Home & Style Series #2 – Interviews with cool people around the world and how they decorate their house to make it a home.
Calming and light are the first words that come to mind when you step into the Dutch Langenhof family home in Hongqiao. Anna, her husband Jerard and their three children, Moos (10), Puk (9) and Bo (7) and dachshund, Willem, moved from their home country Holland to Shanghai in 2015.
While Anna and her husband had been coming to Shanghai and Beijing with their travel related business since 2004, they thought it was finally time to make more of Shanghai and relocate here fulltime with their children. Anna, who is also a qualified skin consultant with her own business here, knew that because she did a lot of work from home she wanted her house to reflect a sense of tranquility with lots of light to replicate the feeling of their place back in Holland.
“We bought an old barn house in Holland, originally built in 1886, and spent a lot of time renovating it. We kept the exposed old wood beams and created lots of natural light spaces. We miss it so much! Because I love lots of light, I’ve tried really hard to create the same feeling here in this house,” says Langenhof.
Much of the furniture was brought from Holland and Langenhof says that while there are some nice furniture stores here for her style, she still thinks it’s quite hard in Shanghai to get the same value for money for quality designed furniture. “There are more European stores here now but it’s hard to find very well-made furniture that is light in color. Everything is darker in color for the Asian market, which isn’t my style.”
Langenhof believes for her family it’s been very important to decorate in a similar style as back home so the children feel comfortable and less homesick. “It’s important for a family to have a sense of where they come from when they live here so they feel relaxed. Our homes have always been filled with lots of light and a sense of bringing the outdoors in, which is why I loved this place with its little courtyard and open bay windows,” she says.
Langenhof says one of her favorite rooms in the house is the office space along with her bedroom which she’s only recently finished decorating. “I love the office space as it’s a nice place I can lock myself away and get some work done. And the bedroom has just been completed.” Langenhof explains the new bed linen is by a Dutch friend who has just started her business called Tales of Toile; she likes supporting new businesses and also shopping at places like the Hongqiao markets for cute original finds.
As most expats know, it’s quite difficult to replicate the same feeling in your home here in Shanghai, as was created in your previous hometown. But the Langenhof family has done a commendable job so their family could feel right at home here straight away.
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Get The Look
- 100% Linen Pillow Cases, ¥260/2 pillows, WeChat: tales of toile
- Devin Coffee Table, ¥9,250, www.casapagoda.cn
- Dakota Grey Pendant Lamp, ¥1,990,www.indigo-living.cn
- Natural Round Jute Rug, ¥1,799,www.zarahome.com
- Ratchet Kids Lamp, ¥1,799,www.indigo-living.cn
- White Pascal Dining Chair, ¥2,005,www.pr-home.com