October 21, 2019

A music experience at the Harman Kardon Suites | Citation series

There are a few things that help me through the home makeover I started some months ago: the newly painted walls that are almost finished, the actual kitchen that is starting to take shape, a few styled corners, candles, a nice house perfume... and music!

A few weeks ago I became the proud owner of a next generation stereo smart speaker. It has a room-filling stereo sound and a rich bass, and I am totally honest with you when I tell you it has literally managed to bring music back in to my daily life. I have always loved listening to music, but being able to play my Spotify list on the Harman Kardon Citation 300 has even made me sing along to all of my favourite songs again! 

I teamed up with Harman Kardon on a recent trip to Berlin. During this trip, not only did I get to learn more about their new series, but I also got to experience their brand, and its new Citation series. Together with experts, partners and other online creatives from all over the world, we had an amazing 24 hour experience in Berlin at the Harman Kardon Suites. Imagine being in the middle of a renovation, and being invited by Harmon Kardon to step out of your messy home, to come stay in a beautiful hotel, engage with their beautiful sound and be pampered from start to finish!

The Symphony for the Senses - an evening that explored the interconnectedness of sound, smell, taste, touch and color - took place at the beautiful Hotel Stue in Berlin. It already started in the car on the way to the hotel, with music and chocolate. Using sound as its inspiration, different live performances, in collaboration with Harman Kardon Citation, awaited us.

After check-in there was time to view the spacious room, overlooking a green park, and a nice surprise awaited us in the room: A portable Esquire Mini speaker, perfect for bringing with me on my next travels. The evening started with welcome drinks, followed by the different experiences and a dinner by the well known Catalan Michelin star chef Paco Pérez.

The ambiance was so nice and I was happy to see some familiar faces, and new faces. A great evening including a concert by Andra Day and different DJ's. Loving a bit of drama and blessed with a strong sense of imagination, I loved the evening from start to finish! The combination of movement, music and the various food experiences in the different suites was very special.

Symphony of the Senses
The Harman Kardon Suites event was a multi-sensory brand experience that showcased the essence of Harman Kardon through our five human senses: taste, touch, sight, smell, and sound. The design of the sessions was inspired by the Chinese essential elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water and a perfect combination of music, drinks and food: all special and delicious. To give you a small impression, more pictures of the event and the brand can be found on my Harman Kardon Pinterest board, and my Instagram stories.

The Yellow Suite

In small groups we were brought upstairs where we got to experience the Harman Kardon audio in several suites, through different performances. Against a backdrop of a Bedouin tent, we heard an a-capella welcome song, lead by awarded singer Angelica Monje Torrez. For this performance, the group combined poly-harmonic structures with traditional folk songs.

The Black Suite
From The Yellow Suite we were brought to the Black Suite. While a beautiful visual image of a cloudy sky and moon was shown, Maarten Vos combined traditional cello sounds with electronic techniques. All this while sipping smoked tea and tasting 36 month old balsamic with parmesan.

Experiencing all the different drinks and tastes was definitely something I loved. The smoked tea and parmesan especially, is a combination to remember and try out at home. I’m sure you agree that somehow, food can be a perfect match with the interior and scene.

The pink suite 
A graceful ballet by The Three Graces in a pink room. Fresh-cut pink roses on the bed, this was a beautiful room, filled with music and moves accomplished by Rose Lemonade, with shallot creamed sandwiches.

The blue suite
The Blue Suite is where we started our experience: The cutest small glasses ever, filled with violet champagne. Comfortable couches, shiny tables and a classical piano piece by Helena Basilova.

Fire in the Red room 
A spectacular last performance in the Red Room! A runway was created for Amber Noir & The House of Vineyard. A platform for the Dutch Ballroom scene to spread empowerment and fearlessness among those who don't meet society's expectations of beauty, gender and sexual expression. Accomplished by spicy drinks and bites!

In each suite we were surrounded by the Harman Kardon Citation speakers. Make sure you have a look at my Instagram stories where I uploaded some videos of the performances to get an even better impression!

Harman Kardon - Citation series
Back home my kitchen makeover is in full swing! I am looking back at a wonderful trip, enjoying the Harman Kardon Citation 300 that is connected to Google Assistant, which I am currently exploring on its full functions.

