Shop Stop: interior design in Ghent with Huiszwaluw
If you ever find yourself in Belgium’s most picturesque city Ghent, be sure to visit our favorite store for interior design in Ghent, HuisZwaluw. And lucky for the rest of us, they have just launched their webshop, filled to the brim with beautiful home décor objects.
We had a chat with the store’s passionate and cheerful founder, Dicky van de Velde. Dicky is a Dutch native who started the shop adventure 12 years ago because she missed the stylish products she was used to sourcing in Amsterdam. Besides curating a wonderful collection, Dicky shares our love for magazines as she started her career as an editor for Dutch lifestyle magazines.
We love your clever and original mix of products. How do you curate the store’s collection?
I only sell products that make my heart skip a beat. I know instantly if a product is something for Huiszwaluw or not. No thinking involved, I just feel it. From the start I have had a huge preference for handmade items. Next to well-known brands I always like to sell ranges from independent artists or brands that just started.
You also do workshops and exhibitions. Can you tell us more?
One of the things I had not realised when I started is that I would meet so many lovely and creative people. So it was a small step to ask them if they wanted to showcase their art in my shop or give workshops. At the moment there are several macramé workshops planned but in the future I hope to start other workshops as well. It depends a bit of which designer steps in my shop next…
When I grew up, I wanted to be …
Favorite contemporary artist …
… singer songwriter Rufus Wainwright
Early riser or night owl? …
… (Not too) early riser, I am more the sleeping kind
Three essentials you can find in my bag …
…iPhone, Dr. Hauschka lipstick and reading glasses
Must read …
…Books from Dutch author Racha Peper. The Water Lady for example.
The future needs …
…more time to reflect and make art!
Best local gem in my city …
…Sunday flower market on the ‘Kouter’, with small kiosks where you can have coffee and cake or even oysters!
Favorite dish …
… I love to start my Saturdays with toast with matured Gouda cheese and mustard a black coffee and a newspaper.
If I weren’t a shop keeper, I would most probably be …
… a stylist for fashion magazines or garden designer
What attracts you to yarn craft for the modern home?
I love handmade items. They give so much personality to your home. I do not have much time to make things myself but I love to browse in our local thrift shop for embroidered tablecloth, cushions and crocheted or knitted blankets. I already found lots of gems there.
What is the yarn and design scene like in Gent?
Ghent is a creative city with two Art schools and young, talented designers. Some of them used to work in my shop as a student. One of my favourite designers is Karlien Madeleine who makes wonderfull wall hangings.
What do you enjoy doing when not working on Huiszwaluw?
Most of my time goes to my shop and my family but in my spare time I love to read novels (I studied Dutch literature), doing yoga, going for nature walks and birdwatching. It is no coincidence that our shop’s name is Huiszwaluw (the Dutch word for House martin).
What would you dream project be?
Renovating and decorating a building and turning it into a shop stacked with beautiful items, where you can go for a drink, a lunch with a friends, workshops, maybe a yoga class, interior inspiration, buying nice gifts and read and buy magazines and books surrounded by lots of plants.
How do you engage with your local community of makers?
By buying and selling their products, advising them on how to place their products on the market, giving them room for exhibitions and facilitating their workshops.
What will we see next from Huiszwaluw?
A webshop! With a lot of help of my 19 year old daughter Katrien who is going to run the webshop next to her studies. She is a fervent knitter by the way!
Visit Huiszwaluw right here or follow them on instagram!
All images by Huiszwaluw