Inspiration: Matthijs and Wendy

This family home for three is filled with upcycled family furniture, cleverly combined with newly bought pieces to create an elegant, modern and personal interior.

Family affair

Where: The Hague, the Netherlands

Who: Matthijs and Wendy, Felix (0)

Type: Town house, lower floor 

Living surface: 95m2

In a nutshell: A family that builds together, stays together

Wendy and Matthijs were adamant: ‘We specifically went after a house in this neighborhood, because the area ticked all our boxes: it is family friendly and close to the city center. Both the beach and green pockets are nearby, and for me as a commuter, it was also vital that I have quick access to the train station,’ Matthijs says.

So the couple buckled down and started house hunting, facing fierce competition from other buyers looking for the same boxes to tick. It turned out that one of the first houses that they visited, was the right place for them, even though they did not consider buying straight away. Wendy: ‘Everything was old and dated, especially the kitchen. The kitchen took away a lot of light from the living room, giving the house a rather cold atmosphere.’

Luckily, both Wendy and Matthijs returned to the house and realized that they might have stumbled upon a gem, once they would complete a renovation project, swapping kitchen and living room. So the couple bought it.

With help from family and friends, and with a lot of patience, they flipped the rooms around and now they are the proud owners of a house with a far more logical lay out, that optimizes the use of daylight.

Both Matthijs and Wendy enjoy upcycling furniture. They can spend hours, weeks and sometimes even months trying to find the right material or piece of furniture to fit into their vision. The fabric for an armchair they found in Dublin, for example. When it was not in store, Matthijs returned the week after to pick the newly ordered fabric up: ‘I had to be there for work anyways,’ Matthijs says.

The couple has also upcycled a fair amount of ‘hand-me-down’ pieces from several family members, such as the upholstered armchair, which used to be Wendy’s grandparents. Matthijs: ‘We like furniture with a story. It’s nice to sit on a chair that once stood at your grandparent’s house. Or to dine at the table that stood in my childhood home.’ By choosing modern colors and by combining the inherited pieces with carefully selected new items, the couple has created a very personal and harmonious interior.

Newborn son Felix’ nursery consists of Matthijs’ brother’s old dresser and closet. After adding a fresh layer of paint and new doorknobs, the two pieces look as good as new. By adding the bold mural on the wall, in complementing colors, Felix’ room feels warm and coherent. Little touches, such as monkeys to hold the drapes open, give the room a playful character.

The arrival of Felix has challenged the couple to optimize their usage of available square meters: ‘We have to find ways to incorporate all his stuff in our interior,’ Wendy says. As so many other newly baked parents, Matthijs and Wendy have concluded that they need more storage space to accommodate all Felix’ toys and clothes.

That is why Matthijs is currently designing a tv-cabinet and shelving system with built-in storage, maybe even with a little desk for Felix attached to it. ‘It will be a lot of work, but we both enjoy the creative process and the end result. I will build it, and Wendy will style it.’ And judging by the rest of the house, the couple will probably make this into a lovely piece of furniture that little Felix one day might want to upcycle himself.