De Kroon in her houseboat kitchen. 

Jeanne de Kroon has always considered herself somewhat of a nomad. Over the past several years, she had been living out of a suitcase and traveling to communities in places like Tajikistan and the Amazon, sourcing for her brand, Zazi Vintage, and working closely with female artisans in various communities. In early April, just as the pandemic swept across Europe, Jeanne was planning to return home to Amsterdam to connect with her home and family, and dreaming about a house on the Dutch canals. “As the city center was built alongside the iconic canals, I grew up with stories of my grandfather and his life on boats,” she shares. So, when Jeanne finally returned home after 10 years of traveling and learned that a houseboat was for rent, she felt anchored by her own family history and knew it was the one.

“I feel like the biggest eye-catcher is the Moroccan rug by my friend Samira. She started her company (Limala) with her Moroccan partner to decolonize the global north’s view of her country. She tells all these stories of what life is like in the mountains, the female weavers, and all the mint tea,” Jeanne shares. “I always have my dresses hanging all over the house because realistically I’m a 27-year-old girl living alone on a pink houseboat, so why not?”

Situated in the north of Amsterdam along the canals, her 1970s wooden houseboat resides next to a bird sanctuary. The benefits of living on a houseboat, Jeanne explains, are vast. “For travelers, it is the ultimate trick to feel like you’re on a holiday at home,” says the designer, whose life, like many others, has been at a stand-still due to COVID. “From the early morning cold swims to hanging my laundry alongside a family of local swans, to hearing the raindrops more clearly, a houseboat really feels like the best home I can imagine in a place like the Netherlands,” she says. Jeanne made a conscious effort to design the interior of the houseboat as a nod to her travels around the world and to the inspirational women she’s met along the way. “Every item carries a story,” she says of her space swathed in worldly textiles.

Infusing color into her space was important, as the country is predominantly gray and rainy. “A light home works so beautifully in a sun-drenched country, but when you live on a boat in the Amsterdam canals, color is important to warm up the space.” In the main living area, Jeanne opts for raspberry velvet upholstery and pink and ruby red walls that she adorns with textiles she’s collected from female weavers in various countries. This immediately brings back travel memories and honors her relationships with women around the globe: “I feel my Moroccan friend Samira and her initiative Limala whenever I look at the rugs,” explains Jeanne. “She tells the most incredible stories through cloth with a small collective in her homeland.”

“The boat bedroom opens up straight to the canals, and as I live in the clean part around Amsterdam, I can wake up and take a dip from my bedroom door.” 

“The lamps are by Elpelut and I have them everywhere in my home. They are the coziest when you hang little lights in them. Bedding is a very soft natural Tencel.”

For Jeanne, a home should be filled with anecdotes. In her case, the storytellers are the artifacts and items she collects through her travels. “I work with a small female-led collective called Ozara, where the women describe the intentions woven into every piece.” In a certain region, Ozara embroiders black thread into white fabric, representing the duality of the light and dark aspects of the human experience. She has a variation of this textile on her sofa, enhanced with ikat pillows. Every item in Jeanne’s houseboat represents an empowering, divine feminine energy that envelops the space. “I feel protected sleeping and living in between these stories of women around the world,” Jeanne says. “It just feels like home.”

“When I moved in, the boat had the most random bright yellow elements and was completely wooden. Unfortunately not a beautiful wood. I chose this raspberry pink called [dark rose by Bierens, a local Dutch paint company]. The table was a part of the boat already and its bright yellow is always covered up by some matching textile from my never-ending suitcase full of stories.” 

“I have two rescue hens that live with me and follow me everywhere I go. The flowers are by Flowers & Powers and the boat comes with a little garden, so many garden parties were hosted this summer with chickens on the table eating with us. The bowls are Moroccan that I once found on a second-hand market in Berlin.”

⚒ Do It Yourself

Shop sustainable and fair trade brands: “While ‘sustainable’ fashion becomes more important every day, an ethically created home should be just as important. My favorite brands created with love and craftsmanship are Limala, Elpelut (the really fun hand-woven fisherman lamps you see hanging everywhere), MMAA Social (female-led social enterprise from Ghana for great handwoven baskets) and I love the Yumeko’s Tencel bed collection.”

Colors are your best friend: “I believe that small spaces are better in darker, warmer colors and there can never be too much color in a space. My advice is to just go for it!”

We decide for ourselves what “art” looks like: “I don’t really own ‘art’ although I come from a family of artists. My home is full of objects and things that I have turned into art by giving them a special role. From small elements I found in nature, like an Ethiopian flower I dried, or the pieces of cloth hanging everywhere. I feel like everybody has special objects that make a space feel like home.”

“The chair on the left was another leftover fabric turned something new.” Jeanne points out. “We found some vintage chairs in Berlin once and used fabric from our coat production.” You can see her Zazi coat draped over a chair. 

🛍 Shop It Out

Azilal Rug from Limala, $763, bylimala.com

Amina pillow from Zazi, $236, zazi-vintage.com

Fishermans Lamp from Elpelut, $769, elpelut.com

Storage basket from Mmaa, $166, mmaa.social

Tencel bedding from Yumeko, $165, yumeko.de

Golden lamp by Madame Garage, madamegarage.nl





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