Well, we all know what happened next: Covid hit.
We found ourselves more or less confined to the headquarters, with hardly any time to get things done due to two wild childs running around the house deserving love, attention and homeschooling.
Moving on: a new spring is coming
Local station GL8
The blissful in-between
Credits & Sad news
Easy green living // a House of Thol portrait
Taped in the Before
Video not loading? <click here> to watch it on Youtube
"Export price for entrepreneurs who used to kill their houseplants"
Proud and happy to be named winner of the MKB Export Award!
The timing of this...
Things that Suck.
The lucky ones
Film & Credits
A summer breeze in Milan
2019: a recap in photographs
July & August: designing a solution for food waste
That's it for 2019
It all started with a phonecall in June: ABN AMRO was looking for designers to come up with a sustainable solution for everyday situations, and if we could pitch an idea in July?
Since our House of Thol slogan is 'Durable products for easy green living' of course we had to participate!
We had a few ideas up our sleeve that could perhaps impact a marker like Earth Overshoot Day.
Move the date: Food waste
We took a close look at our own day-to-day and found plenty of things that we still can do better.
One of the things that's a real problem, is food waste: with two young kids with fluctuating appetites in the house, we can't help but throw out food ever so often.
Such a waste! Not only because of the money, but also because of the resources we waste.
And this goes beyond our household: in the Netherlands we throw out 34 kilograms of food each per year, and globally one third of the food produced is wasted.
That's about 1.3 billion tons!
If we could save only a quarter of that amount, we could feed every hungry mouth in the world (source).
Poma/Olera: keep your food fresh
Bringing it back to our own small household: what can we do to avoid food waste in our daily lives?
We noticed we often have trouble with fruits and vegetables: what is the best way to store them, so they stay fresh for longest and we don't have to throw out wrinkled bell peppers?
Turns out not every fruit and vegetable plays nice with others, so keeping them all together in one large fruit bowl might not be such a great idea: the ethylene coming from fruits like apples can negatively impact the taste or ripeness of other fruits in the bowl.
Anyway, learning about the best way to store fresh food involved a whole lot of research (spreadsheets, seriously) that deserves its own blog post soon.
The go and the process
Back to the process: We presented our plans in Amsterdam in July and the day after our meeting with the jurors we drove off to the Schwarzwald in a 42°c heat and two eager little boys in a car without airconditioning.
We spent two blissful weeks of summer break, and got the phonecall with the final go for our Poma/Olera project while en route.
These past months, ever since returning home from our break, have been all about Poma/Olera.
The design changed somewhat from the first drafts and we created a series of round vessels specifically designed to store fruits and vegetables in a better way.
The making process involved a lot of sketching,computer drawing, 3d printing, mold making, clay casting, finishing, failing, doing it again, changing the molds, recasting, firing the kiln, glazing tests, new glazing tests, production, production, production.
Well, your typical design process, really.
See you in Eindhoven!
We're super happy and proud to be able to showcase the first prototypes of our Poma/Olera series at the Game Changers Pavilion on the Ketelhuisplein during this Dutch Design Week.
We'd love to see you there!
Arranging flowers & building cabinets
Here at House of Thol headquarters we have quite a versatile workload: We might be stylishly setting up a floral arrangement for a photoshoot one moment and be sanding a wooden door the next.
Building cabinets, designing packaging, managing social media, preparing Waterworks-sets, producing terracotta cones, packing webshop orders, reaching out to partners, developing concepts and writing blog posts: it's all in a days' work.
Thomas and i have been happily sharing this work between the two of us, but now time has come for us to learn how to delegate.
That's why we're looking for TWO interns!
Running a design brand
Do you want to know what it takes to run an independent design brand?
Curious to experience how it works to design and market your own products as well as working together with brands and manufacturers?
Come see how we do it at House of Thol headquarters. We'd love to take you along for the ride!
We're looking for two positive people for the following internship positions:
The Maker Intern
You'll be working hands-on with Thomas on production, prototyping and model making.
You speak Dutch or English and love spending time in the workshop.
You're inquisitive, won't back down from a challenge and like to learn new skills.
You'll work with a variety of materials and techniques, ranging from casting porcelain and terracotta to 3D-printing, woodworking and construction.
