Kat recently moved from Brooklyn, NY to Rotterdam, Netherlands, where she and her family are taking in all new experiences every day.
In this conversation, Kat tells us the distinctions of Dutch design and home living, and how she creates a sense of home no matter where her family is at the moment.
You recently moved from New York to Rotterdam this year. Tell us about the experience.
It was overwhelming. But ultimately, I’m grateful for this opportunity for our family.
We moved early March 2020, the pandemic was still at its peak and lockdowns were still in place. We welcomed the chance to be in a different place as our own constructs of what is “normal” keeps evolving. The open space, a city that was less dense in terms of the number of people, it was certainly something that gave us a softer landing once we started settling in our new city.
There was a lot of logistics to coordinate the actual move. But once that was done, discovering a new place and having all these shared experiences as a family is truly priceless.
Describe your new home. How is it different from your place in NY?
I feel like the home is the same. For me, home is a feeling – it’s being together as a family, spending time together and experiencing new things together. Thankfully, our kids are young enough that they still enjoy hanging out with their parents, so we really build on that and that’s what home is for us. We spend time together, we exchange stories, we share a laugh.
We are renting an apartment that came furnished, so it doesn’t feel like our own place because it has furniture we would never pick for ourselves. This made it even more important for us to create a sense of home. Even though we were in an unfamiliar place, an unfamiliar country, when we come home to the apartment, we need to truly feel we are home.
What does that mean? It meant surrounding ourselves with familiar objects that brought a sense of comfort or evoked memories. So we actually shipped a lot of personal items from Brooklyn.
My favorite thing about the current apartment is the wonderful view of a canal (which there are a ton of in the Netherlands) where we get to watch the sunset. On weekends, I love having my coffee on our covered patio (a prime spot for canal viewing) while reading a book or a magazine.
What are some things you’ve noticed about Dutch design and home living?
I notice a lot of apartments have their own private outdoor space, whether it’s a small balcony, front patio, or backyard. Our apartment has a covered patio that is really its own space. It’s covered and I think that has made a huge difference in terms of our overall well-being. We can be outside but not really feel cold or wet, since it rains a lot in Rotterdam.
What are your biggest influences when it comes to how you create your home?
Unknowingly, it has been Dutch and Danish design – very pragmatic. I say unknowingly because until recently, I wasn’t really aware of what defined Dutch or Danish design. Looking back, it was the aesthetic that I always gravitated towards. It’s modern, clean, but can be quirky through the use of colors, unusual shapes or textures.
How has your home and taste evolved through the years?
In the beginning, I was definitely more on function and not on aesthetic. But over the years, I’ve come to appreciate that design and function can co-exist and there is a reasonable price point for it.
I also focus on an item's quality. I am drawn to pieces that can work in different spaces or provide multiple functions. I like moving things around in the apartment and find that a lot of the pieces we currently have can work in different spaces.
What was the last memorable thing you bought for the house?
I started buying things for the home whenever we travel. Not the typical souvenirs, but buying with more intention and leaning towards purposeful items. During a recent trip to Portugal, I bought wool blankets and bowls. The blanket was a no-brainer, it was 100% wool, and I easily feel cold compared to my kids and husband, who can literally wear shorts in 50 degree weather.
I also bought these bowls I absolutely love. There was a certain size, shape, and depth I was looking for and I found it in Porto. I’m slowly building a collection of bowls in varying sizes, all of them lovingly used as often as possible. In our home, I find that bowls are more versatile than plates.
Describe your home in 3-5 words.
Chill, cozy, meaningful