What is your background?
Although Dutch, I have lived in the Algarve for the past twenty years. My father was a builder and my mother an interior designer. Initially, I worked in hotel management, training at The Ritz in London and I also worked in Paris. I got into interior design almost by accident. I renovated a tired old villa here, people liked what they saw, and commissions started coming by word of mouth. I now have a team of 12 specialists working alongside me.
How did you get the commission at Four Seasons Fairways?
After working on the villa renovations, I was invited to pitch for the interior design of the Clubhouse alongside some other designers. We were given a detailed brief and revised architects plans to base our designs on. We were delighted when our concepts were chosen by Fairways’ management team and directors.
Why do you think you were best-equipped for the job?
Besides my interior design flair, I know how people need to work in a hospitality environment due to my background in hotels. I also know how clients like to use a space. It is very important to be able to picture how an area is going to be used. Also after twenty years living in the area, I have lots of good contacts.
Tell me more about your design influences and some of the suppliers you chose and why?
The new Clubhouse area is the heart and soul of the resort, blending contemporary design with a Portuguese twist. The elegant, welcoming space has a warmth to it, a comfortable, relaxing, home from home feel with a sophisticated atmosphere that flows seamlessly from inside to out. Great thought was required to create a design that works for all seasons, whatever the weather.
Crittall doors and windows are in abundance and have been cleverly designed and finished with a brushed copper effect to reflect the traditional Portuguese “Cataplana”, an item of cookware used to prepare Portuguese seafood dishes.
Handmade pendant lights using linked copper rings to emulate bee hives hang throughout VIVO restaurant and have been designed to reflect the local area’s sizeable production of honey.
Guests will also notice on entering the Clubhouse that they pass over a large rug, handmade in Northern Portugal, the design of which symbolises Portuguese lace, one of the country’s oldest and most intricate handcrafts.
A green palette runs throughout the Clubhouse to reflect the lush, landscaped gardens and neighbouring golf courses that surround the resort. Green hues are complimented with dusky pinks, oatmeal and striking peacock blue furniture with a variety of textures and fabrics used throughout, also reflected in the artwork.
The carpet, wallpaper and panels throughout the new Club Room evoke a sense of local heritage and are inspired by “azulejos”, traditional Portuguese tiling, which can also be found in the resorts newly renovated villas.
One of the most beautiful sights to behold in the Algarve is when the almond trees are in blossom, covering the ground in what looks like a blanket of snow. This inspired the handmade Portuguese lighting in the Amara restaurant. The use of warm woods, crimson chairs, scalloped banquette seating and a large back lit customised panel, reflecting the waters of the Ria Formosa, give the restaurant a sense of drama.
The craftsmanship and attention to detail throughout is second to none. Everything has been made to measure with the design team commissioning numerous one-off handmade pieces and wherever possible sourcing locally, with fabrics and furniture all made in Portugal.