Knowledge of 3D modeling software would be great.
The Communicator Intern
You'll be working closely with Jana on marketing, sales, pr and all things visual, including content development for website and social media.
You're adequate in English and preferably Dutch.
Social media has very little secrets for you. You love to create beautiful image and write fun, informative posts.
You're happy to communicate with shops and customers as well as with journalists and magazines from around the world.
Knowledge of Illustrator, Photoshop and Indesign (or similar programs) would be appreciated.
Interested? Apply now!
Interested in being an intern at House of Thol?
Send your Dutch or English application with CV to email@example.com
Any questions or remarks? Don't hesitate to get in touch!
We'll ask you to be at House of Thol headquarters (Parksesteeg 8, Overasselt) from Monday to Thursday 09:30-17:00.
During fairs and exhibitions it would be great if you could join us on site if needed.
After weeks of summer adventures and waking up without an alarm clock, we brushed the boys' hair this morning and dropped them off at school with suntanned faces eager for a fresh year.
Recharged and with our hands freed again, we're ready to take on the coming months.
We might as well... there's loads to be done!
To get the new season off to a running start, we've set up a Back to School discount of 10%!
So get your Waterworks sets now and keep those plants alive, start growing your avocado tree, get yourself a Flower Constellation to stylishly arrange the cut flowers from your garden (even the ones with thicker stems) or simply stock up on presents for upcoming birthdays!
To receive the 10% discount, use code 'BacktoSchool19' at check-out and ten percent will be deducted from the total amount of your order.
The discount code is valid on all products up to September 8th.
The green black forest
Although our summer break was cut short because of the opportunity of a sudden assignment that we didn't want to miss (more about that later, i promise!), we still had two long weeks to unwind and relax.
Our last-minute planning brought us to the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) in Germany, a mere 5,5 hour drive from the headquarters.
We packed up the car to the max, bought the boys headphones for the ride and left on an afternoon in sweltering heat.
When we left, The Netherlands was still enjoying/suffering temperatures of up to 40°C (104°F) which is extremely hot for our nearly scandinavian country, and we were happy to stay away from the southern European heat and go for a more lush environment to enjoy our time off.
Also, we were happy we didn't have to drive too far in a non-airconditioned car.
We landed on a wonderful campground right next to a stream and a little waterfall. and together with the boys spent hours on well-made playgrounds and adventure trails such as the Black Forest Treetop walk (with a large slide going down) and a Barefoot path where we got to got to walk over pieces of broken glass (still pretty sharp).
We clambered accross Germanies' largest waterfall and walked a 60 meters high suspension bridge that slightly swayed in the wind.
Of course we had to play a round of adventure golf (guess who struck a hole-in-one) and we somehow visited two places where people were extremely serious about model-trains as well as to a museum of clocks, vintage cars and vintage vending machines (because what else in Germany on a rainy day).
We spotted squirrels in the wild, fed ducks, almost caught a trout, looked for salamanders, learned to recognize nutcracker birds and were knocked over by over-excited goats.
We skipped the Bratwurst, but did enjoy the Brezels and other bread-related goodness, went out for flammkuchen and drank beers that came in glasses the size of my head (often, we just shared).
The big days of Black Forest tourism might have been a while ago, with the current trend of summers becoming hotter and more people looking for car-friendly destinations nearby i wouldn't be surprised if the Schwarzwald will make a revival the coming years.
I hope it does!
School's -almost- out for summer!
Summer is a time for fun and adventures!
Since our children highly appreciate our company when they're not in school to share said fun and adventures, we've planned for a little time off during the dog days.
From July 26th until August 9th we'll be out of the office. E-mail will be read sporadically. All webshop-orders placed during our break will be shipped upon our return in August.
For super-important things that definitely can not wait, send us a message via text or WhatsApp.
Enjoy the sunny days!
A little personal heads up for those of you who got in touch with us in the past weeks and haven't heard back as soon as usual..
House of Thol is running normally, but we might be a little slow when it comes to answering e-mails.
Let me tell you why: One of us (me, Jana) loves to play football. I have done that as a sport ever since i was little.
