Interview: Eveliene van Zanten, Zuiver editorial staff

Wow, what an honour it was when vtwonen approached Caroline to do a ‘peek inside’ feature on her home. A peek inside consists of both words and pictures, so photographer Dana van Leeuwen came by on behalf of vtwonen to take pictures of Caroline’s gorgeous canal front home. And for me, Eveliene, it was a good opportunity to sound Caroline out about her interior.

On the day that Dana came round, our own Zuiver photographer Robbert was also present for a behind-the-scenes look. So here’s your chance to get an inside look… What’s Caroline’s home like, what lies behind her colour choices and where did she get all her stuff?

Little altars

You’ll come across little altars throughout the house. As soon as you enter the living room, your eyes are drawn to the compartment shelf unit on the wall. Everything you see has its own story. Some items are souvenirs from distant travels, others are family heirlooms. What you also see here and there are Zuiver samples: items that didn’t make the collection but are so attractive that Caroline couldn’t part with them.

A word you could use to describe Caroline’s interior style is eclectic, a bold mix of modern and vintage. The word eclectic literally means “choosing the best” and this is perfectly appropriate for Caroline. She’s not only selective in how she arranges her interior, but she also needs to be 100% happy with a new design for it to be added to the Zuiver collection.

"Caroline’s interior style is eclectic, a bold mix of modern and vintage"

Photographing the living room

Little altars in the living room

Vintage chemist bottles

Brown chemist bottles are to be seen throughout the living room. It’s a remarkably big collection, so Caroline explains: “My mother used to work at a pharmacy. When it closed several years ago the pharmacist asked my mother if she wanted the bottles. A few days later we drove home with a car boot full of beautiful bottles. Of course I had no idea it would become such a hot interior design trend years later!”

As I mentioned above, Caroline loves souvenirs. “I have a thing for attractive notebooks and wooden statuettes that I run into during holidays and business trips. I love taking these kinds of things back home as mementos or for use as photography props. Also, souvenirs often tell their own story and help us back up our own. When the items are no longer needed, I take them home and give them a nice spot somewhere.” An example can be found in the wall shelf unit: a little elephant Caroline once brought home from India.

"I love taking souvenirs back home as mementos or for use as photography props"

Vintage chemist bottles

When I ask her if she ever buys anything at antique markets the answer is mostly no. “Everything was passed down through the family, that’s why it’s all so precious to me. Take my desk, I just know I will always keep it. My father worked at it, I work at it and of course I hope one of my children will keep this tradition alive and take it with them later when they leave home…”

There have been very rare occasions when Caroline did buy something at antique markets, the chandeliers in the living room, for example.

Caroline dislikes bright colours in her interior. “I’m a big fan of the colour cognac. Combined with black and grey these form the main colours in my home.” All the walls and window frames in the house are painted in a light colour, except for the study and the boys’ rooms. Here Caroline used 100% Marble by Flexa on the walls.

“As I see it, the living room has enough character of its own, that’s why I left it white. The floor is newly laid but has an original herringbone pattern to suit a pre-1900 house. I incorporated the cognac and black colours in my choice of furniture.”

Having fun in the bedroom of daughter Feline

In the middle the desk of Caroline’s father

Living room extension

Caroline is a big fan of the conservatory trend. A trend where you bring the outside in and take the inside out. What better way to do this than with a conservatory – or in her case – an inner yard. “When I bought the house, the yard was no more than a small flat roof. There was hardly any outdoor space and we really wanted some. In 2005 we carried out major work on the house and also extended the inner yard. Now we have a lovely quiet outdoor space right in the middle of the busy city.”

One look at the rattan chairs and you can well imagine what a pleasant retreat this is. The Kubu chairs by Dutchbone look super comfortable with their soft cushions and sheepskin rugs. Caroline: “These rattan chairs are meant for indoors, so when it rains I take them in and have a nice cosy, comfy seat inside the house.”

Twigs in vintage bottles were used to style the outside space. “Unfortunately my outdoor plants don’t do well, so this is how I introduce some natural elements”. The matching Kubu mirror from the Dutchbone collection makes her lounge area complete.

A lovely quiet outdoor space in the middle of the busy city

Trend tip by Caroline

Caroline loves plants, especially the distinctive leaves of the Swiss cheese plant and the unique character of hanging basket plants such as staghorn ferns or string of pearls. The combination of the green of plants and rattan – in her case the Kubu chairs – immediately create a sense of nature. Combine this with deep blue and green colours and your urban jungle is complete!

Caroline: “For the ultimate style touch I’d like to add a nice rug, but in practice that rug always lies rolled up in the hallway… It’s a shame really, but it can also be a bit of a hassle to keep taking stuff out and bringing it back in again :-)”

"In practice that rug always lies rolled up in the hallway"