Light and Bright Within an Amsterdam High-Rise

Designer Chantal Dussouchaud got a poor first impression of her new hometown of Amsterdam. OK, make a couple of bad first impressions. After growing up in the sunny South of France and dividing her time between there and bright Los Angeles, she moved into the Netherlands with her husband and their daughter during an unusually icy winter. In addition to the bone-chilling weather, his ground-floor home received virtually no sun, which plunged Dussouchaud to a life of dull darkness. After two months she’d had enough and returned into the USA.

She returned to Amsterdam a couple of months later to try again, and after another false start in an apartment having too many stairs, the family found a sweet spot: an 11th-floor contemporary high-rise with lots of natural lighting — and an elevator. To avoid any semblance of a cold, dark area, Dussouchaud filled the home with hot French country furniture and style draped with crisp white linen. “When folks come and visit, they’re always surprised when they walk in and see a warm and inviting area inside such a contemporary construction,” Dussouchaud says.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Harry Dolman, Chantal Dussouchaud and daughter Sophie
Location: Amsterdam
Size: 180 square meters (roughly 1,937square feet); two bedrooms, 1 bathroom

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Though both of European origin, Dolman and Dussouchaud prefer open living programs more commonly found in the U.S., something they found in their Amsterdam high-rise. “The apartment had everything we were looking for,” Dussouchaud says. “It had lots of natural light, and it’s extremely handy.”

A great deal of the apartment’s furnishings are roadside finds that Dussouchaud had reupholstered. The two regal armchairs in the proper seating area were salvaged from the side of the road in Los Angeles. Though her husband was reluctant to bring them home, Dussouchaud watched the exhausted cloth and had them reupholstered. What was once an antique mannequin now works perfectly as a java stand between the 2 chairs.

Smaller armchair: Ektorp, Ikea

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The living area combines both formal and casual seating and dining places in one big, open setting.

“You can split the space without it appearing untidy,” Dussouchaud says. “I feel a great deal of people just don’t see how a large space may be used for multiple purposes. 1 thing I am good at is dividing a huge space to make it comfortable for everyone.”

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“I really like to be eclectic,” Dussouchaud says. “Not everything in my home needs to be one fashion for me. I really like that my home is a mix of both very old bits and extremely modern light.”

Dussouchaud designed the contemporary swivel-top coffee table, which is made of walnut and MDF slabs. A client gave her the lavish velvet-covered love chair.

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Miniature chairs surround a coffee table, making an perfect spot for kid Sophie to read and work on crafts. Dussouchaud bought the Chinese medicine cupboard from a client whose home she designed in Ojai, California. It was originally green, and she had it stripped and stripped; it’s now one of her favourite pieces.

The couch was yet another rescue operation, while the little wooden basket was found at an antiques shop in Los Angeles.

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Dussouchaud used contemporary lighting and other contemporary accents to help break up the traditional French provincial aesthetic. As a designer, she advises clients to splurge on invoice light instead of furniture. “If you are going to shell out some thing, spend it on that one lamp that will make the home look magnificent,” she says.

Rug: Gåser, Ikea; pendant lamp: Alberto Meda and Paolo Rizzatto

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This antique ladder, originally painted blue, was rescued from the side of the road in Amsterdam. The artwork over the console is by artist and fashion designer friend Valerj Pobega. “I just love having anything that is completely different,” Dussouchaud says. “I am not exactly Peggy Guggenheim, but I really do love to support artists who are enthusiastic and believe in their work.”

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“When I design a home, I want it to be comfortable for everyone, such as dogs, cats and kids,” Dussouchaud says. “While we’ve got a few fantastic bits, they’re all hard wearing and, though sentimental, they are not particularly delicate”

Lots of the pieces are handed down from Dussouchaud’s household, like the dining table, made by her carpenter grandfather, as well as the sideboard, which was his workbench. The table once belonged in her grandparents’ kitchen in southwest France.

Pendant: Tolomeo, Artemide

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Dussouchaud found this pair of school desks at an antiques shop. The little corner writing desk belonged to her mother, who used it if she was only 7 years old.

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The open layout has allowed for a casual dining area, which is where Dussouchaud finds herself working most days. Weathered antique luggage and an old chess set adorn the upper shelf of the bookcase.

Bookcase: Expedit, Ikea; table: Bjursta, Ikea

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Dussouchaud, shown here, uses the casual dining area adjacent to the kitchen to craft linen bags stuffed with lavender harvested from a neighboring land close to the family’s vacation home in the South of France.

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Dussouchaud utilizes a stencil to apply quotes and words to every scented bag.

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Every inch of the apartment benefits from Dussouchaud’s creative and personal touches, including the hallway. An old barn door closed from the shed in the couple’s Beverly Hills home got a new lease on life with the addition of chalkboard panels.

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A classic dish rack (known in French as a vaisselier) in the entryway displays a collection of meaningful artwork collected from the couple through the years.

Coatrack: City Coat Rack, Radius Design

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The couple’s most important bedroom has space for a home office. Dussouchaud found this traditional seat on the side of the road and had it reupholstered. “I just love finding treasures around the street,” she says. The chair’s curved silhouette offers great contrast with the remainder of the area’s more contemporary lines. Dussouchaud used the mannequin whilst working as a fashion designer in New York years ago.

Shelving: Expedit, Ikea

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The main bedroom includes a contemporary four-poster bed with white linens for a new vibe. “I am quite attracted to natural items like wood and linen,” Dussouchaud says.

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Just next door is 5-year-old Sophie’s bedroom.

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A muted palette makes for a relaxing atmosphere for your little woman.

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She loves a large bed and contains views of the neighboring high-rises.

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Dussouchaud created this fixture to assist Sophie learn the alphabet. “Projects like this are so simple to create, and they include a personal touch to your child’s room,” she says. “It doesn’t take much to create something meaningful to your kid”

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Sliding glass doors lead to Sophie’s playroom.

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The bright space has a crafting table and a daybed.

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Eventually at home in Amsterdam, Dussouchaud enjoys the comfort, warmth, practicality and light of her home.

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