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50 posts categorized "Irene"

Before & After: renovations in our apartment

Bloesem Living | Before & After: Bloesem Apartment Renovations

Welcome to our 8 Rodyk apartment in Singapore.... not that we are actually living there ... no we bought the place a long time ago but it became too small to live with a family of four so we are renting it out at the moment. I thought you might like to see what we have done with the space a couple of years ago to make the space look more modern and functional ...  a little face lift today!

Rik and I wanted to open up the space so we could get more use out of the apartment. The apartment is about 98 square meters, which might sound big ( don't get me wrong i agree), but a big part of it is used for the balcony which is perfect for a warm weather country. Perfect apartment for a young couple with small kids! (Click here to see the kids room in the apartment and how I used vintage pieces to make the kids room feel more cosy)

Bloesem Living | Before & After: Bloesem Apartment Renovations

 This way  to see perhaps the ugliest picture ever posted on Bloesem ..

The first thing we saw when we walked in was floor to ceiling glass panels that closed up the kitchen which is more suitable for hard core cooking which is very common in the Asian culture. The glass panels help keep the smoke and smells of cooking within the kitchen. Since neither Rik nor myself are hard core cooks, we decided there was no need for the glass panels. Removing the panels immediately opened up the flow from the door into the kitchen and then into the rest of the living room.

Bloesem Living | Before & After: Bloesem Apartment Renovations

Bloesem Living | Before & After: Bloesem Apartment Renovations

And this what the open kitchen looks like after our make-over. By putting plywood on the little wall below the window we created a small sitting area. Simply adding some pillows and ta-da ... 

There also used to be a little outside patio which also acted as a laundry room to house the washing machine and dryer. Instead we decided to build plywood cabinets to house all the items we thought were slightly unattractive but still necessary. The plywood cabinets are a recurring feature in the apartment, we used it for storage as well as display in the kitchen and the living room too.

Bloesem Living | Before & After: Bloesem Apartment Renovations  Bloesem Living | Before & After: Bloesem Apartment Renovations

 (probably the ugliest pic I have shared on Bloesem ever!) 

Bloesem Living | Before & After: Bloesem Apartment Renovations

And this is what you see now ... the garbage shoot and laundry machine hidden in this plywood cabinet ... don't you agree that looking at vintage ceramics make much more sense! A very tiny detail which you perhaps can't see very clearly but we used copper rings for the little holes in the doors, this gives it a quirky and nicer effect. 

The kitchen being side by side with the living room makes the apartment a great place for hosting dinners and having guests over. You can still talk and interact while guests sit in the living room.

Bloesem Living | Before & After: Bloesem Apartment Renovations

Bloesem Living | Before & After: Bloesem Apartment Renovations

In the master bedroom, we took out a glass wall that looked directly into the bathroom ... built in a shelf that made the space feel much bigger with the light flowing through the bathroom and into the bedroom. The shelf also gave us extra space for decoration and display. Here I placed some vintage ceramics from the Netherlands. 

Bloesem Living | Before & After: Bloesem Apartment Renovations

Bloesem Living | Before & After: Bloesem Apartment Renovations

Another detail i like is giving the walls a banner from the bottom up to half meter a off white color throughout the enitre house also the bedrooms ... it connects the rooms and gives a good flow!

Bloesem Living | Before & After: Bloesem Apartment Renovations

I hope you liked our little tour today! Over at BloesemKids I'm sharing the boys bedroom from this apartment! Irene xoxo

If you have any questions about the interior styling or decoration just send me an email!

Image credit : Marjon Hoogervorst aka Vorstin

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Turn the page ...


I have waited for this special day ... to announce a big step in my working life ...

Bloesem is going to open a studio in Tiong Bahru. The coolest area in town. I’m going to use the studio to work on the blogs, organize workshops — Bloesem Class -- and organize pop-up shops. 

Why you ask is today 7 november so special ... well, exactly one year ago I said goodbye to my father for the last time. It was on this day last year that I spoke in church how much I loved him and how I would try to carry his energy with me, and listen to all that he had taught me and I believe I have done a good job.

