Home Tour: Scandinavian Pretty House

If you love sweet pastels, Scandinavian style and the domestic talent that lies behind the blog Yvestown, then you’ll love this home tour because today I am taking you through Yvonne Eijkenduin’s beautiful Belgian abode. Hi guys, it’s Holly Marder back this month on decor8 with another home that’s nothing short of inspirational for my monthly Homes with Heart column. It’s fresh, summery and brimming over with heart. Let’s go, oh and you can click on any image to enlarge and pin! static.squarespace-1

Photographer, blogger and author of the book Yvestown in de Keuken, Yvonne and husband Boris have poured their heart and soul over the past 6 years renovating their 1896 home on the Belgian border. Originally a six bedroom family home, the house was built for a family and their next door brewery. More than a century after it was first built, the Dutch couple (the home’s third owners) have tackled one section of the property at a time, reviving the home’s own original features and creating a space that exudes love, light and Yvonne’s feminine sense of style.

Whimsical florals layered upon a fresh white base set the stage for a striking collection of vintage finds as well as contemporary pieces. And though Yvonne can’t quite pinpoint the look of her interior to any singular style, she agrees with “Scandinavian Pretty”, a description once made of her home by Joanna Copestick, co-author of Decorate, in which Yvonne’s home featured. “It’s mix 'n’ match, blending Scandinavian and English design styles,” she says.

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The first room in the house for renovating was the kitchen, undergoing a fresh color scheme of crisp white and blue, with hints of red, pink and mint green weaving it’s way through accessories and wallpaper. A zinc-topped kitchen island, open shelving and a traditional range hood gives the room a country look and feel, while wooden countertops, simple white cabinetry and clean lines make for a fuss-free, contemporary country kitchen. The fireplace doubles up as storage, where the couple stash cookbooks and mason jars. "I wanted too have a clean kitchen, that wasn't too girly, mixing industrial, antique and modern styles," says Yvonne. The blue door in the kitchen leads to the cheerful guest bathroom, employing a palette of pale blue and white, with charming Portuguese tiling underfoot.

Off the kitchen and in the mud room, a favourite piece adorns a Cath Kidston clad wall, Yvonne’s Tala Vegetable Rack which she picked up in an antiques shop on a trip to the UK. The rack is used to store the couple’s fruit and vegetables and has become one of their favourite vintage finds. “I love that it is in my favourite fire engine red and it looks so great against the floral wallpaper in our mud room. It’s very useful but also very photogenic.” Through the mudroom and into the back garden, Yvonne has poured her love of gardening into a thriving space offering fruits, vegetables and flowers in abundance.

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The living room is the couple’s most recent project. Walls were painted a soft creamy colour to add warmth to the large space, while white wooden floors and sporadic pops of pink make for a fresh and feminine space. A penchant for combining furniture styles, and a special sway towards vintage finds, the room effortlessly strikes the balance between the old and the new. Natural weave rugs ground each area and add texture to the space, while the couple’s mantle, refurbished with a fresh coat of paint, Cath Kidston wallpaper and a wood burning stove, breaks the space between the living and dining and creates a focal point. The vintage 1920s Ercol chair is a favourite.

“A vintage Ercol chair was on my wishlist for a very long time but I couldn’t find one in the Netherlands because they’re very British. I kept track of online marketplaces until I found one from a man who was selling his for an absolute steal at just 50 euros.” Yvonne had it reupholstered and it has found a permanent home in the couple’s living room. “I like the design, it’s quite Scandinavian in shape but it’s actually a quintessentially British piece. I always like to mix Nordic pieces with English, and it’s funny because the chair seems to have both of these qualities.”

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The newly renovated dining room features a pastel pink painted hutch custom made out of repurposed vintage wood, accented by a spray of vintage plates. “I think plates are a very nice decorating alternative instead of paintings and art. Sometimes you don’t want to eat off a pretty plate but would rather hang it on the wall because it’s a piece of art.” Yvonne has combined both new plates with favourite vintage pieces to modernise an old fashioned concept. The hutch houses a precious collection of vintage china which she has collected over several years. Yvonne began her collection of 1920s Johnson Bros china when they were relatively unpopular and she now has a complete set of what has become a rather valuable collection. “I was recently in the UK and was at a little antique shop that was asking about 15 pounds per plate. I feel as if I have a gold mine in my cabinet now!”

A vibrant acrylic painting in this space makes a striking statement atop a contemporary sideboard, a vignette which offsets the farmhouse farmhouse feel of the rest of the room.

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yvonnedecor8001 yvonne_decor820 The second living space is where the couple come to relax, read and unwind. The piece of art above the piano is a piece by a close friend of Eijkenduijn's, Dutch artist Auk van Hilten.

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Yvonne runs her blog Yvestown from the light and sunny front room, which features a French antique round table and mix of vintage chairs. Some of Yvonne’s favourite finds are her vintage Eames Bertoya wire chairs which she found on the Dutch online marketplace, Marktplaats. “I have wanted to buy a pair for quite some time because they are such a lovely design. When I finally found some for sale they were selling them in a set of four so I shared the purchase with a friend and we each kept two,” Yvonne explains. “In a way they are not really farmhouse vintage which is a style I like, but they compliment the rest of the pieces. They are still vintage but they have very clean lines and therefore go with a lot of things.”

The fire engine red bench is another favourite, the ‘Småland’ bench by the Swedish designer Yngve Ekstrom, scouted for Yvonne by her blogger pal Caroline from Lille Lykke. “I loved it immediately for it’s shape and the bentwood feel and went to pick it up right away for an absolute bargain, much less than it is worth.” Yvonne kept it’s vibrant red colour to add contrast to a wall of Cath Kidston floral wallpaper. “Every room in my home needs a bit of red to offset all the pastel colours.”

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Delicate floral wallpapers by Cath Kidston, Eijkenduijn's favorite designer, can be seen throughout the couple’s home, bringing each space together to form one harmonious picture derived from a palette of pastels. "I just love her aesthetic, her clever floral patterns for the modern day women," she says. "Cath Kidston is great for mixing and matching, and in combination with a lot of white."

Eijkenduijn owes her interior design success to understanding her own style. "I know my style. I stick to the palette (white, pink, red, blue, green) and style and it just works,” she says. “If you have a good concept and it flows, stick to your guns."

So what’s Yvonne’s secret when it comes to combining vintage pieces with newer items? “If you want to mix modern vintage with antique vintage, you have to make sure the lines are very clean. I don’t have a lot of frilly antiques, but I go for the cleaner lines with that Scandinavian feel to them.”

So guys! What do you think? I have visited Yvonne’s home several times now and never fail to be inspired by her consistent sense of style and all round love of interiors. Ah, and her cooking! Make sure you get your hands on a copy of her book. She has some delicious recipes and fabulous interior inspiration in there too.

Spot anything you love? Feel free to ask about it in the comments section below! - Holly

(photos/text: holly marder with the exception of 1st image by Yvonne Eijkenduijn)