An illustrator and publisher of ‘Kleursprookjes’ (Colour Fairy Tales) Caroline Ellerbeck lives with Gilles and her three children Luuk (9), Fien (5), Flores (2) on a ground floor apartment (from the nineteen twenties) in Rotterdam West.
Seven years ago Caroline and Gilles bought this ground floor apartment in the New West part of Rotterdam. An apartment in this case doesn't mean one floor ... no there are three floors, and the back is bordering a surprisingly large garden. She has a nice view of her garden from her office located on the ground floor. Also Gilles works from home. He is a freelance writer and marketer, and mostly works in the cultural sector. This setup works well for them right now with three young children. This is why they also do a lot of work in the evenings. Caroline is very happy with the way things are going.
“During the week we prepare fast pasta meals, but in the weekend we like to cook and prepare elaborate meals, such as sushi. We make sure the kids are in bed early and we enjoy a nice meal together. The two of us spent a lot of time in the kitchen together anyway, while our kids play in the living room next door. We use the little window between the kitchen and the living room to keep an eye on them, especially the youngest one, as she still needs supervision. We actually never watch TV. We don’t even own one. We watch some shows via the Internet on our laptops (i.e. ‘Uitzending Gemist’ or ‘YouTube’). Our children are avid online users.”
Caroline: I really love going shopping on my own. Visiting different bookshops, looking for inspiration.
Do you use your designs in your own home?
My personal artwork can be found throughout our home. It is separate from my illustration work. I enjoy painting a lot but I wouldn’t say that it’s my profession.
Gilles and I do our work independently of each other, but the publishing we do jointly. I illustrate and design the ‘Kleursprookjes’ but the strategy and marketing we do together.
What would you take with from your house if you would only be allowed to take 1 thing?
I would prefer to take everything. I can’t choose just one thing.
Was there ever a moment while growing up where you thought: yes, I am going to be a designer?
Drawing I’ve always found the most fun activity. I used to make drawings of figures all day long and I also created my own little books and stories at a very young age. Already in primary school I knew I wanted to study art. At the art academy, I studied Graphic Design. I enjoyed the variety in subjects.
What would you like to change in your home?
I would like to put tiles on the wall in the kitchen but that is really a point of discussion with my husband. I think I will win this one in the end though J. But ok, you can keep redoing things but it is actually also ok the way it is now.
Where do you want to live 10 years from now? What does your dream house look like?
I would like to keep this house and then have another house somewhere outside of the city, in a green area. A little house in the forest or something; it doesn’t have to be very big. Gilles would like to live in nature. The ideal for me is to be able to do both: live in the city as well as outside.
Who are your examples/heroes/favourite designers?
I can admire people for various things. I’ve recently started my own publishing business. I meet all types of entrepreneurial women at the Trade Mart, who have achieved things in their own fields. I find that impressive. I admire their passion and drive.
Name a negative trait of yours that is causing you the most problems
I’m always thinking of new complex goals, it is never finished. Drawing is fun but all the other things around it cost a lot of time and energy and I often forget about that.
What inspires you? Do you perhaps have a favourite blog or website that you like to visit?
I don’t have a favourite blog. I do visit several blogs and always run into new things that way. I find it very inspiring to visit different blogs.