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Sandra Planken

ELLE Decoration // January 2019


Clashing primary colours, exuberant statement prints and daring Dutch designs come together in this irreverently maximalist Netherlands abode



Styling and production ALICE IDA

‘We knew from the beginning that the building had potential, with lots of character and personality’, says Dutch interior designer Sandra Planken of this 19th-century canal house in Utrecht, which she discovered for one of her clients. A former flute-making factory, it had been redeveloped in the 1980s and featured a stripped-back, neutral scheme: the perfect blank canvas for her avant-garde aesthetic.

‘Everything looked so clean and cold... it was awful,’ remembers Sandra, founder of Amsterdam-based Studio Noun, who was quick to replace and restore many of the period details that had been lost in the previous remodel. The owners gave her complete freedom to decorate the four- storey, five-bedroom home. So, inspired by the maximalist upholstery on a vintage Versace sofa – discovered in the basement soon after the house was purchased – she set to work creating a bright family home with an infectious sense of fun.

With its unexpected palette and inventive mix of furniture, the entrance hall sets the tone for this home: clashing colours and more than a hint of kitsch. In the living room, the well-worn Versace sofa takes pride of place, set against a feature wall that Sandra created by layering many different shades of green paint. The rest of the space is decorated in Farrow & Ball’s ‘Radicchio’, with opulent gold details, velvet upholstery and a bubble-gum-pink rug by Pols Potten crowning the more-is-more look.

Head upstairs, and Sandra’s bold, brave application of colour continues, with the main bedroom painted in striking ‘Stiffkey Blue’, also by Farrow & Ball. Opposite the custom-made bed is a panel of bespoke wallpaper, also a design by Sandra, which features large illustrated hands. ‘Using colour is my comfort zone,’ she affirms, as if there could be any doubt. ‘Living with it can inspire creativity and set your mind free. It’s certainly not something to be afraid of.’