The set-up was really easy and, since I always keep an eye on the aesthetic view of everything that comes into my home, I'd say the speaker is also aesthetically pleasing: Premium blended wool made by Kvadrat - dirt repellent, flame retardant.

For over 65 years for Harman Kardon has been dedicated to delivering luxurious audio experiences that allow us to feel the music and immerse them in the moment. I remember our first computer speaker set being by Harman Kardon! Harman Kardon Citation is the ultimate expression and is the worlds first truly premium product of its kind. With different speakers from the small Citation ONE to a bar for our television to complete Harman Kardon Citation towers. Harman Kardon Citation brings a multi-room sound experience in our home by adding more powerful speakers, allowing us to play the same music or different music in different rooms for superior multi-room sound experience.

Find all specifications that makes the Harman Kardon Citation series unique here in English and in Dutch here.

This blogpost is written in collaboration with Harman Kardon  
Pictures ©vosgesparis except for picture 3/7/9/10 by Harman Kardon
October 18, 2019

Five characteristics of a minimalist kitchen

The other week I received a request to team up with Hausera who wanted to share their ideas on a minimal approach in the kitchen with me. We all know Minimalism is about keeping things simple and I am a huge fan of bringing only the things necessary into my home and this is no difference for the kitchen. No wonder I totally agree with the idea of Hausera to only deposit in your kitchen the items you need to cook and serve the food, but nothing more! In this guest post I would love to share some more ideas and five characteristics you should use to build a minimalist kitchen according to Hausera.

The minimalist design encourages people to live with less so it’s more a lifestyle than a
decorative style. This movement encourages people to let go of the importance of things.
Clutter weighs down homeowners, and minimalism brings a diverge from it. The fewer things
are in a room, the more comfortable it looks.

The kitchen is the room most homeowners decorate according to the minimalist trend. Why?
Kitchens are usually cluttered because of the multitude of utensils used to cook. The minimalist
design has organisational benefits because it features clean and sleek lines. And what’s best, it
can be used in both small and big spaces.

The beauty lays in the materials used
Natural materials are beautiful, and minimalism celebrates their refinement. When designing a
kitchen, finding the right surfaces and textures is crucial for the final result. Materials like
concrete or wood are more charming than any other surface used in construction. They are
standalone beauties so they need no other accessory to enhance their appeal.

The focal point of the kitchen
Don’t have the misconception, the minimalist style doesn’t promote focal points. A single item,
hue or finish can bring a personal touch to the kitchen. Stick to a single focal point, like the
kitchen island, a coloured wall or a textured shelf. A great way to create a focal point is to
install a prominent light fitting over the kitchen island.

Wesley Ward, Head of Marketing at Hausera told us that based on their 2019 consumer survey,
"The top three ideal styles for kitchens and bathrooms are: Modern (with a 51% majority vote),
Contemporary, and Traditional." The minimalist style is part modern part contemporary, so
homeowners highly use it.

No clutter
The basic principle of minimalism is to remove clutter. Install smart storage solutions for all the
equipment and utensils used to prepare food. It’s essential to keep everything hidden from
sight to create a clean look. If you don’t have enough kitchen storage to keep things out of
sight, try to limit the number of items you display on the countertop and shelves.

Sharp lines
There’s no fuss around the minimalist style. You need to work with clean and sharp lines to
keep everything airy. Sharp corners are not comfortable in a living room, but they give a good
feeling in the kitchen. Sharp corners, concealed handles and singes and square edges, all
strengthen the idea of airy and cleanliness. The minimalist trend is famous for featuring
geometrical shapes, simple lines and rough materials. To achieve this look, you should play with
finishes, textures and colours. Solid forms are a major characteristic of minimalism, decide what
shapes better fit your kitchen.

