”My house is a collection of memories and items that I love”
— Chafik Benhmidouch
Chafik Benhmidouch is an established name in Amsterdam. With his company Door Creative Studio, he mainly focuses on creative events and art projects. And with success. Projects like Diner Obscure and The Living Museum were and are a big hit. Whatever Chafik is up to, he always aims to create something that is different, something that goes beyond all the established rules. Leaving you with an experience to remember. His house is no different.
The eastern part of Amsterdam is known for still being ‘untouched’. It is a chaotic mix of everything and everyone. In this melting pot of cultures and people, we turn into a quiet side street, where we enter a building and climb up the stairs to find Chafik on the second floor waiting for us.
Entering Chafik’s house is a feast for the senses. The smell of all-natural incense Chafik got on a trip to Mexico, within a few seconds a homemade cappuccino in our hands, delicious pastries to go with it. Sitting down to take it all in, we look around. But where to look first? A mounted lizard on the windowsill, a tribal mask on the wall, a globe that is a beverage cabinet, an old Elvis LP record. In this little ‘museum’ of interesting artefacts and objects, Chafik lives together with his girlfriend Katelijn. We are looking at a display of memories and cool items the couple collected throughout the years. Chafik would describe the style of their interior as a crossing between the sixties and Hollywood regency. “But also modern,” Katelijn adds. “Our chairs – the vanity chair by Stefano Giovannoni – are really modern.”
Their interior is a mix of styles and everything in the house has a story. Chafik has a great eye for finding objects that are unique. “I like to hunt for special items. But this house is a lot smaller than the house in which I lived before, so I need to contain my buying behaviour a bit,” Chafik tells us laughing. The item he is most proud of is the vintage dressing table. “It is an original Dutch design from A. Patijn. It’s special because I have the complete set, including the original stool. You rarely see that.”
We are curious to know where Chafik goes on his treasure hunts. “I got the dressing table on Catawiki, a trading platform for unique objects. We also like to go to vintage stores - Marktplaats in Haarlem is a good tip - and markets. We usually just stumble across items, like the sofa we bought at FEST. We did want to buy a new sofa but had no idea what we were looking for. When we saw the sofa at FEST, we loved the colour and decided to go for it. I like to follow my instincts and I am quite spontaneous.” “I, on the other hand, had some reservations about the colour of the sofa. Would it match the colour we had on the wall? Wouldn’t it be too blue?” Katelijn tells us. “But I was sure it was going to work out. In the end, I believe that if you think too much, you are never going to try something out. And so what if it doesn’t look good? You can always sell an item or go for a different colour on the wall.” Something Chafik also likes to do in his work. He is not afraid to take a risk or two. If he has a good idea, why not go for it? With following your instincts you can never go wrong. “So far everything has worked out for our interior. The items are very different, but everything blends in perfectly. And it really is a space we’ve created together. Yes, I like to hunt for items, but if Katelijn doesn’t like it, it doesn’t come into the house.”
A big hotel room
Even though the apartment is small, Chafik and Katelijn succeeded to create something that is not ‘too much’. Their interior has a stylish feel to it and it doesn’t tip over to the hoarder category. They have mastered the small space. “Yes, it is small. But if this would have been a hotel room, you would think of it as being huge. We decided to look at it that way. That shift in mindset already gives it a different feel. Besides that, we took out everything that could possibly annoy us, like doors that felt unnecessary. And we invested in high-quality items, like a good coffee machine. The space is already small, so you want everything that’s in it to work perfectly. We’ve tried to be smart about decorating the house and I think we succeeded to do so. When we are sitting on the sofa, watching Netflix, we couldn’t be happier with where we are. Together. We have everything we love and need right here.”
“A good sofa is everything. We live on it and it is for sure our favourite spot in the house.”