The 'Happy House' in Holland

The freelance photographer, interior stylist and design consultant Ilaria Chiaratti Bonomi talks about her property in Eindhoven.

Throughout Ilaria Chiaratti Bonomi's semi-detached property in Eindhoven, Holland, is an array of crocheted cushions, blankets and decorations. The freelance photographer, interior stylist and design consultant, who contributes mainly to the Italian homes magazine Casa Facile, started crocheting home accessories when she moved from Italy to Holland in 2009.

A year later, Ilaria started her blog, IDA Interior Lifestyle, where she writes about new trends, DIY tutorials, interior styling, her crochet makes and much more. In fact, following positive feedback to her crochet pieces she started her own Etsy store and this year she launched her own yarn shop.

It was in 2012, in need of a bigger space to pursue her freelance career, that Ilaria and Alberto, her husband, moved from their 75sq metre apartment into the property you see here. “I can't say it was love at first sight – dark and heavy furniture, dull colours, and bland décor. But I saw great personality and potential with a lot of original details, such as the doors and the stained glass windows,” says Ilaria.

The house, which was built in 1928, was in a good state so no structural work was needed. But, working to a small budget of €10,000, Ilaria made some changes to modernise the property. “I decided to change the kitchen and to plaster the majority of the walls to make them flat – they were like ‘wavy’ thanks to the old plastering very popular in the '70s. We also removed the carpet that was on the stairs and in the bedrooms. I decided to go for white laminate ... really, much better.”

Now, Ilaria refers to her home as 'the happy house' as she says it's fresh, young and represents who they are; She called her previous flat 'the blue apartment' because she decorated it in different shades of blue.

The property is located in a residential area near the city centre. “Eindhoven is a nice and quiet city, the perfect size to live in. And, in the past years the city has been improved and now offers design spaces and an interesting cultural life,” says Ilaria.

She describes her interior style is a mix of flea-market pieces, hand-made and design items. She finds interior inspiration through using Pinterest – she says she's a ‘Pinterest addict’ – and by reading blogs and magazines (online and print).

Decorating the property is ongoing. “As an interior stylist I always have new ideas and, almost every week, I change the position of the objects and sometimes I even do big changes. Our friends are always curious to visit us because they know that every time there will be something different,” says Ilaria.

What would she like to alter next in the house? “I’d like to open a French door to the garden from the living room and improve the kitchen by buying new cabinets.”

This article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Heart Home magazine.

Photographs: Ilaria Chiaratti Bonomi

Words: Rachel O’Brien