Irene Hoofs of Bloesem
We’re excited to be featuring Holly Becker of Decor8 and Irene Hoofs of Bloesem Blog and Bloesem Kids in our newest catalog! We spoke with Irene about her love of design and the impact of her global lifestyle on her own design aesthetic and Bloesem…
How would you describe the Bloesem style? How has your style evolved?
Bloesem style is very reflective of my own personal style and taste. And thus my development over the years as a blogger and stylist is very much visible in how content on Bloesem has evolved. I think it is fair to say that Bloesem started, rather literally, as a Dutch design blog, written in Dutch. Gradually, I started to include the entire Nordic region which has such a rich design history and since I moved to Asia I have taken a much more global perspective on design — there are so many amazing artists in this part of the world, especially in places such as Singapore and Australia. But I think in essence, while influenced by my travels around the globe, Bloesem is still characterized by her Dutch roots (and so am I) — which means sleek, simple and perhaps sober designs, but with strong color palettes and hints of a rich cultural heritage. I’d like to think that, like so many Dutch designers, Bloesem is also a bit forward-looking and sometimes not easy to understand, which I like!
How has your ex-pat status changed/influenced your outlook on decorating?
We have not lived in our “own home” for almost a decade — moving around means we had to rent our houses in places such as Toronto, Kuala Lumpur and soon Singapore. There are pros and cons to this — it is very exciting to start decorating a new place in new surroundings. But at the same time you are confronted with the existing interior design of a rental house that may not be your style and taste at all! So over the years I have become quite creative in working around what — at least — in my eyes were ‘fatal design flaws’ in our rental homes. This has taught me that relatively minor interior design ‘interventions’ — such as placing a few iconic or unusual items in a room that attract attention (and distract from less attractive part of a room) is a very effective way of decorating. The same is true for selectively using strong colors on walls or floors.
What are your favorite style influences from Southeast Asia and your current home in Malaysia?
Malaysia is home to some of the most amazing crafters in this region. Especially, all sorts of rattan/bamboo design items I have grown very fond of since moving here. And they combine great with more contemporary Scandinavian-like designs — I love the contrasts between use of colors and materials. I try to experiment with both throughout my home.
The tools used for blogging have changed a lot in 6 years — cameras are much better and the influence of social sites like Pinterest and Facebook have radically changed the online landscape — what are some of your favorite new changes in the blogosphere and what tools do you find the most helpful or most influential in changing how you work?
Yes I agree and I am very happy with the improved cameras! In fact I have trained myself over the last couple of years and am trying to bring more of my own photography to my blogs. Social media platforms like Pinterest and Facebook are somewhat of a necessity, you have to keep up with them, but call me old-fashioned I still prefer a good old blog over any of these platforms. The personal style that shines through in a blog and the time and effort spent by a good blogger means so much more to me than these quick and hasty platforms. Don’t get me wrong — Twitter can be very helpful from time to time, finding information quickly or to connect to more people.
You recently were hired as a stylist — is the new evolution of Bloesem? Do you hope to do more styling? What do you love about it? What is the hardest part?
Absolutely! This is a big dream of mine — to be able to work on actual homes and write about them on Bloesem. The best of both worlds. Of course, styling a real home can be very intimidating — creating a seamless world of design is much more difficult in the physical world than it is in the blogosphere! And that is also what I love about it: Creating a home where you feel happy and at ease is very important to all of us. As a stylist you play a crucial part in creating that environment which I find very rewarding.
What do you want to attempt next? Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do but continue to put off?
In Singapore I intend to open my own Bloesem ‘studio’ — a place where I will work on my Bloesem blogs but also where I would like to organize craft courses and sell my own designs. So I have started to look for an old shop house where I hope the ‘new’ Bloesem will land next…