Vibrant living with a neutral base - Flo
Colourful home with room for chaos and design
Flo is the mother of two, a well known interior stylist, and she has worked with many exciting international brands.
We chatted with Flo about managing a beautiful home, while the kids play in every corner of the house.
She lives in Haarlem near Amsterdam, Netherlands with her hubby and children, Kieke (5) and Fes (3).
They have found their secret haven, which ticks all the right boxes for their family - they are near the beach, the city, and the girls' grandparents.
All of the above were a must when they started looking for a family home after many years of living in the suburbs of Dubai. We have met the talented Flo through her beautiful styling of Nofred's image campaigns in the Netherlands ... and what eye candy those images are!
Why did you choose this place?
After living in a suburb of Dubai for years, we wanted to live in the city again, close to the beach, and in a child-friendly neighborhood. Our home ticked all the boxes, with the additional bonus of grandpa and grandma living just 5 minutes away. We are also very close to Amsterdam, there are so many reasons ... but we just love, love, love this place.
Do you embrace the amount of stuffthat comes with having children?
I never embraced it (I think I was Marie Kondo in my previous life), but we were lucky that we lived in Dubai, when the kids were babies and had more space.
Houses in the Netherlands are much smaller and less spacious.
Now that we are back in the Netherlands and the kids have grown bigger, the baby mess has gone and it is time for more permanent children's furniture. Yeah!
What is your personal style in your home?
I love to have a mix of simple white walls, which for me means light, with just a splash of colour.
For example, our living room walls are mostly white to keep it light, with one wall in beige to bring a bit of warmth.
We have always painted the floors a light colour to suit my love for wooden furniture.
Wood on wood is too much for me, so I like to have a simple and light base, which allows me to play with wallpaper, furniture and accessories.
I like a little bit of retro, a little bit of Scandinavian, but mostly I like playful things.
Orange and green have always been some of my favorite colors, they remind me of nature.
We painted our built-in-cabinets orange, which was a difficult decision and we were unsure if it would turn out looking nice. But when the evening sun comes through the windows, it helps to give our living room a warm and cosy feel.
In the kids' rooms, we always go a bit wilder.
Especially now that the kids have their own opinions. Kieke, 5, has chosen a red colour for her walls ... so we'll work with that! But one colour you will not find in my place is blue... other than on our denim, of course.
Has your interior changed after having children?
Yes, of course! Kids need a place to play, to paint, to draw and be creative, preferably near mum or dad. So part of our adult space is now kids related. We always try to blend it in, so avoiding ugly plastic crap in our shared space. They can have plastic in their own rooms, preferably stored in cabinets or baskets. We pimped the Ikea kitchen with space for kids stuff, but now that they are slightly older they play more and more in their own rooms. I hope that means we will be living with more adult stuff soon.
Describe your place: tidy or messy?
Tidy, definitely! I love closed storage with mess behind the doors. Shh, don't tell anyone...
Which rules do you live by when it comes to the interior for children?
The same as for our own furniture, to be honest. A lot of wood, plain basic colours, nothing crazy.
Everything else in their rooms, wallpaper, accessories, bedding and posters is colourful and fun enough.
I like to keep the base simple. This way, we feel it can last much longer, without getting bored. When you paint the colour of a wall, the rooms get a completely different feeling, just as it does when you change the furniture and accessories.
How have you decorated the children's rooms and why?
A lot of the things in their rooms, they have had for years, such as their favorite posters, baskets and lamps.
We have moved homes a lot in the past few years, so I always want the children to have their own familiar stuff with them. Now, they want to choose some of the interior themselves, and I really want them to have their own taste and style, so I let them. But to be honest, it has taken me a while to accept it ... and to let it go!
Kieke 5, chose red, Fes, 3, has her pink phase, but I was able to turn it into a pinkish, nude colour.
Which children’s interior brands do you love and why?
I love Woodchuck for their beautiful handcrafted wooden pieces. Also, I love to have vintage items and I always keep an eye on one of my favourite shops, Meutt. If I have to be completely honest, then Ikea also plays a big part in my life. I'm still in love with the Piet Hein Eek 'Crisis junior bed'. Piet Hein Eek is a Dutch designer whose designs I have admired for a long time.
Do your children have toys permanently in the living room or do the toys travel back and forth from the children’s room?
Soft toys and dolls will travel back and forth between the bedrooms and the living room, but our pimped Ikea kitchen permanently has crates with toys, and a closed cabinet with puzzles, pens, pencils, crafting materials, play dough, family games and books.
Which room in your home do you use the most?
Our living/dining room. It is open plan, with the kitchen towards the garden and the living room towards the street.
The doors are open all day, and the kids walking in and out constantly.
They love to play in our quiet streets with all the neighbor kiddies, beautiful chaos!
Which is your dearest treasure, that you would secretly be upset if your children break?
The old painting in our kitchen, that my grandparents had because it gives me such great memories.
This painting has always been in my life and reminds me of sleepovers at my grandparents' place when I was young.
Also the Wild letters from Zoe Rumeau, that reminds me of the time that the love for interior "grabbed me by the balls".
Which three adult brands do you love and why?
Piet Hein Eek, always. His simple, yet sophisticated designs are lovely. Even if I don't like mainstream trends, he creates something that I immediately want in my home! My biggest crush at Maison & Objet in January 2020, was funny enough also a Dutch brand, HK Living. I love how they play with colours and shapes. And I like &Tradition's lovely, soft octagon-shaped woollen rugs.
What are your favourite products from Nofred?
I've loved the Toucan Wallpaper, from the moment I first saw it. It is fresh, colourful, and the black and white give a subtle contrast in the room. After a while, Leaf Blanket also became one of my favorites. The shape adds a cosy touch, and the kids automatically start playing or chilling on it! Now that the kids are bigger, I would love them to have a good desk, and the Mouse School Set would be perfect to grow into. Again, the round shapes and the mouse ears add a spark to mostly square spaces. Did I say I love shapes?