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Interview - Bonnie Barlag


Every month an interview with interior design enthusiasts, from interior stylists to interior photographers. This time: Lotte Wullems, owner of Stories & Styles, interior stylist and photo stylist.

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I am Bonnie Barlag, owner of studio Bonnie Barlag, interior design + styling. Together with my team, I work from Amsterdam on a variety of projects. We focus on design and styling of homes, hospitality and retail. We do this from conception to realization of the project. We regularly deliver turnkey, in which we take care of the whole proces so the client has nothing to worry about. But of course there are also many clients who are closely involved in the process.

Together with my boyfriend and one-year-old daughter, I live in a lovely house in Amsterdam - next to the Amstel River and close to the Oosterpark. So we walk a lot in the neighborhood and through the city. I love wine, good food, an evening in the pub. I prefer to go on a city trip at least twice a year. A weekend dedicated to seeing beautiful things. Special stores, restaurants and hotels - taking lots of pictures - enjoying good food and wine. Antwerp is a favorite. You're there in no time and yet you feel like you're really out and about. Furthermore, I could very well fill my days with photography and painting, but lack of time is a game breaker.


How did your love of design come about? - As a child, my mother made plans with an architect for the construction of a new house to be built. The architect involved me in the design process, took my (children's) opinion seriously and incorporated it into the designs. This sparked my interest in (interior) architecture.

How would you describe your style?
- Timeless and minimalist with graphic statements. The base is neutral, clean but warm. Different patterns, bright colors and tactile textures provide the graphic statements. Think a brightly colored rug, art with a present pattern or a customized logo that recurs in the interior.

What piece of furniture or accessory do you think should not be missing from a good design?
- Framed art framed by a framer whose colors and textures connect the interior. Although art is a personal purchase and thus can be quite a search to find that one piece.


When is an interior design successful for you? And how do you proceed? - In the end, it is always when the client is satisfied. Very cliche, but we don't design for ourselves. Of course I have a clear style that is always reflected in the design, but the client has to be 100% behind it. Especially if it's a home, the client shouldn't be annoyed by the color of the curtains every day if that's the first thing he sees when he opens his eyes.

Do you have a preference for vintage or new furniture?
- No, it really depends on the angle of the project. Of course it's cool to find a unique vintage designer piece of furniture that enhances the design, but it's not a goal in itself. What I do find very special is when clients bring in their own vintage pieces that are allowed to play a prominent role, a starting point in the design. That makes it really personal. For example, I recently incorporated two antique cabinets into a design, heirlooms from the client. It was a challenge, but the result was worth it.

What is your biggest dream in terms of work?
- Getting carte blanche during a hospitality project. To create, together with the team, something that radiates the identity of the client, that it is right down to the smallest detail. The visitor has to feel it without seeing it, then it is successful.


What designer(s) do you get inspired by? - It is often parts from designers' designs that inspire me; the designer's style does not have to match my own. Nor are they all interior designers. Here are a few design accounts that inspire me, for different reasons- Vincent van Duysen (a.o. August Antwerp, Valke Vleug)- Graanmarkt 13- Studio Ashby- Sarah Nedovic Gaunt- Framework Studio- Osaka Antwerp.

What do you expect to see a lot of next season?
- Good question, I actually have no idea. I'm not very well informed about the latest trends and should visit more fairs. How I do it now: I try to listen to the story of the client and take this story as a starting point for the design.

Do you have any styling tips?
- Start over and try out. Get the space you want to style completely empty, put everything you want to use (again) on the table and start building. Try, look and try something else if it's not where desire is. Just keep going until you think "this is it. It's fun to create new compositions that way. Re-styling spaces keeps you from getting used to them, keeps you appreciating the things you've collected. Whether it's the entire living room or a shelf in the kitchen.

Which Detjer furniture is your favorite?
- The office chair dark brown!