If you had told me before I drove to Arnhem that I would end up in a total stranger’s living room admiring a skeleton dressed in a velvet cape, I would have laughed in your face. But there I was, and I was in total awe. So why don’t you sit down, relax and enjoy my very own version of  Tales of the Unexpected. 

Tales of the unexpected – with special guest star Patrick Kooiman aka Interiorator

My gripping saga started out when I was walked past a tiny jewellery store that had the most curious window display I had seen in a while. It is not every day that you see the skeleton of a horse in a shop, let alone one with a woman in a tattered nineteenth century dress and feathered hat riding it.

Skeleton horseFemale skeleton riding horseDressed up skeleton

I struck up a conversation with the shop owner. Her name was Imkje – not a name you hear a lot. She told me that the interior of her shop was done by the man who lived upstairs and that I might want to check out his own antiques shop down the street. He might even tell me more about this fellow, she told me while pointing at a very imposing statue of a Roman soldier. “It’s a genuine Kuiper, you can tell by the eyes”.

Roman soldier statue

I followed Imkje’s advice and walked to De Klapmuts – The Hooded Seal – where I was met outside by the owner, who was sitting on a bench in front of his shop. I asked if I could go in and take a look, not knowing quite what to expect. Inside, I found a fully operational workshop that was decorated with everything ranging from huge modern paintings art all the way down to a tiny taxidermied shark. “De Klapmuts is primarily an antiques restoration workshop, which is how I make my living”, the owner told me. He introduced himself as Louis and showed me around. After his impromptu tour, Louis invited me to see his apartment.

Flying JesusGothic interiorScary interior

Together, Louis and I walked back to Imkje’s store and then went upstairs to his attic bedroom (don’t worry, this wasn’t what you think). And let me tell you, it is not every day that you see a wild boar hiding under the bed. But there it was and it looked…well, wild I guess!

hiding under bed

We then walked down a floor to Louis’ kitchen and dining room. Every nook, every cranny was filled with antique pots, vases, paintings and enough knick knacks to decorate a small country. I. Loved. It.

vintage kitchenvintage kitchen ideasmirrored wall with vases

Down another floor, I was greeted by an antique figurehead hanging from the ceiling. “I had my eye on it for years”, Louis told me, “but it was just too expensive. Then one day, I found out that it had fallen and was badly damaged. I bought it for a fraction of the original price and then restored it myself.”

Flying angel chandelier

Louis also told me you paintings should always tilt forward. If you want to find out why and how to do it, check out this excellent article on CHCollins.com.

painting tilted forwards

We then moved to the front of the living room, where Louis had several religious statues. And as you can see, the eyes were just as striking as the Kuiper statue at Imkje’s store. Notice also how intricate the detailing is – unbelievable that someone could do that with wood.

religious statuereligious statuereligious statue

I ended my ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ tour of Louis’ home in front of the fellow you see below. I could almost imagine myself ending up three hundred years later as decoration in some guy’s home. And you know what? It would be a very fitting final resting place for this interior design writer. So there.

Thank you Louis for a wonderful tour of your beautiful home! And a note to my readers: you can read all about Imkje’s jewellery on www.imkjefelsbourg.nl and visit her store on Arke Noachstraat 2. You find visit De Klapmuts on Nieuwstad 14. Both addresses, of course, are in Arnhem.

skeleton dressed up