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Small Dutch Mid-Century Modern Rental Apartment


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Name: Jens Adam, Hester Vogelzang, our newborn son, Wobbe Adam, and our cat, Teut
Location: Lelystad, The Netherlands
Size: 700 square feet
Type of Home: One-bedroom apartment
Years Lived In: 7 years, renting

Hester Vogelzang has been living in this apartment for seven years, and shares it with boyfriend, Jens, and newborn son, Wobbe. Hester’s tagline on Instagram is “Born in the nineties, living in the seventies,” and that’s obvious by the way this one-bedroom apartment is filled with the colors, patterns, and shapes of stylish past decades. “We especially like that it is located in the city center,” explains Hester of the small apartment’s location. “We can see the train station from our window. And when I first moved in it made me very happy that I can vacuum the whole house using only one power outlet.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Mid-century modern

Which time periods/decades inspired your home’s design the most? I love love love the 1970s, such a time for great furniture. From everlasting wooden furniture to cool plastic statement pieces. Besides owning a lot of furniture from this era, our book cabinet has a lot of books on this subject that I love going through. Our home used to be nothing but thrifted vintage, but the last years we did add a few (newer) design pieces. I like how a 2 euro vase looks great besides a 70 euro design vase. Looking through our house you mainly see our love for color (quite obviously orange, blue, and green). I like to have wild lamps and statement clocks.  

Favorite Element: I think my favorite item is the big dining room table with enough chairs for eight people. Not only because I inherited the table and the lamp above the table from my grandma and grandpa but also because we love to eat and drink with friends and family. Since the birth of our son, the parties are a little bit more quiet, but before we were the final destination of the night (after the bars closed, but we were still thirsty) and we would go on until the sun rose. But the biggest eye-catcher is the Tomado wall rack with my collection of vintage West and East Germany vases. At some point my collection was over 150 vases, but now I just have the prettiest ones. They are marked with east or west at the bottom because they were produced when the German Wall still stood. Fun fact: the West Germany ones are a bit more colorful most of the time.

Biggest Challenge: We love living here, but now that we are a family of three, the space has become too small. Now it’s fine that our baby boy sleeps in the same room, but he will need a room of its own. So unfortunately we will have to move sometime soon.

Also being a big cactus lover is probably going to be a problem when our little boy starts to walk, but that’s a problem for a little later.

Proudest DIY: I have not been DIYing a lot the last few years, but my biggest accomplishment has to be that I gave the blue chair new upholstery. First time to try, first-time success. Would love to do it again.

Biggest Indulgence: I actually buy most things secondhand, so not a lot of items (even the furniture) were over 200 euros. The last item we bought that was around that number was a Tube Clock, made by Hans Muller and Hans van Dongen (hangs above the book cabinet) that tells you the time in words instead of numbers. This one is in Dutch, but they also made it in a few other languages. And yes totally worth it, because it is a real conversation starter and it always makes me happy when I look at it, besides also telling us the right time.

Where are your favorite places to buy or find vintage home decor? In the Netherlands most people sell stuff online via an online marketplace called Marktplaats. I can search for hours and never really mind driving far to pick something up. I do my best searching for items being sold by owners that don’t know their worth or how to sell properly. So for instance I would use other search terms than the brand name, and think about how someone would describe the item or search with spelling errors or just the word “old cabinet” instead of “Vintage/Mid Century/Scandinavian cabinet.” But I also like to thrift a lot in local stores. The Netherlands has a lot of so called ‘kringloop winkels’, I have visited a lot of them. Found some amazing items over the past few years.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? A lot of stuff has been produced over the past few years, so you really don’t have to buy new stuff. Even if you don’t like vintage and want to fill your home with IKEA furniture, you can buy that stuff secondhand. Always find items that look and work great. For example, our American refrigerator from the ’70s still works like a charm AND has a no-frost feature. So my advice is: buy secondhand!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.

This piece is part of Throwback Month, where we’re revisiting vintage styles, homes, and all kinds of groovy, retro home ideas. Boogie on over here to read more!

Adrienne Breaux

House Tour Editor

Adrienne loves architecture, design, cats, science fiction and watching Star Trek. In the past 10 years she’s called home: a van, a former downtown store in small town Texas and a studio apartment rumored to have once been owned by Willie Nelson.


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