His sudden death has made me stronger, has made me appreciate life even more than I already did. And it was his going away that made it so clear to me that you only have THIS life to live. 

Although we gave him to that special energy that surrounds us and it is no longer possible for me to talk to him, or see or hear him (and believe me that hurts... deep inside, more than I could have ever imagined) I do feel he is with me ... at least his spirit is and that gives me so much strength. 

I know he would have been happy, he would have asked me many wise questions and, for sure, he would have challenged me, but above all he would have been proud that I achieved my main goal, giving Bloesem a brick and mortar place and turning Bloesem Studio into a bridge between East and West. 

My father loved the 'Far East’ as we used to call it. I remember when I was young he went to Asia for many weeks, several times during the year, to build his shoe trading business. Asia truly energized and inspired him. So it is probably in my genes ... but what I like the most about my own business is ‘connecting’ ... making the world smaller, perhaps that is why I love the internet so much! 

I sincerely hope that via the soon to open 'Bloesem Space' many creative people in the world will be able to meet each other, work together, learn together or just have a good time together. 

Of course I will keep you posted about this new adventure ... 

ps. there is one person that I need to thank ... Rik, he has been the most supportive person in the entire world and I love him more than he will ever understand.  The wrapping paper is by Nala design.


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When we are in Amsterdam

Bloesem Living | Amsterdam place

... this is where we stay ... the first 'home' my husband and I bought ... last year our  friends XandL renovated our 100sqm and we are thrilled with the result ... although the place is not done completely, as we still should decorate it a bit better I feel...but already we find it is quite nice 'as is'...I really wanted to share the images I took with one of my favourite blogs ... because XandL deserve the attention!

I have been a long and with that I mean a very long time fan of Remodilista. I truly appreciate how the founding ladies of this blog or should I say online interior design resource still give so much personality to each and every post they share with their huge amount of readers. So when I sent over some pics of our Amsterdam apartment to Sarah Lonsdale I was thrilled she was interested in sharing them at remodilista ... so if you would like to go for a short tour ... head over to Remodilistaand read a bit more about our special place in the Jordaan

Bloesem Living | Amsterdam place

Bloesem Living | Amsterdam place

Bloesem Living | Amsterdam place

Bloesem Living | Amsterdam place

All images by me, Irene Hoofs

.. Amsterdam apartment over at Remodilista
.. X and L

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i DiD iT


{image by Marjon Hoogervorst ... my legs on my couch in our Singapore apartment}

I (finally) did it ... and it feels so goood! Time for Champagne to celebrate a new, refined and fresh look for Bloesem Living. I really hope you like it? I know I do ... not least because I designed, coded (with the exception of one page that is...:)) and built the new templates in typepad completely myself! You know me ... after so many years of reading Bloesem... I am normally not this immodest, certainly not looking to take centre stage... but in this case I am happy to make an exception ... and just wanted to let you know that a non-tech savvy – although now very tech-savvy … - blogging mom pulled this off!

Why you might ask would anyone in her right mind put herself through such a painful process… putting in more than 12 hours per day for long periods of time… well, I certainly did not volunteer for it... and you are right... this whole thing has been quite an ordeal to be honest...

I started out by doing the seemingly sensible thing… after making the design templates in photoshop for the new site, I hired expert tech-builders who, suffice to say, could or would not do what I thought we clearly had agreed … so another lesson learned the hard way I guess…

With hindsight it is difficult to imagine how I could not have seen the signs and perhaps I have been too naïve and certainly to trusting… so here it goes... some after-the-fact very basic wisdom and pointers from me when you are about to spend a bunch of money and time on 3rd party service providers… all of this appeals to common sense but it is easy to throw caution to the wind in the spur of the moment, so “bloggers beware”:

i.) Make sure to vet your service providers. Ask for references, then actually speak to them about their experiences. Yes you want to hear the good and the bad.

