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SAFE HAVEN

ANDRÉ WAS LOOKING FOR A SAFE-SPACE, AND FOUND REFUGE ON THE TOP FLOOR OF A RATHER DERELICT CANAL HOUSE. HIDDEN FROM VIEW, THIS LOFTY APARTMENT HAS RECENTLY UNDERGONE A SECOND REFURBISHMENT WITH WABI-SABI TOUCHES AND WITH STUNNING RESULTS.

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“In my early twenties, I broke up with my first love and was so devastated by it that I wanted to change my life completely. I decided to move from the small university town of Leiden, where I had lived in a student apartment the size of a shoebox, to the ‘big’ city of Amsterdam and just leave everything behind. All I wanted to do was start a new life. I dialled the number of the first real estate agent I could find and the guy who picked up the phone said he had a house for sale that had already been on the market for two years and he wanted to get rid of it. I didn’t know Amsterdam very well, so I had no idea of what I would be confronted with. The house was on the canals and it was huge – 400 square metres on 3 floors. Birds were flying through huge holes in the roof, there was no electricity, no water, the walls were broken and all the glass in the windows was shattered. Former squatters had infused all three floors with a True Detective-like spookiness, empty bottles of booze everywhere, candles and strange objects in circular and graphic patterns. I bought the house and had no idea what it would take to turn it into something I could live in. This naivety, actually, was the real treasure: I just got straight to work. It took four full years, every night, every weekend, every hour, together with my father and brother. Reconstructing the house also reconstructed the family and the relationship I had with my father and brother. Just before buying the house, our family was confronted with the devastating loss of close family members. By means of this reconstruction, our sadness, anger and frustration were transformed – we actually built something together. A lot of love went into it. The house turned into a space that felt like home: safe, warm, and silent – yet in the middle of the city. This house has always been my safespace. It has a vibrant silence that invites deep contemplation. Over and over again this house inspires me to rebuild myself, to recreate who I am and what I do. The house is like a silent muse, it gives me space to explore and evolve. The house has been here for more than four centuries and I’m just passing through it. Its pure wisdom is in being patient and knowing all that we really need to become our true selves is space!”

photography Kasia Gatkowska interior design Studio Bakker

Page left Vintage chairs S33 by Mart Stam, Iroko dining table designed by Studio Bakker, suspension lamp Moon L by Davide Groppi, linnen curtain by Design of the Time C A N A L H O U S E | E L L E D E C O R AT I O N 4 1


THE WALL WAS COVERED IN BLUE STEEL

This spread Sofa by Ozenfant, indigo dyed woolen rug from Santa Fe, floor lamp TMC from Miguel Milรก 1961 by Santa & Cole, Leaning Lamp from Atelier Naerebout 4 2 E L L E D E C O R AT I O N | C A N A L H O U S E

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AN URBAN SANCTUARY WITH BRUTALIST TOUCHES ATMOSPHERE

This page Designer Stef Bakker chose natural materials to accentuate the elements that were already present Page right Spacious living with steel fire wall with open fire on bricks 4 4 E L L E D E C O R AT I O N | C A N A L H O U S E


NATURAL MATERIALS MAKE THE LOFT FEEL VERY INVITING

This spread A freestanding cupboard made from Iroko wood doubles as a room divider and houses a neat little desk. Folding chair by Egon Eiermann

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SERENITY REIGNS SUPREME IN THE BEDROOM

This page A sunken bath with shower above is surrounded by greeneryand a slate floor. Swing lamp by Wo & Wé Page left Bedlinnen from Merci Paris C A N A L H O U S E | E L L E D E C O R AT I O N 4 9


This spread The lay-out of the loft is open plan. Designer Stef Bakker replaced the previous kitchen with a simple, sleek design

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Elle Decor Canal House NL / 11-2018  

Elle Decor Canal House NL / 11-2018  

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