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A weary greeting from your very jet-lagged design blogger. I am just back from a quick trip to Belgium and Amsterdam where I was amazed around every corner and canal. International Design can be a vast topic so I simply wanted to share some of my images and ideas that I have captured of my time in amazing Amsterdam. Needless to say, I was lucky with clear weather so I was able to zip around the city with dry feet and a ready camera. Amsterdam is beautiful and if you can avoid being hit by the thousands of bike riders, it’s a glorious place to meander. While I found endless inspiration from the funky little shops and creatively dressed Dutch, I wanted to take real inspiration from the outwardly visible city and the history it imparts.
The flower market is insane. There is an endless row of merchants selling flowers, and countless amounts of flower bulbs. Such spring joy in the middle of March! If you can believe, bunches of 50 tulips were selling for what amounts to $9. Sign me up.
The Dutch were and are masters of living in small spaces. The trick, I think, is to open your house to as much light as possible. The windows in Amsterdam are enormous not only in 17th Century homes, but on the houseboats alike.
As I strolled around the city, I started to realize a common design theme or thread on many of the houses...red. Perhaps it’s because the city’s coat of arms has red in the background? I certainly know it’s not because of the famous Red Light District.
Bold and not ashamed who knows it.
Adorning a rather uneven and ancient home.
Although the red is subtle, it’s even on the clock on top of this church.
What I also love is that even though you are surrounded by so much history, the Dutch are innovative, creative and love modern design. This modern, geometric table lamp speaks to me in that way. The pop of red reminds me of Amsterdam, while the shape and Faux Boise drum shade expresses a need for something fresh and modern.
Traditionalists will love this expressive red ceramic table lamp. Again, the pop of red looks great and evokes Amsterdam’s playful side.
I was amazed by this enormous drum-shaped outdoor light fixture. Thoroughly antique, it’s scale was to be marveled. There is no missing this house in dense fog on a canal.
Here is another great example of how the Dutch marry the old and new. This shop had a covered entrance in which they placed these giant globe-shaped ceiling lights. The lighting was so crisp and modern against the building that was hundreds of years old. I can’t say enough about how much I loved this city and the playful spirit they bring to design. I have learned to not take design so seriously and that there is a big and fabulous world to explore.
Photos courtesy of this blogger
Rob is a Los Angeles-based designer who has a background in art history and was an expert at Sotheby's auction house. Formerly the host of "Inside The Auction" for the Fine Living Network, speaker for The Learning Annex and contributing editor for Valley Magazine and LA Bride Magazine, he has spent years bridging the gap between the world of design and the general public.
His design sensibilities are varied and can work in both traditional and contemporary styles. His interiors have most recently been published in Renovation Style Magazine.