Sigrid Kalk and Evert Brouwer have always been about creative courage. Both are TV directors, and they met 11 years ago on a reality-show set that had Dutch contestants mounting festivals in sleepy villages. The couple has since created their own spectacle in a 1920s home in Nederhorst den Berg, south of Amsterdam. At 1,000 square feet, the cottage is small but with a big design sense based on reuse and a love of the “ugly.”
Art pieces like an armchair upholstered in a patchwork of old clothes, vintage gnomes and other fleamarket finds, and heirlooms like Makkumer pottery are mixed in with a few new showpieces, like a pink poodle lamp inspired by the Moooi collection, which Evert bought for Sigrid’s 40th birthday. Wallpaper—“instant art,” Evert calls it—backdrops the collectibles.
The color scheme is “girly, lollipop” pink and “sweet, warm” green. How does the couple find peace amid the cacophony? “I think of the bigger picture,” says Evert, who renovated the house himself, down to the wiring and solar panels. “Sigrid does decor, and it just works. There’s hardly anything she brings home that I disagree with.”
"You don't have to decorate for someone else; do it only for yourself, and make yourself happy."
Plus, the couple—who share their space with Lola, a rare Stabyhoun dog, plus cats, rabbits, chickens, and horses that live in a reclaimed-wood barn—balance the eccentricities with nature. Sunlight pours in their many windows, amplified by white interior paint. Fruit trees and the sunflowers that Sigrid starts indoors dot the yard, illuminated by solar lanterns. Organic vegetables thrive in a greenhouse, and an outdoor living room is tucked beneath the eaves of a guest cottage the duo rents to travelers.
The key is a shared sense of singularity. “You don’t have to decorate for someone else, only for yourselves,” says Evert, “so choose what you like.”