Homes

Calm & collected

In this minimalist bungalow, nature and nostalgia coexist in gentle harmony.

“A bit less busy, a little more green” was the order of the day when influencer Sanne Hop and her husband Wim de Boer went on the hunt for a spacious new home after outgrowing their Amsterdam apartment. The inner-city abode that the couple had lived in for several years was actually two apartments joined together, but even so, it eventually became too small to accommodate their family when it grew to include four children.
With the property market booming at the time, Sanne and Wim seized the opportunity to sell up and look for something more suitable, venturing further afield in search of space, comfort and a connection to nature. They stumbled on their new-build property by accident and were delighted to learn that the multi-dwelling project had been initiated by an architect with a penchant for timber and clean lines. “We were immediately sold and were lucky to secure the last available house,” says Sanne.

ABOVE “We’re so happy that we chose not to have a kitchen island but a very long kitchen along the living room wall,” says Sanne of this sustainable bamboo creation by Ask og Eng. “It gives the room a spacious feel and is so beautiful it really is a dream come true.”

The building process took close to two years and was quite the adventure. “One of the challenges was our strong desire for a concrete staircase,” says Sanne. “It was tricky to achieve while maintaining the space needed downstairs for the kitchen and upstairs for the bedrooms and bathrooms, but we worked it out and are very happy with the stairs and the way they open into the living space.”

ABOVE The dining table by Slowwood is paired with an array of chairs from various eras.

Having designed and renovated their apartment, Sanne and Wim were no strangers to the building process, but designing a home to suit a family of six was a first and came with its own unique hurdles. “It was hard to create a home where everyone would have a place for themselves and at the same time incorporate a spacious living space where we could all come together,” says Sanne. “I also found the endless decision-making a challenge, but in the end it was worth it. It’s so rewarding to see that our design has actually worked out the way we envisioned it would.”

ABOVE From bamboo to rosewood, the warm wooden hues throughout the home provide a rich contrast to the crisp white backdrop and cool concrete flooring. Several second-hand finds come into play in this vignette; some of Sanne’s top online vintage stores include Meutt, Le Flair and Flat Sheep.

As well as that striking architectural staircase, the living area of the new rural bungalow in Almere, just north of the city, has a generous open-plan layout and a plethora of natural elements that make the decidedly contemporary space somehow feel cosy.
“We spend a lot of time in the living room together,” says Sanne. “The younger children still like to be around us most of the time, and the older children each have a room of their own now, so they can go upstairs to have private time. It feels so luxurious after years of sharing rooms.”

TOP “I feel best in a calm environment where things are gentle on the eye,” says Sanne. This has been achieved in Ole‘s room with simple decorations like woven baskets for toy storage, a little grey suitcase from Amsterdam’s Archive Store, and tonal clothing items including his cardigan by Repose AMS, which he wears as often as possible, and a little blue vest (hanging on the side of the wardrobe) that Sanne says he’s loved for many years and is still squeezing himself into, even though it’s a bit too small. ABOVE Pippa’s fabulous timber bed was made by a friend of the couple’s; they hope to keep it in the family forever.

The couple’s decorating philosophy relies on a harmonious relationship between old and new. Inspired by natural materials, handmade elements and ‘clean’ designs, they strive to achieve balance by bringing vintage into the mix in the form of pieces collected slowly over time. “Vintage works well here because it contrasts so nicely with the modern character of the house,” says Sanne. “We love pieces with a story behind them, and find joy in giving them a second life in our home.”
Of equal importance to the duo is supporting Dutch designers; two of their best-loved pieces include their dining table by Slowwood and their bed by Loof. Their additional concerns for durability and the environment led them to choose Norwegian studio Ask og Eng to custom-build their sustainable bamboo kitchen, an element that has become an eye-catching statement on the otherwise minimalist ground floor.

TOP The key priority here is Hannes’ stuffed toys, says Sanne. “They all need to be here when he goes to sleep, in a specific order.” His bedding is by Numero 74 and the blanket is from La Giraffe. MIDDLE Kaatje sleeps in a vintage French bed beneath a canopy by Numero 74. “She loves playing in this corner,” says Sanne. “She creates a nook with the canopy where she reads and plays with her dolls. On the wooden rack are a few of her favourite clothes, including a beautiful knit by Waddler and a blouse by Little Cotton Clothes. All in all, it’s just a simple, clean but cosy space.” ABOVE The curtains in Ole’s room are by Autumn Paris and the desk is by Spanish brand XO-inmyroom.

Although the couple appreciate smatterings of colour, their preferred palette is a quiet one that draws its inspiration from the hues of nature. “We don’t have so much colour in our house, partly because I feel children bring enough with their drawings and toys,” says Sanne. “We incorporated a lot of blue into our old home, but here the spaces ask for something different: neutrals, beige, brown, peach — earth tones.”

TOP With tapware by Italian brand Hotbath, the couple’s tub sits inside their bedroom, while behind the wall is a shower on the left and a sink on the right. The children have two showers upstairs, but often use this bath, piling in together. ABOVE Here, a rail from By Mölle is used as a drying rack, for storage and for displaying intriguing items. To create interest without clutter, Sanne has incorporated a restrained mix of wooden jewellery, hanging ceramics, rattan and other natural materials.

The house has become something of a muse for Sanne, whose sharing of her family’s wonderful life via her Instagram account @sannehop has garnered a considerable following. “The house is an exciting new source of inspiration to me,” she says. “There are so many corners and spaces, I’m still at the beginning of exploring it all.”

Words & photography Holly Marder