isis sturtewagen

January 6, 2012

Isis can now enjoy daily tea in her new marimekko tea pot which sits atop a collection of journals in the living room

Whenever I feature someone’s home, I try to figure out why the space intrigues me. What is it, in particular, that I’m responding to? With Isis Sturtewagen‘s house in Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands, it was hard to identify just one theme. Was it her bold and striking use of lights and darks? Her unabashed application of pink (a color this former tom-boy is still shy about)? Her ambient vignettes? Prolific flowers? Or maybe the mouthwatering meals she makes?.. Perhaps it is all of the above.

You may remember Isis from the lovely lavender and roseberry Christmas wreath and handmade hearts that I featured before the holidays. Isis is a very creative person, who learned a lot from her mother, “an artist, a great cook and a real jack of all trades.” Isis got her first sewing machine when she was five, was crocheting at 6, and knitting soon after. “Making things has become a part of who I am. I can’t imagine myself without it,” she admits. Isis now creates things for her shop, Thé Dansant, which she shares with her sister. And conjures quite a bit for her home as well.

With such creativity embedded in her soul, Isis naturally treats her house as an avenue of self expression, but also a source of inspiration. Any browse through her blog or flickr account and one can see that she continually responds to and is informed by her home. Whether she is creating a sumptuous meal in pink casseroles that mirror her kitchen stool, or photographing her bed in chiaroscuro black and white one week, dusty rose the next, Isis never appears to be lazy about her space. Which is not to say that her home is never messy. But even if it is, Isis will notice how the light hitting the rumpled sheets creates a lovely dappled pattern or discover that her drying dishes compliment each other in an unexpected way.

And then there is the constant play with the myriad elements in her home. Isis and her partner, “Mr. B.,” did take on the task of renovating their kitchen. But even on a smaller scale, it seems that Isis changes something every day. Mixing her favored eclectic objects – modern and vintage, rustic and industrial – seems a constant source of joy for Isis.

In the end what is so inspiring about Isis’s home is that it is a study in moments, a celebration of transient beauty. I read somewhere that Isis described herself as a perfectionist. I prefer to think of her as highly intentional. Her’s is a daily exercise in being “present” in your home. Treating it as a conscious extension of yourself so that everything you do in it – working, cooking, living – appears not as distinct exercises, but as part of a whole. In short, the life lived in it does not take away from the interior style; it adds to it.

The new kitchen which Isis and Mr. B remodeled themselves replacing yellow walls, brown particle board cabinets, and “three different types of tiles” to create a much fresher feel. Isis and Mr. B also ripped up carpet in the entire place and painted the wooden floors underneath. They painted all the walls and woodwork as well.

makings of a beautiful dessert: the kitchen, the original fruit, and the final product

kitchen details and breakfast muffins

a living room corner with details

bedroom and living room details show how adept Isis is at layering textures to create an inviting feel

the rumpled bedroom looks cosy and snug

inside as well as out, Isis’s garden receives much love and gives much back in return

dark corners in the office and living room dramatically offset lighter elements

dining room details that highlight Isis’ eclectic style

dining room details celebrating ephemeral moments at home: a bouquet at a work table and the passing light

All rights reserved. Photos by Isis Sturtewagen used with her permission. 

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