Renske has used colour blocking to turn her home into a playful work of art
I’m a huge admirer of Dutch style. I have lived in Amsterdam twice for a total of 3 years and the design and lifestyle made a lasting impression on me. I’m sure my love for colour and bold design stems from that time. The Dutch are so creative and courageous with their style, they are playful and quirky and don’t seem to care what anyone else thinks of them. I love that kind of confidence in their culture and it also shows in the way they dress and decorate their homes.
So it’s not surprising that I follow many Dutch accounts on Instagram. @interikleur by Renske is one of my absolute favourites. Every time I see a new post by her I have to stop and just admire her eye-catching style and strong, vibrant colours. She’s the queen of colour blocking and she has the skill to add a wow-factor to her space. Interestingly, the colour blocking trend is believed to originate from the Netherlands, from the artwork of a Dutch painter Piet Mondrian to be specific.
I really wanted to know more about Renske and her approach to interior design so I was very pleased when she agreed to be interviewed by me.
HOUSE TOUR & INTERVIEW
Could you tell me a bit about yourself?
My name is Renske Janse. I’m 31 and I live in the Netherlands with my husband and my little girl (6) and boy (5). I met my husband Daniël when I was 17 so we’ve been together for about 14 years. Our joint hobby is creating and building. We have renovated our 1930s house ourselves and right now we are busy converting a Transporter T6 van into a campervan, so that we can travel through Scandinavia.
I’m a creative person in many ways. Besides creating and building, I love to write blogs and I’m also a photographer. I have two websites: one for interior design (www.renskejanse.nl) and another one for my photography (www.renskejansefotografie.nl). We are also about to launch a third website for DEE Design which is an online shop for furniture and interior accessories, all designed and built by me and my husband. Our collection will boast awesome new designs and striking colours that the customers can choose to fit their interior.
Where do you live?
I live in Haarlem, near Amsterdam. It’s a typical Dutch red brick building with over 120m2 floor space and a garden in the front and back. We have a nice, little workshop with a veranda in our back garden. We built it ourselves for all our DIY jobs.
How would you describe your interior style?
I would describe my style colourful and cosy with creative solutions. I love to use lots of colour and I think I have the skill to combine the right colours without getting too extreme. For me, it’s a shame that so many walls in peoples’ homes are white because colour can make a home so much cosier. I love to combine colours with natural materials like wood but also steel. Oh and my slogan is: hout op hout is fout (=wood on wood is bad). Having wood directly next another type of wood doesn’t work, if you ask me. For example, we have a wooden floor and on it a wooden table. Instead of wooden legs, I chose black steel legs. I adore floral wallpaper and I really have to refrain myself from using it in every room. Even our laundry room has botanical wallpaper.
Did you have to do a lot of work to your home to achieve the current look?
When we came to live here in 2013, all the walls were bland. The kitchen and bathroom were outdated and the stairs were covered with a dirty carpet. Actually the whole house was outdated, but we saw potential in the space and the location. We love DIY so we really liked this project from the beginning. When our children were tiny, newborn and one year old, we embarked on the biggest part of the renovation. We demolished the entire ground floor to its shell, replaced the electricity, removed walls and put new ones in, built a new ceiling and so on. I’m always coming up with new ideas to change a room, give it a new look or to hack some items. DIY is part of my life, it never gets boring. For example in the 8 years we’ve lived here, our bedroom alone has now had 6 makeovers.
Where do you find inspiration for your interior design?
I like watching home makeover shows on TV such as the Dutch VT-wonen and also The Block Australia. I also draw inspiration from Instagram, Pinterest and physical shops. So when I’m designing in SketchUp, ideas often just pop into my head.
Where do you source most of your pieces from?
I love to give everything a Renske-touch, so I like to shop IKEA furniture and then hack it. I have upcycled for instance Hemnes and Ivar cabinets. But I mostly love it when we build things ourselves like my wardrobe, a hexagon-clock I designed and a wall unit with a play corner for the kids.
In which room do you spend most of your time?
In my woman cave (my study). Sounds so luxurious, doesn’t it! I really love the flower wall, my handmade wardrobe, the super comfortable sofa and the space to do some yoga or simply read a book, edit pictures, write blogs or design furniture or interiors. For me it is a place to relax and thanks to the colourful environment I get a lot of creative inspiration from it.
What is your favourite piece of furniture or item in your home?
The sofa in my woman cave because it’s so soft, cosy and warm and it has high armrests. It converts into a bed so I can even use it to have a nap or meditate. I also love the lounge sofa in the garden under our veranda.
Is there still something you want to change in your home?
ALWAYS! Today I ordered some new paint for the living room walls and I’m busy renovating our top-floor stairs. I’m using patterned tiles as risers, just like our other stairs. We also have to renovate our bathroom this year. That’s the only project I’m not looking forward to because tiles are so permanent. I have decided to paint a wall so that I still have an opportunity to change the colour and vary the look when I want. This year we will also be quite busy with converting the van into a campervan. I can’t wait to design and make some furniture for it. This morning I got up with the idea to build a new kitchen (the current one is 4 years old) ourselves. I will draw up that plan later today. And so we continue keeping ourselves busy!
Describe your dream home?
Since childhood, my dream has been to live somewhere where it’s possible to keep cows in the garden. I love cows and nature! To make the dream come true we will probably have to move back to Veluwe area where we can launch a camping site and I then get to design all kinds of buildings for it. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?
Many thanks Renske for allowing us into your fabulous home and inspiring us all to be bold and experiment with colours and colour blocking!
You visit Renske’s website here (in Dutch only).
If you’d like to see other vibrant homes on my blog, click here.
Photography: Renske Janse