipboard to add texture and are painted dark olive green. Small holes serve as door pulls creating a uniform, clean look in the minimalist space.