ii.) Don’t be tempted to pay 50% or more up front! Even when working with other freelancers who of course may be light on financial resources themselves. I still think anything between 10%-20% down payment is more than enough. Yes, you work on the basis of trust, but there has to be a balance. Make a payment schedule that ties with agreed deliverables. As a client, you have a right to see draft deliverables, within agreed timelines before further payments are made – and stick to the plan.

iii.) Don’t be a dummy! (I behaved like one for some time until I found I wasn’t one!) … there is much more that you can do yourself. Educate yourself even if you think you don’t have time. Yes, the learning curve will be steep but it is worth it. AND it will save you time and money later.

iv.) And, essentially, only hire service providers that are “better” than you… by that I mean, as is the case with hiring employees, there is absolutely no benefit in hiring anyone who pulls you down… the only way is up ... and your service provider should lead the way.

v.) One more thing… being a perfectionist (and I am sure you are too…) building this site myself, I had to accept that some things will not work to perfection, be it the design or tech specs, so a few happy mistakes or errors will remain but that is OK! See it as a sign of 'Handmade' and a sign of any proper DIY project I suppose … :)

Furthermore, I think this episode has for better or for worse hardened me a bit as a “business woman”… and perhaps that is a good thing… after all I do run a business and there is nothing wrong with taking a more business oriented approach to things like this. Freelancers like you and me should protect their businesses… businesses that are so precious to us and that we have nurtured along with hard work for many, many years.

My husband tells me I have now become “anti-fragile”... a term coined he says by this Wall Street guru who wrote a book with the same title... so, what does it mean? In the face of adversity, you are not only robust and survive, you actually thrive...! I kind a like that... I feel a bit anti-fragile today... and I do hope the feeling lasts... at least for the rest of the day…

Tomorrow will be blogging business as usual at Bloesem Living! ~ irene xoxo


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Keep Calm and Carry On


Dear Bloesem readers,

It has been one of those months where the work has just been piling up…backlog, backlog, backlog! I am sure you know the feeling … one step forward and multiple steps back… and on top of that, I am also back to a one-woman operation until I find someone to help out on all sorts of back office stuff and social media … (let me know if you can recommend anyone, preferably in my time zone…)

But I cannot complain, feeling completely re-energized by this wonderful mentioning of  the Bloesem Blog in the UK The Independent newspaper of last weekend… with Bloesem landing in 4th place of their blog awards …! So, thank you Independent editors, UK readers, you my dear readers and my sponsors for your continued support for Bloesem … which was needed more than ever before I can assure you for me to, as the British say,  “keep calm and carry on”…

 But not to despair … one of the reasons I have been in the trenches is because I am about to launch a revamped Bloesem … and I am doing all of the actual tech-work myself!! … talking about a steep learning curve … but looks like after two weeks or so outside my comfort zone … not sure in which zone I was :) but suddenly I saw the light … I think I might actually be able to pull it off!

Anyway, I promise to write a separate post on my “html/css coding travails” next week, sort of a Biz tutorial … my sincere apologies to all the sponsors, new and existing, for the delayed responses to your emails … it is great to see that there is so much interest in Bloesem and I will respond to you, so please bear with me … and while I am getting my admin house in order during the next few days, I will go a little light on the new posts … I hope you understand … Bloesem will be back in full swing in a couple of days … I will see you then! ~xoxo Irene 

ps. image by me of our Amsterdam apartment. 


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More green in the house


{image: Belle Fleur de Lis}

The weekend we came back from our summer in the Netherlands I literally went to the first garden shop I could find here in Singapore ... it was in Amsterdam already that I decided I wanted more plants and greens in our home and balconies. I have bought quite a few but no pictures yet to share with you... what I can do i share you the images that inspired me to have more green in our house ... 









Image credit: 2. Bottles via Leslie Williamson 3. Flower via Irene Hoofs 4. Jurianne's bathroom viaMarjon Hoogervorst 5. White flowers via Daily Tonic 6. Copper pot Irene Hoofs 7. hanging plants viaconvoy 8. Balcony pots via pinterest


Any green inspiration yourself? Love to hear if you have green fingers too :) - irene xoxo


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