The Artists’ Home of Esther Blankers

When it comes to decorating our homes we all find different things important. Some like to follow trends and change their interior every year. For designer Esther Blankers of Pantoufle Design it means more than simply buying something new. For her it’s about choosing mindfully, taking the time to observe, sensing what truly is necessary and leaving out what isn’t. But how do we slowly start to (re)design our daily lives and interior? In this episode Esther shares her authentic vision with us on how to build a home that is closer to the heart.
Visiting The Artists’ Home of Esther Blankers
Esther’s artistry: interior designer, product designer and curator
Living in Rotterdam, The Netherlands

1. You run a beautiful slow design store in Rotterdam. Please tell us, how does your home reflect your work?
‘I think my home and my showroom are both a reflection of my feelings about aesthetics and choosing from the heart when it comes to objects that you surround yourself with. I believe that all that is close to you impacts your energy so I love to choose mindfully before I bring something to our home. Same goes for the shop, we take time to curate before we add pieces to our collection. We want all pieces to connect with each other. And just as important we believe in building long term relationships with the makers and brands we work with.’

2. Your style can be described as a mixture of Japanese simplicity, Scandinavian minimalism and Mediterranean elements, how come?
‘Ah I think that is perfectly said, I am strongly attracted by natural and honest materials and keeping design simple. I would always prefer pieces that honor craftmanship and nature instead of having a fast produced alternative. These key elements are represented in all of the above, so I can relate easily with all these styles. And I love to mix aesthetics to give a bit more edge instead of following just one style or principle.’

3. What does the word creativity mean to you?
’Creativity is leading in my work and life as well. All the rest such as earning money, comes after this. And in order for me to be creative, I need to feel free and close to nature. Only then my creativity will flow, so this means that I check in regularly if I feel the need to change anything in the way I work, to feel safe and grounded so that I can listen to my heart.’
4. What object in your home holds a very special memory?
’Most pieces in my home are close to my heart, such as the objects that we have designed in our own studio. My kitchen holds a special place, it is a vintage piece originally coming from the home of my sister. And old photos of my family are dear to me and the portraits of Morris, that his dad Lennaert took, who is photographer.’

5. You have such a good eye for finding unique (vintage) items, how did you develop that? 
’I love visiting places and being curious about finding pieces that catch my eye. I think it is just about being open to feel what attracts you and then you will encounter with objects that suit you.’6. Do you believe in interior trends?
’No not all, because for me your home is a reflection of your own creativity and energy. If you tune in with what it is that appeals to you, you can slowly build your home and unique finds to add character.’

7. What project are you dreaming of bringing into reality?
’There is another dream that I am currently researching to see if we can pull it together. I cannot share what it is yet, but when the time is there I would love to tell you more about it.

8. What is your favorite place or room in your home to get inspiration for your projects and why?
’Sitting at our travertine table looking outside surrounded by plants and flowers with a good café.’9. What is your connection with nature?
’Living in the city with my boy, close to my shop and close to his school, gives me freedom to switch easily between working from home, my shop or any other place that inspires me. Living in our city apartment gives me freedom to keep feeling light about my financial obligations. I do not want the things I own, to dictate me financially. The liveliness of the city can give me a lot of inspiration, but I also always need to feel connected to nature. I need to see green when I am at home, so my balcony with plants is my sanctuary. I love taking care of plants, this is a daily ritual. But of course, sometimes I need more, so whenever I can, I love going to the beach or forest and when I travel I visit places such as Portugal and Mallorca, that allow me to be outside and close to nature as much as possible.’

10. Art, textile, song, book, country, designer, material, food: who or what makes you curious at this time?
’Inspiration comes in so many ways, it is hard to explain what makes me curious. To clear my mind I love to read books and interviews from people that dare to step outside of the common structures, and follow their heart to create their own reality. At the moment I am really into textile artistry. Plant based dying, traditional weaving and stitching techniques weirdly excite me :-).’ 
11. Final question, how can people start changing their interior from fast design into slow, timeless design? Any thoughts you can share?
‘Building a home that really suits you, is a process that you should not rush. It is perfectly fine to not have just perfect rooms and pieces. Take your time to think about some key pieces, save some money and treat yourself with a new piece every now and then. Also try to have a good look at all the items that you own. Are there any that you don’t use or that don’t bring good energy? The less items you have in your home, the more you will appreciate the pieces you keep with you.’Find more about Esther and her store Pantoufle Design

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