h1A site is interesting to me when I can see the designer, artist or photographer behind the images; they give so much extra color and meaning to the images.
Irene Hoofs, BloesemLiving
A not-so-well-kept secret among among design lovers and interiors enthusiasts, BloesemLiving is all the things you'd expect from a design site and many things you would not. It's beautiful, warm – and above all accessible to designers and non-designers alike. Written and curated by a graphic designer and mom of two, Irene Hoofs, BloesemLiving showcases beautiful things from around the globe with a special appreciation for vintage and handmade items, as well as timeless high-end collectibles.
Born in Amsterdam, Irene roamed the globe for a few years with stopovers in London, New York and Toronto. A graphic designer, she sold her work through Barneys New York and Selfridges&Co. She and her husband and two young sons settled down in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where she started her blog in 2006. As Tina Roth Eisenberg of Swiss-Miss puts it when she picked Irene for the SAY 100 Design channel: "Every time I stop by her blog, I get lost in the beautiful imagery and am inspired to rearrange and declutter my home."
We checked in with Irene to ask her what her favorite home design trends are right now, what's on her most coveted list – and where design and motherhood intersect for her.
Your focus on Bloesem Living is interior design and home accessories. What are some of your favorite home design trends at the moment? I think that coming out of a period where fluorescent colors seem to have been dominant, we will start seeing a rebirth of what I would like to call colors from the Dutch Renaissance. Variations of themes of Indigo blue, red and yellow. Imagine yourself sitting at your kitchen table decorated with stylish ceramics, silver or tin elements that you might see in a Vermeer-painting. Creating a very homely and comforting environment. I admit, it is unlikely that you will be able to retrieve Renaissance artifacts from the attic, but think of the bendable tin ornaments and trays that your grandmother used to collect and mix them with contemporary decorative items, perhaps even keep some of the more fluorescent ones.
Any home accessories you're particular obsessed with right now? I have this crazy addiction to vintage tableware from Scandinavia. Simply cannot help myself. Every time I go back home to visit family or friends in the Netherlands I rush off to thrift stores to find new ones. My last visit was very fruitful again. A complete dining set from Arabia, Blue Rose pattern... pretty rare I believe. I also found a coffee set by Ulla Procope for Arabia. And I love vintage lamps.
You're from Amsterdam and currently live in Kuala Lumpur. Who are some of your favorite Dutch designers? Kiki van Eijck, Hella Jongerius, Dick van Hoff, Scholten & Baijings, Mae Engelgear and Pieke Bergmans. Unfortunately not all of their work I can afford, but I do believe that once in a while you have to treat yourself and gradually, over time, surround yourself with your favorite designer pieces – they are timeless and works of art. At least that is what I sometimes daydream about – it all goes back to creating your own personal museum I think.
You also run B:Kids. What are some of your personal favorite kid finds right now? Corby tindersticks, new nesting dolls by Ingela Arrhenius at Huset, Sian Zeng wallpaper and shoes by Jonah and the Girl.
Last year you teamed up with Vivien Fayet to create a line of kids' necklaces. What else would you like to create? Yes, that was a wonderful project especially doing it together with my dear friend Vivien. Cooking up ideas, designs and finding the materials becomes an even more rewarding experience when you can share it with a friend. I strongly believed in the “neon and fluo” trend about two years ago and thought it would be fun to create happy necklaces for girls and, perhaps somewhat unusual, for boys because I felt that boys would find these fluorescent colors cool too. Vivien is moving back to Paris so we decided to put the project on ice for a while until she settles into her new hometown, but I would certainly not rule out us joining forces again in the future!
In the meantime I have designed a new collection which I will launch within the next few weeks.
Where do design and motherhood intersect for you? I think how they intersect is that everything is new, naive, young and it is all about the beginnings of something beautiful. The way they teach me to keep a flexible attitude and have an open mind; their energy makes me want to keep up with them. And, as far as my kids go, being a mom who knows a thing or two about what is happening in the world of design but also in this new world of gadgets, social media and the Internet.
You have a great eye for design - what are some of your favorite design blogs? When I started Bloesem a little over 5 years ago I was very intrigued by what were then and still are the 'big' blogs, such Decor8, Design*Sponge, Poppytalk, sfgirlbybay and Oh Joy! Nowadays I love visiting blogs like A Merry Mishap, April and May, Weekday Carnival, &Pompoon, Anthology and so many more…
While I do admire the beautiful collages the people behind sites such as Tumblr curate, I like to read about the context and background of the images, where they were found and why they are shown. A site is interesting to me personally when I can see the designer, artist or photographer behind the images; they give so much extra color and meaning to the images.
What's something your readers would be surprised to learn about you? Hahahaha... perhaps that I am dyslexic.Reading and writing is not something that comes natural to me and often I find it difficult to translate my ideas into words. Also, I don't like being the centre of attention; you will never see me speaking in public. Yes, you might think that I am in the wrong profession, but I just love to hide behind my screen… : )