Moving and renovating can be intimidating, but Amsterdam-based couple Fred and Jade find joy in treating houses like projects. Their current home in the Dutch capital is a vision of meticulous design.
TEXT: EVELIEN REICH STYLING: LISA VAN DER KLOK PHOTOGRAPHS: DIM BALSEM
After three years in Dubai, Fred and his wife Jade (who is originally from Australia) knew exactly what they wanted: to be back in Amsterdam. ‘We wanted an urban sanctuary,’ explains Jade, ‘a refuge, but in the middle of the city we are so fond of.’ To this end, they have succeeded: once you enter their home on the canal belt, you almost forget that a busy capital city is right outside the front door.
Fred and Jade move and renovate frequently, each time setting the bar a bit higher. The couple see their houses as projects; this former school, in use as a photographic studio, was a nice challenge. The renovation lasted around two-and-a-half years. Fred, who practises architecture, worked meticulously on the design. ‘Look,’ he points out, ‘when you’re at the top of the stairs, the points of the marble slabs come together. I’m a real perfectionist and I think those kinds of details are very important.’
This attention to detail is also evident in the layout of the building. As a result of the front windows being very high up, a split level was created on the street side of the house. By raising the floor, there is now not only a view of the canal, but an unobstructed line of sight into the living room and open-plan kitchen.
Despite the immense floor space and the height of the roof and windows, the apartment is strikingly warm, even cosy. The couple chose a rich colour palette and their collective interests are reflected in the decor: geodes, ceramics, paintings, plants, fossils, taxidermy and sculptures are all on display.
The family bedrooms, with en-suite bathrooms, are on the upper floors and overlook warehouses. Although the house does not lack for square metres, a guest room did not t into the plan. But Fred had another solution: he bought a houseboat directly opposite the building and converted it into a comfortable guest house.
You almost forget that a busy capital city is right in front of the door
With such an ideal home, you’d be forgiven for wondering why Fred and Jade would ever consider leaving. But a leopard doesn’t change its spots and the couple’s next project is already on standby: a house in the countryside. As Jade explains: ‘Really living in the Dutch countryside – we’ve never done that before!’
To see more of this majestic home, buy your copy of the October organic issue.