Seeking interior inspiration? We take you inside a joy-filled Amsterdam townhouse by Sally Knibbs

Colourful, chaotic, and calm. Three words not usually used side-by-side, but in ‘Dutch Quarter’ by Sally Knibbs, much like the impeccably realised design, they just work. The lauded interior designer was tasked with imagining an Amsterdam residence for a nomadic young family of four that was timeless, playful, and vibrant, with spaces that would spark joy and inspire curiosity — a brief that the designer met with impressive precision.

Based in Melbourne, Knibbs (of Sally Caroline) took on a mammoth task in Dutch Quarter — turning around an four-storey townhouse in Amsterdam for globe-trotting clients based between America, Amsterdam, and Australia, from her office Down Under. The resulting design is one of incredible character and life, instantly immersing its inhabitants in a world of wonder with a thoughtful layout and harmonious curation of furniture, art, and objets d’art that inspire exploration and spark joy. The home’s incredible history and character is honoured at every turn, accentuated by modern elements that breathe fresh life into each distinct space.

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The home’s entrance acts as a taste of what’s to follow, with striking stained glass windows depicting a series of sunflowers winding skywards sitting high above the front door. Once inside, you’re met with the elegant simplicity of a console crafted by French designer Jean-Baptiste Fastrez, paired with the ‘Secret Mirror’ by the Swedish design studio Front — its peculiar octagonal shape unveiling the room’s hidden charms.

The home sits across multiple levels (as is the case more often than not in Amsterdam), and a clever division has been created between sleeping and living spaces, with the home not only split by levels, but in cleverly considered design details too. In bedrooms, the use of muted colour palettes and sumptuous textiles incites a sense of calm, while more convivial tones and vibrant artwork and accents lighten the mood throughout the home’s communal zones.

One such space is the music room, which sits as a sanctuary for relaxation and unwinding. An impressive record collection acts as a focal point, housed in two vintage bookcases by Vittorio Introini, while a meticulously crafted leather dresser adorned with exquisite details and a vintage Camaleonda sofa transformed with striking Dedar fabric elevate the space. With a harmonious blend of neutral textures, vibrant accents, and finely crafted (and carefully selected) furniture pieces sourced from Europe, the UK, and the US, this room is a stunning representation of its inhabitant’s love for exploration.

The lower level sets the stage perfectly for family moments, with a co-joining, designated movie room and family lounge. A sleek glass screen divides the space, with art by Florentijn de Boer and a Moroso Pipe chair adding an elegant touch to an otherwise peppy and casual space.

On the first level, the master bedroom offers picturesque vistas of Vondelpark. The space boasts a tranquil atmosphere with plush textures and diffused light, while the Cloud chandelier overhead and a bespoke artwork created by Australian artist Stephen John Clark add a hint of modern whimsy. Sitting as an elevated escape, the main bedroom boasts a luxurious adjoining dressing room, complete with a beauty desk and ample space for storage, finished in warm wooden accents and dark, smokey glass, with a stunning, soft pink chaise lounge taking up a coveted spot in the window, overlooking the stunning vista beyond.

The top floor is the twin’s space, with the two bedrooms designed to be similar but distinct (much like their inhabitants), with individual pieces selected to represent their unique personalities. For Knibbs and the team, the incredible, ornate Danish credenzas are a favourite in the home — custom illustrated by UK artist Tess Newall and inspired by the 1940s Bemelmans Bar murals. Each of these exceptional units speak to the twin’s shared sense of adventure with individual motifs unique to each child — one with a love of animals, the other of travel, with details of kites, balloons, and birds uniting the narrative and tying both pieces together. Hanging above each credenza is an original Austrian 1960s illuminated flower mirror by Emil Steynar — casting the rooms in an enchanting glow.

The incredible work of Knibbs and her team isn’t lost on the owners, who said upon its completion, “Walking into our finished home for the first time was the most incredible experience. There are so many unique pieces here – and I love how it has all been put together – it’s calm but colourful, feels a little like a luxury hotel but a lot like home. It feels like us, we all love living here.”

With the transient lives and endless curiosity of the inhabitants honoured at every turn, Dutch Quarter by Sally Knibbs is a true masterclass in modern living — marrying thoughtful design with personal touches to craft a truly timeless home.


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