Today, we are visiting the happy home of Silvia Dekker from Pop-Up Patterns. Silvia has been working as a freelance pattern designer and illustrator for eight years now, designing artwork for children’s products mostly. Her Netherlands home is a colorful cottage, filled with trinkets and creativity. Hope you enjoy the tour…
1. You live in the Netherlands. In what kind of home do you live and with whom?
We live in the beautiful old city centre of Leiden, a small city that was mostly built during the 16th and 17th century. It is close to Amsterdam and looks much like Amsterdam with canals and houseboats. Because it is so small it feels like living in a village. Our semi-detached house was built in the 80's, but it is surrounded by old buildings. It has 4 bedrooms, one of which is my studio. From my studio I look out over the park and a canal. We were so happy when we found this house because it is hard to find a house in the city centre that has a garden. We are also lucky to have a playground as our front garden. There are always other children around to play with for our son. I live here with my partner Alfred and our son Felix. We have two young sacred Birman cats, Boris and Kiki, and two hamsters.
2. You work as an illustrator for companies such as the Dutch department store, Hema, on various projects. What has been your favorite project you have worked on so far in your career and why? I make illustrations and design patterns for many different products, from girl's wear prints to bedding, back to school stationery, postcards and toys. Working for Hema has been a dream come true for me, and I love working on every single project Hema asks me to do. Designing prints and allover patterns for the baby and girls collections, which I do twice a year is always great. Hema's children's wear is very popular in the Netherlands because it is not expensive, well designed (by Hema's fashion designers) and of good quality. That means I very often see my textile designs being worn by children in the street, which is so fabulous! Designing toy collections is also something I love doing because it is so wonderful to see a world of characters and objects you think of become real products for children to play with. And when my bedding designs and back to school stationary are new in stores I often secretly watch people's reactions to it, which is a lot of fun!
3. How do you balance being a mom and a career woman?
What are some of the obstacles you have had to overcome in juggling the two? Before our son Felix was born I was working 5 and sometimes 7 days a week. When he was born I wanted to continue working but also to look after him as much as possible. Fortunately we found a great daycare centre with amazing people that work there. He has a lot of little friends there and really enjoys all the different activities they do like singing and dancing together. He stays there 3 days a week, and when I have a lot of projects I work nights and part of the weekends. When he was a baby it was very difficult for me not to be with him all the time, but it's easier now because I can see that he enjoys being at the daycare centre. At the moment I am very happy with the balance between being a mom and a career woman. Felix will be starting school in a few months time, and then I can go back to working 5 days a week during school hours.
4. Your illustrative works seem to mimic your personal style at home, specifically in your color choices. How has having such a creative career inspired you in decorating your home?
I think it works both ways for me. I am very sensitive to my surroundings, which is why I love to work from home. Here I can surround myself with things that inspire me and remind me of the kind of work I'd like to make as a designer. And because I try to keep up with what's happening in the world of fashion and home by reading a lot of magazines and weblogs I am always inspired to decorate and change things around in our house.
5. Your house has an airy cottage feeling to it. How would you describe your design style?
I guess you could describe it as colorful and eclectic. I try not to think too much about what other people might think of our house. Sometimes I feel our entire house is as colorful as most people only decorate a child's room, but I like it that way! :) I don't like clutter though, and I live by the rule that you should only have things in your house that you absolutely love or that are very useful. (I think it was William Morris who said that) I do not think of toys as clutter, we love toys! Alfred my partner has a large designer toy collection. When Felix was born we only gave him the most beautiful toys we could find, but as all little boys he has developed a taste for big plastic Duplo vehicles! So we now have some of those too. He also loves his wooden train set, which is often spread out on the floor of our living room for days.
6. I love all the toys you have on display, especially Alfred’s vintage Playmobil set. What is the back-story on this?
Felix's dad still has a lot of toys that he used to play with when he was a little boy which were in the attic of the house he grew up in. The Playmobil set is one of them. It's amazing that almost everything is still there, even the tiny accessories. It was given to him for Sinterklaas, a Dutch holiday in December similar to Christmas where children get a lot of presents.
7. I noticed that you use a lot of greens and pinks throughout the rooms of your house. What is favorite color to use and why?
How nice you noticed my pink and green addiction! :) Shades of pink and especially green are often my favorite colors. Most of the rooms in our house are facing north where there is less sunlight; so having bright green and pink rooms helps to add warmth. I can be terribly obsessed by color, and I am always arranging things like books and clothes in rainbow order!
8. What a gorgeous tin collection you have. Where did you find them and what sparked your interest in collecting these?
I've had them for a long time. I found them at flea markets and thrift stores when I was an art student. I love the patterns and colors on them. I don't buy many things for our home, most of the things I own I've had for a long time. I do like to change things around a bit, because somehow when you move things they appear new again.
9. Much of the accessories in your home are your own design, for example the bedding and kitchen ceramics. Would you say that you create illustrations and pattern work for your home first and then for others, or vice versa?
I always try to design things I would like to buy myself, but it's more important that the design fits the briefing. But I have to admit that I often look forward to buying the product as I am designing it!
10. This pinboard is so sweet. What room of the house is this? Did you make it yourself and if so, how?
Thank you! I made it for Felix' room when I was pregnant with him. It is made from thin wood panels cut to size and attached to a wooden frame which I then put wallpaper on. The wallpaper is from the 70's and I bought it a long time ago. I made it so we would have somewhere to put little items and pictures.