Stay simple
Minimalism is all about keeping things simple. Deposit in your kitchen only the items you need
to cook and serve the food, but nothing more. No decorations, no unnecessary stuff. It’s
challenging to stop yourself from bringing extra things in the kitchen to boost its style. But in
minimalism, the beauty of the space stays in the materials and lines you choose for the cabinets
and countertops. The colour palette boosts the artistry of the space in an elegant but modest

Pictures courtesy Banda Property with thanks
October 16, 2019

Kinuta Terrace by Norm Architects and Keiji Ashizawa Design

Emerged from shared design values, the collaboration between Tokyo-native design studio, Keiji Ashizawa and Copenhagen-based Norm Architects takes its root in mutual admiration and a love for material richness and timeless appeal evident in both design traditions.

In the spring of 2018, Ashizawa on boarded Norm Architects to collaborate on the renovation of two apartments in the Kinuta Terrace apartments complex comprising a total of 36 units. Kinuta Terrace was originally built back in the 1980s and features an integrated courtyard that gives residents the advantages of a single-family home.

The two design studios partnered with Japan’s leading manufacturer of wooden furniture, Karimoku, on carrying out the renovation, during which the idea of a furniture series arose. Combining a balanced industrial and natural look and feel, each space has been designed to let air and light pass through, creating a natural flow throughout the apartment.

Nature feels integrated into the apartment from most rooms, looking out into the courtyard, and you can’t quite tell you’re in a city as immense as Tokyo. text and pictures courtesy Norm Architects

October 14, 2019

Headboard tapestry & wall hangings by Alexandra Kohl

As a child I grew up in the South of Amsterdam, with the famous Vondelpark around the corner and On the edge of the neighborhood the Amsterdam forest. I used to go horse riding every week, and while most kids of my age went to a manège where they learned how to ride properly, how to add their helmets and their special boots, I went to a stable in the forest near my home and learned to ride a huge black horse wearing my willies and no helmet.

I loved our trips in the wood and although I haven't ride a horse for decades my love for horses never faded, no wonder I love the work of textile designer Alexandra Kohl. I previously wrote about a daybed she collaborated on with furniture designer J.M. Szymanski: A daybed different from all other I recently came across her work again through Instagram where I saw her woven pieces.

The material she uses for her wall hangings, head boards, pillows and other pieces are cotton and horse hair. Many of her pieces use hair from the horses who are rescued and rehabilitated by Our Farm in North Salem, NY. She has created a number of extraordinary custom textile works for avid riders with hair from their horses’ manes or tails. I totally love the different colours in her work and love to give you a small impression of these one of a kind creations on the blog today. 

headboard tapestry and close ups above, below a close up and different wall hangings For inquiries and more of her work lease visit Alexandra Kohl.

pictures courtesy Alexandra Kohl
October 10, 2019

A private residence north of Copenhagen by Norm Architects

Norm Architects have completed the interior refurbishment of Sandbjerg Residence, a charming country house north of Copenhagen. The house is located in the idyllic landscape of Northern Zealand, Denmark. Surrounded by meadows and forests, the house sits intimately secluded in a nook of trees that open up to a park-like garden that brings light and air to the residence. 

The exterior of the house is a tribute to traditional Danish country houses, featuring a matte-rendered chalky taupe coloured façade, paned windows, thatched roof and granite stone settings. Inspired by the family’s lifestyle and frequent traveling, the home also contains elements characteristic of hospitality interiors.

The overall mood and colour scheme of the exterior is translated into the interior with a raw, tactile material palette of wood, stone, natural fibre textiles and leathers dominating the open space plan of the house, combining farmhouse appeal, exclusive refinement and elegant, sculptural features. Resulting in warm, balanced spaces with roughly textured surfaces, thoughtfully in-built and bespoke details.

The bench designed for the main entrance of the house is made from sawn smoked oak and Royal Nubuk Leather from Sørensen Leather... I could bring this straight into my own home as it has this Japanese look and feel and beautiful sawn smoked oak surface.

In the bedroom section of the house, all walls are juxtaposed between lightly toned, bone-coloured walls and white oak. Some of the oak-panelled walls contain hidden or open storage as well as niches next to the bed and in the bathroom, serving as storage compartments or displays. In the master bedroom, large oak doors similar to those of the bedroom cabinets and wood panelled walls open up to the bathroom, featuring bespoke cabinets and basins, as well as a walk-in closet, elegantly resembling the layout of a hotel suite.

Photography: Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen