‘I love the balance that different design periods can bring to a home,’ says interior stylist Manda Collins. ‘It creates a look that’s really unique and unusual, but very un-Dutch in style.’ The early 20th-century home that Manda bought with her husband Billy back in 2011 reflects her passion for quirky design perfectly; each room houses a mismatch of original vintage finds that’s often described by her Dutch friends as being a little ‘different’.

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With its gabled facade and ornate windows, the building is akin to a Dutch canal house in the countryside, situated in the village of Santpoort-Zuid on the north coast of the Netherlands. Just a short walk from the beach and surrounded by fields and greenery, the space is a rural haven when compared to the family’s previous home in Amsterdam’s bustling centre.

‘I instantly fell in love with it,’ says Manda who, after first attempting to buy the neighbouring house, was thrilled when her three-storey home appeared on the market soon after. ‘It had more original features, and I fell for the tiny windows, open fireplaces and leafy views.


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Although there were no structural issues, the house required a significant update. Wide lacquer wooden flooring now runs throughout, replacing the original boards, and the walls and ceilings are painted with a modern blend of dark slate grey and duck egg blue, with pops of neon pink and lime. ‘There’s no way I could live in a monochrome home,’ laughs Manda. ‘I know people say “blue and green should never be seen” but I think that’s ridiculous – it’s a great combination!’

As soon as the house was theirs, Manda and Billy opted to build an extension at the back to replace the thin, alley kitchen that’s typical in period Dutch homes. In keeping with the original style of the house, the extension is a wide, open-plan space for eating and entertaining. ‘It’s the room that we live in more than anywhere else,’ explains Manda. ‘I cook here for the kids and it’s a lovely, relaxing space.’

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Although modern in design, Manda’s flair for vintage is tangible throughout the kitchen, with shapely art nouveau candlesticks acting as a quirky centrepiece on the breakfast table and original Fibrocit copper chairs for seating, sourced from a hotel being sold in Brussels. Manda is a magpie when it comes to sourcing antiques and spent her youth trawling antiques fairs and shops for unusual trinkets with her mother. ‘Even my student halls of residence were a trove of curiosities bought from flea markets,’ she laughs.


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Now, she has a more daring approach to antiquing – browsing online auction sites, such as eBay and Dutch marketplace Marktplaats for the rare and unique. ‘Even if I haven’t seen something in the flesh, I’m prepared to take the risk and buy it if it feels right,’ Manda explains.

The taxidermy peacock in the dining room is one of her favourite eBay finds. Bought for next to nothing, it sits atop a glossy antique cabinet, also bought online. But the crowning jewel in her hoard of internet treasures is the set of mid-century chairs that bring a touch of old-fashioned glamour to her dining room. Covered in luxe ochre velvet, the flatbase chairs always command attention among Manda’s visitors. ‘Ironically, the most expensive thing about buying them was hiring a van to bring them home!’ she laughs.

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Although Manda’s home divides opinion among some of her more traditional friends, it’s very much her sanctuary. ‘I really believe the look of your home determines how you feel,’ she explains. ‘When it comes to decorating, you’ve just got to do what makes you happy.’

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