By the time the lights on the tree at The Hague’s Lange Voorhout Christmas market are switched on for another year, preparations for the season are already well underway in Iris Rozendaal’s home. The stylist and photographer has a pared-back decorating style that radiates warmth and embraces the beauty of nature.
Her three-floor apartment in an old mansion block near the city centre – which she shares with fiancé Vincente and their three-year-old son Luca – was not always so elegant. ‘When we moved in everything was yellow and brown,’ says Iris. ‘It was awful!’ Looking past the palette, it was the original features – elaborate stucco on the ceilings, large windows and spacious rooms – that caught her eye. Inspired by their grandeur, she began a renovation project that involved adding herringbone parquet, a new kitchen and bathroom, as well as a colour scheme that blends pure white with beige, caramel and hints of subdued pink. ‘We wanted to let the building’s history speak for itself,’ she explains.
The past is also present in Iris’s choice of furnishings. Many of the pieces are antique finds, which she revels in combining with contemporary designs. Her Ercol futon has been sanded back to reveal the light wood beneath its dark-brown varnish and sent away to be reupholstered. ‘It’ll be an old thing made new,’ she enthuses.
In this home, the festive season is, in Iris’s words, ‘basically all about eating’. It’s no surprise, then, that she is equipped with an enviable collection of tableware. It’s something of an obsession for the stylist, who likes nothing better than hunting out artisan producers from Holland and Spain, where Vincente’s family lives, as well as ones from further afield – Japanese ceramics are a current favourite. Her mother and grandmother had a similar passion, so heirlooms can be spotted among her more recent purchases. Dotted with tasteful greenery, such as eucalyptus and olive branches, her table settings are elegant but relaxed.
The star of the decorations, however, is the family’s adopted Christmas tree, christened Pepe, which they collect from the grounds of nearby Duivenvoorde Castle every year (and then return to the same patch of soil, so it is growing up alongside Luca). Once the tree is decorated, they love to relax by the fire in the living room. Vincente and Luca will build a railway line using Brio, winding it under the coffee table and around the chairs, while Iris enjoys a well-earned borrel (Dutch for aperitif). irisrozendaal.com
This feature appeared in ELLE Decoration December 2019.
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