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A modern take on traditional style

14 December 2015

When they moved into their derelict 120-year-old house seven years ago, Yvonne and Boris were on a mission. ‘Even though it was a total mess, we fell in love with it as soon as we walked through the front door,’ says Yvonne. ‘We wanted to give the house a subtle mix of modern and vintage Scandinavian style with traditional touches,  creating a natural flow from room to room. But, most of all, we just wanted to give it back its soul.’

Yvonne’s large, white living room has a blend of modern Scandinavian and traditional country style

‘The best thing about this house? It gives me peace. So I’ve tried to create a relaxing and friendly atmosphere’

Yvonne, photographer and author, Belgium

Customised bookshelves completed with unfinished IKEA cupboard doors


‘I love my bookshelves, which we designed over lunch (we always have our best ideas while eating!). Boris built them and I added unfinished IKEA cupboard doors. Then I painted them and added vintage doorknobs.’

Add a leafy plant to a room corner to bring it to life


‘I like to have indoor plants. Not loads, but there’s always room for a bit of nature inside. A plant can really bring a corner to life.’

Soft cushions and textiles create a soothing place to relax


‘It’s important to have somewhere cosy to sit that feels very “me”. Soft textiles and cushions make all the difference to my favourite old wicker chair.’

Add hints of colour to a white kitchen for a pop of personality


‘My kitchen is very functional and organised but has lots of personality too. I spend a lot of time in here so it has to represent who I am, which is why I try to accessorise using my favourite colour palette of pink, red and blue. The kitchen island is somewhere Boris and I can grab a sandwich together or where friends can hang out while I’m preparing food. I love it!’

A neutral colour scheme in the dining room creates a calm atmosphere


‘The dining room is a very friendly room, but also very calm. For me, a neutral colour scheme gives the place a timeless tranquility. And painting each chair a different colour keeps it casual.’

‘We love the practicality IKEA gives us but we always like to add our own creative twist’


A cosy, cottage-style bedroom benefits from luxurious textiles


‘With my white wooden walls, our bedroom is a mix of vintage and modern Scandinavian with hints of what I call “English country cottage”. I love floral cushions and my cosy sheepskin rug is lovely and warm underfoot when I get out of bed in the morning.’

Stack shoes neatly in an organised wardrobe drawer
An organised wardrobe cabinet with TV recess
Display clothes and hats on wall hooks in the bedroom


‘I was going to put all my jumpers in my wardrobe drawers, but it was such a nice surprise to find that my shoes fitted neatly inside them. It was my Cinderella moment. As if they were made especially for me! I like to try new ideas in the bedroom. Just by adding or changing small details every now and again.’

A cream, white and brown themed hallway in Yvonne’s house
A portrait of Yvonne, photographer and author, Belgium

‘Old houses have so much charm but that doesn’t mean I want a house full of fancy antiques. I like a mix of modern and rustic, worn pieces. Not too perfect but still sleek’


Take a look around Yvonne’s house in Lommel

Yvonne’s floorplan


Yvonne and Boris are both very creative so like to put their own twist on things, retaining the house’s strong identity while complementing their personalities too. With clever ideas and a mix of traditional and modern design, they’ve given an old house a new lease of life.

Made by

Photography: Chris Everard
Stylist: Sam Grigg