As one of the founders of the brilliant Babyccino Kids‘ shopping portal (home to the best children’s boutiques from around the world), Esther van de Paal knows all there is to know about amazing children’s products. From toys to wall-hangings, clothes to homeware, she and fellow co-founders Courtney Adamo and Emilie Walmsley personally try and test everything you see on their gorgeous site. A trained architect, Esther met Courtney and Emilie in London over 9 years ago, and since then has moved back to her native Holland where she lives in the south of Amsterdam with her husband Tamer and 4 children Sara (9), Pim (7), Ava (4), and Casper (1). A fan of drawing, sewing and baking, Esther’s home is as creative as her passions. Here, she tells us all about it…
“Amsterdam is a very child-friendly city, and is also very bike-friendly. It’s easy to get around, and we spend a lot of time outdoors. Our home is definitely very ‘relaxed’, a mix of old and new, with plenty of vintage and street finds, and things we’ve inherited. There are (mid-century) modern pieces as well as antiques, it’s all very eclectic, but somehow it all blends together. We tend to find stuff for our home on the streets and flea-markets, as well as a few shops I like where I buy details like light fixtures and kitchen accessories etc. I also like to browse Etsy.
I studied architecture where I learned about modern architecture, and then we lived in different places in the world, where I learned to appreciate different styles and influences. I guess I’m not afraid to mix architectural styles and movements.”
Our entrance hall is extremely small, and especially in winter, with all of the hats and gloves and scarves and boots, things were crazy here. The amount of time we have spent trying to find matching shoes or gloves! In an effort to organise things, we installed an extra line of hooks above the coat hooks, and gave each child his/her own basket to keep their (winter and sports) accessories. Underneath the coats, on the wall, we installed Ikea shoe cabinets to store their shoes.
I like our kitchen to be functional and cosy. I spend a lot of time there! I love the look of pegboards (inspired by Julia Child’s kitchen) and kitchen utensils on the wall. It’s also very practical as our kitchen is not big and lacks storage. Our house was built in the 1950s and because of it’s large steel windows, we have beautiful natural light throughout the house.
The Living Room
Although our living room is a space that’s filled with finds from the streets and flea markets alike, and it doesn’t have a real design philosophy, I hope it feels comfortable, warm and welcoming to both adults and children. I’ve always made sure not to feel stressed about the pieces here — the covers of the sofas are washable, the table is cheap so I don’t care if it gets dented or drawn upon and it’s big enough to have lots of friends (big and small) over for lunches and dinner. I chose white for the walls here, because this room is often filled with lots of children who bring colour to the space with their toys and artwork. The craft table in the living room is the place where our children craft and is also a great place to store paper and other craft supplies. I designed it, and my dad made it!
Things are a bit crazy and hectic here, and our house is in a constant state of mess, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. There are countless moments during the day where my husband and I look at each other, sharing our happiness and thankfulness for having such a wonderful and big family. Having 4 children is not SO different from having three. Before having 4 kids myself, I always thought families with more than 3 children were insanely big, but now that we have 4 ourselves, it doesn’t feel like a big family at all. It feels really normal!
Ava and Casper’s Room
Ava and Casper’s room interior is just a mix of things we already had. I chose the baby blue colour for the walls when she was born, which works well in connecting everything and it also makes the room feel larger than it really is. The Circus Poster (in the top picture) is a Petit Bateau window display from a few years back. We asked if we could have it at the end of the season.
Sara and Pim’s Room