Touring a Beautifully Remodeled 19th-Century Dutch Mansion

Touring a Beautifully Remodeled 19th-Century Dutch Mansion

In 2015, after living in Australia for quite some time, Marieke, her Australian husband, and two children, had an opportunity to move back to the Netherlands where she most of her Dutch family lived. It was also a chance for her children to learn about their Dutch culture.


When it was time to purchase their new home, Marieke knew she wanted it to have an eye-catching vintage aesthetic. They found what they were looking for in a historic 150-year-old mansion on the banks of the Haarlem canal, fitted with beautiful high ornate ceilings, original tiles, and stain glass windows. With those vintage characteristics, she also implemented Australian home designs that she grew to love including a mudroom and walk-in closets.


After renovating almost every room, the finished product is a beautifully renovated home with a combination of vintage and new interior design, all featured on Marieke's interior design Instagram account @whisperingbold, which has amassed thousands of followers from around the world.


We got a chance to speak with Marieke, whose background is in marketing and interior design, to talk about her home, inspiration, and design tips.

Name: Marieke @whisperingbold
Location: Haarlem, The Netherlands

Can you give us a history of your beautiful home? 

After living in Australia, we ended up in Haarlem for my husband's work. Initially, we rented, but soon we decided we wanted to buy a character home that Haarlem is known for. We have been living here for three years now. It's a mansion on the canals of Haarlem, built in the 1890s. We pretty much renovated every single area in our home and I am really happy with how it turned out. It is wonderful to be designing from scratch while keeping and honoring the historical features of the home.


An interesting fact, when we started our renovations and building our kitchen extension, my neighbor told me that there used to be an extension before the second world war. The husband of the family went to war. During the winter, the wife and baby who were left behind were starving and cold but had no access to resources. So they had no choice but to use the extension, demolish it, and burn it down to keep themselves warm.

What is your favorite room in your home and why?

My favorite spot in the house is my blue couch in front of my brick wall. It gets a lot of light and sun and is very private — I just love it. A funny coincidence is the name of my statement blue velvet couch. I'd been looking everywhere to find a couch I'd like, only to find the perfect one about 300m from my house. I sat on it, it was so comfy, then I checked the label and it turned out the name of this couch was 'Marieke'. It was a sign and I instantly bought it.


What is the one piece of furniture or decor in your house that always brings a smile to your face? And why?

I love vintage. I have many second-hand items. I love pieces with a story. I have many vintage rugs, an old workbench, family heirlooms, etc. I also like to use second-hand materials to build new things. For example, the brick wall in our new extension is made from salvaged brick. I have the old antique phone that belonged to my grandmother. I vividly remember using it as a little girl. My 'oma' was my favorite person on earth and the phone makes me smile every time I see it.


How would you describe your interior decor style and what inspires it?

I don't think I want to label my style! I think it's important you do what you love, and live the way you love. The moment you only follow trends or copy others, it's no longer you, and it will never feel like a home. If I had to name my style I'd call it industrial chic vintage, perhaps with an urban jungle touch. I love plants and think they add life to a home. They fit anywhere and always look good.


I think colors give character to your home and add warmth. I wanted to use traditional colors, in keeping with the home, yet with a modern feel. The color scheme for the entire house is thought through, so it did not end up being a circus.


I get my inspiration from the world around me, my travels, my family, and of course Instagram. But I rarely follow trends, I rather set them. I prefer to do what I like, rather than what other people like.

Any advice for creating a home you love?

Follow your own plan and stick to it. Don't get over-excited and buy everything you see; your home will end up looking like a dog's breakfast. Do what you love and it will show. If you have a certain look in mind, there is always a way to achieve it, no matter the budget. Not always things have to be new to make an impact, on the contrary. Often you can make a big difference simply by moving items you already have. And add some color. Paint is a cheap but very effective way to make an instant change.


What was the biggest challenge when designing your home?

Working around the original structure and dealing with the surprises you find in century-old walls.


What is your Tivoli Audio product of choice and how does it fit in your home decor and lifestyle?

I am lucky enough to own two Tivoli Audio radios: the Model One BT and the Model One Digital. I love them both. As much I truly appreciate the smart features of the digital version, I am also drawn to the simplicity of the Model One BT. It plays radio and it connects to my phone via Bluetooth. 


What can we expect to hear playing in your home?

I am a total sucker for 90s pop music! It brings back great memories and makes me very happy.


You can get to know more about Marieke, her interior design insights, styling, and marketing services on her website:
And don't forget to follower her beautifully curated Instagram account for decor inspiration @whisperingbold!



Model One BT Model One Digital Gen 2
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