INSIGHTS_ Hanna Moens

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Those of you that spend some time on Instagram or Pinterest once in a while, have probably come across Hanna Moens.  Her impeccable eye for aesthetics and her bright and airy photos filled with beautiful design have gathered quite a few fans, me included.  We met when I did an internship at Baroness O., a design studio where until recently she was responsible for communication and content creating.  Nowadays she’s freelancing as a copywriter in addition to her part time job in a library and enjoying her newfound free time.  Posting pictures on Instagram is a hobby that got out of hand quite some time ago and she recently enrolled in a flower class, as she’s been arranging flowers for friends’ parties for quite a while.

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A few months ago, Hanna and her boyfriend Sam moved into this apartment in the Saint-Gilles municipality in our Belgian capital.  “Saint-Gilles feels like a village: every day there’s a market at the parvis, which we visit at least once a week.  Especially on weekends, it feels like we’re on a holiday, with stalls ran by caterers or Italian chefs.” The inhabitants of the neighborhood are a mix of Spanish and Portuguese immigrants from the fifties and a lot of young people.  “Despite the new, younger inhabitants, Saint-Gilles doesn’t feel too hipster, it just makes it a lively neighborhood.”

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When they found this apartment, they immediately fell in love with not only its location, but also the building itself.  The entire street was built by the same architect Ernest Blérot in the beginning of the 20th century.  The result is one art nouveau facade after the other, a street scene that never bores the eye.  “On the inside, the remnants of this era are less clear, but the wooden floors and detailed doors add an extra charm to the apartment.  If I’d build a home for myself, it would probably be a lot more modern, with concrete floors and steel details, but as longs as I’m renting an apartment, I prefer to live in a place with a bit of character. ”

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When Hanna and Sam moved in together, they barely had any furniture, as neither of them had lived alone before. Luckily Hanna has a soft spot for Ikea.  She studied Swedish and truly enjoys wandering the warehouse and indulging in a bit of Swedish culture on Belgian soil.  “It’s only our first apartment, so we don’t know how long we will live here, plus this place has a lot of weird angles to take in consideration when picking out furniture.  With this in mind, we didn’t want to invest too much into our furniture yet, especially since we had to buy a lot at once.”  Their basics from Ikea are complemented with pieces by Muuto and Artek, to name a few.  The Austere lamp by Hans Verstuyft is the dining room’s eye catcher and Hanna’s current favorite piece.  “We visited the architect’s home and office and he told us the story behind the design.  Knowing where it comes from and how it’s made, makes me love it even more.” Hanna explains.

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The items that truly shine in their apartment are their books (the couple owns so many of them, they even had to put a bookcase in the bathroom!), plants and little trinkets.  Although the couple moved in only a year ago, these touches make it seem like they have been living here for quite a while already.  “You could place our furniture in anybody’s home, but the decoration is what truly makes this apartment ours.  We travel a lot and always bring back little trinkets that remind us of these destinations.”

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It’s also these travels that inspire her interior: she often buys foreign design magazines on their trips, such as the Danish RUM, which is a little more daring and artistic than what we usually see in Belgium.  Deko on the other hand, is a Finnish magazine that shows cosy, realistic homes that might as well be located in our country.

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Hanna describes her style as simple, Scandinavian inspired and with a humorous twist.  “I believe the architecture of your home influences your style as well”, Hanna adds, “If you’d put our interior into a newly built, larger house, the result would be much more minimal.  Here, combined with the wooden floors and smaller spaces, it feels rather cosy and intimate.” 

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When I asked her for tips, Hanna  mentioned the white walls that her Instagram feed is so famous for.  “It’s a color that serves as the perfect, ever versatile background, and makes a small space like this apartment seem just a little bit bigger.”

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Furthermore, she recommends enough storage space.  Hanna enjoys making small adjustments to their home by swapping pillowcases, or moving decoration around and some things are kept in boxes until she feels like changing her interior again.

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The last tip that Hanna wanted to share was one from her boyfriend Sam, who picked up on a Scandinavian custom: “Two twin-sized duvets on the bed, it’s a relationship savior! No more fights about who’s hogging the blanket…”  Just take it from these two, Scandinavia not only mastered impeccable style, they appear to have quite the expertise on relationships and sleep as well…

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Hanna Moens - website - instagram - pinterest
Sam Gilbert - website - instagram - facebook

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