Name: Rowena Donker, her husband, their two daughters and two sons
Location: Breda, the Netherlands
Size: 1,238 square feet
Years lived in: 6 months, owned
As the adage says: “If you love your job, you never have to work a day in your life.” This might sound trite, but Rowena feels very fortunate to be able to confirm this. She certainly has worked hard to transform her passion into a career. And one that she can combine with caring for her four kids without having to leave the house!
When Rowena was a little girl her mom would often move around their furniture. This rubbed off on her, because she, too, loved to change the look of her bedroom (alongside other creative pastimes like making blankets for her dolls or pressing flowers). Later on she worked at a jewelry store where she would also decorate the shop windows. After the birth of their first child Rowena opened an online shop, selling bric-a-brac and vintage items. She did this for the better part of 10 years. By then their little family had grown into a merry and busy bunch of four kids, so time was becoming a scarce good. Furthermore, the popularity of bric-a-brac was waning. It was time for something else.
In the summer of 2015 Rowena started posting photos of her home’s interior on Instagram. Because she also liked to write, she started a blog to accompany her Instagram account. “Things just happened so fast,” says Rowena, “it took me fully by surprise.” Within five weeks she was approached by vtwonen (the largest interior magazine in the Netherlands), which resulted in an article a few months later. Since then, Rowena’s home has been featured in various magazines, in print as well as online. Having a large Instagram following has enabled her to collaborate with multiple brands. And more and more she is asked to work on styling projects, and this is what Rowena enjoys most. “When a client tells me their house feels more like a home than ever before, a place where they love to be, it’s really one of the best feelings in the world,” says Rowena with a big smile.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Eclectic mix of different styles.
Inspiration: Pinterest, Instagram, interior magazines, shops and the decor of stylish restaurants/cafés.
Favorite Element: The bay window and the black aluminum partition wall.
Biggest Challenge: We were afraid the aluminum partition wall wouldn’t fit. At delivery it turned out the contractor’s measurements were off (it was a bit too big!), so we nearly had to send it back. In the end we were able to install it in the existing doorway.
What Friends Say: They like it, whether or not it’s their taste.
Biggest Embarrassment: The fence in the backyard.
Proudest DIY: The kitchen renovation.
Biggest Indulgence: The black aluminum partition wall.
Best Advice: I hope it’s not too much of a cliché, but stay true to yourself and your style. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Most changes can be undone without too much hassle, so if you hate the result just start over. Try to refurbish an item you’ve thrifted. It’s fun, cheap and will make your home so much more personal. I guess that’s the crux: let your personality shine through!
White cabinet — thrifted
Black radiator cover — Sentimo
Mirror — thrifted
White hamper with cover — thrifted
Sofa — Sofacompany
Shelf unit — Marktplaats
Vintage compartment cabinet — Marktplaats
Ottoman — Karup
Round rug — Oversized
Brass side table — Westwing
White tree trunk side table on wheels — DIY
Black antique mirror — thrifted
Bay window seat — DIY with IKEA cabinets, custom boards and mattress floor cushions from Xenos
Black wall lamp — Directlampen
Big black chest — Marktplaats
Bottle vase — thrifted
Gray antique cabinet — has been around for 11 years. Sadly, the shop no longer exists.
White wooden blinds — Inside Blinds
Brass ceiling light — Globen Lighting
Graphite gray and yellow velvet dining chairs — Kick Collection
Vintage stool — Marktplaats
Vintage “school chair” — Marktplaats
Shell chair with brass legs — Marktplaats
Madonna wall art — IXXI
White wall cabinet — thrifted
Radiator cover — Sentimo
Curtains — Inside Blinds
Tea set — Yoshiko Home
Large Moroccan tray — thrifted
Black cooktop — Wehkamp
Countertop and backsplash — Betoonlook Nederland (using Coprox)
Wooden squares wall art with check mark symbol — SIBZ
Coffee machine — Nespresso
White tiny wall cabinet with glass doors — Westwing
Black saw table — Marktplaats
White antique cabinet — thrifted
Pendant lamp — Wants&Needs
Black clothing rack — Xenos
Black floor lamp — Directlampen
Nightstand — Kartell
Brass table lamp — Directlampen
Bed linen — H&M Home
Mirror — WestwingNow
Black chair — Marktplaats
Curtains and pleated shades — IKEA
Brigitte Bardot wall art — Saal Digital
Clamp spotlight — Directlampen
Pompom blanket — El Ramla Hamra
Poster Mrs Grey — Holy Mountain Posters
Poster Pony lips — Textposters.com
Rug — Wehkamp
Black metal wall rack — Action
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