For about 25 years, my most serious injuries were bruised ankles and a broken metacarpel: no biggy.
But... during a match in late March a ball hit me really hard on the temple and caused a concussion.
The reason i'm writing this blogpost, is that the healing process is taking longer than we hoped, and might take a while still.
So: just in case you got in touch and you didn't hear back from us yet: my sincere apologies: we'll get to it as soon as we can!
2019: in with the new!
A week into the New Year and i'm so happy to be back in normal mode.
Don't get me wrong, i love the Holidays, and had been looking forward to the festive season since summer ended.
Yet after months of anticipation followed with weeks of joyfilled familytime, social calls and everything being so very special, getting back into the routines of the day-to-day feels so very refreshing.
Getting back to it, also means 'getting on with it'.
And i love what we'll be doing the coming months.
We already told you about our participation in Object Rotterdam in February.
We'll also be at the Tuin Idee gardening themed expo later that month in Den Bosch.
And to top it up the Driving Dutch Design DDW expo has traveled to Yksi Expo for the coming months.
Wren & Kiwi
But what we're most excited about this month, is the launch of the Wren & Kiwi lamps that we designed for socially conscious lighting label Ay Illuminate.
10 Days to go before the sustainable lamps will premier at Maison & Objet in Paris, and we cant wait to show you what we've been working so hard on the past year.
We didn't just take on the design, but the complete product development, including coordination with and many trips to the social workplace in the Netherlands where the lamps are produced by people with a distance to the job market.
The design is still under embargo for a few more days, but we'll be back with sneak peaks as soon as we can.
Let's make this the best year yet!
We're in love with the idea of not just sending somebody a message, but sending them wildflowers to grow. That's why we stocked up on the paper, and will be adding a line of growing paper gift-tags to the House of Thol collection! :-D
Affordable Dutch Design straight from the creators
Every year i get asked for a wish list for the holidays, and every year i draw a blank, leaving it up to the other party to try and find me those hidden treasures.
However... not this year!
Being a creative entrepreneur myself, i recognize the hard work that goes into bringing a product to market independently.
Fellow designers: we recognize your hard work and the risks you take by bringing your own designs to market and we salute you!
To support our friends and colleagues who design and market their own work, i’ve put together this gift guide full of affordable products by independent Dutch Designers that could be on your wishlist, (and are definitely on mine!).
What we did is try and find designs that cost less than €30,-, (preferably less than €20,-), are designed and developed by the designer/design studio and can be bought directly at the designers' webshop.
To make it super easy to go and get those goodies, we linked directly to the respective webshops where you can purchase on-line.
and... here goes (in no particular order)
New Kintsugi kit
The beauty of an imperfect ceramics repair
The art of embracing damage.
With New kintsugi Humade combines this lovely old technique with new technology. By messy mending you emphasise the marks and scars of a product, giving it a new perspective and beauty while offering it longevity.
You can use the kit mutiple times.
€27,- | Get it here
No need for plastic soapbottles any longer
Bubble Buddy is a tool that promotes the use of bar soap. It can be used as a soap dish that dries a bar of soap quickly but also has a very cool grating shield. The grating shield can be used to make soap flakes that easily dissolve in soap suds for all kinds of cleaning and grooming purposes. No need for plastic soap bottles any longer!
€16,90 | Get it here
Plan and Grow Calendar 2019
Calendar with flower seeds
A unique plantable calendar that grows into flowers.
You can hang it on your wall or carefully push out the months and style them the way you like in the included wooden holder.
The calendar is completely made of paper that contains flower seeds. After use plant the paper and enjoy your flowers.
€29,95 | Get it here
The Rijksmuseums' wooden army
The Rijkswachters are robots made from wooden crates in which the works of art of the Dutch Rijksmuseum were kept safe during the decade the museum was under construction. After the new Rijksmuseum opened, the crates became obsolete.
Studio Hamerhaai used the wood from the crates to create an army of wooden robots.
Every robot has a number with which you can find which piece of art was kept safe with the wood of your robot.
€27,50 | Get it here
Part of the 'Fragile Opulence' series
"Fragile Opulence" started out in 2008 and ever since expanded to what it is today. An interesting and large family of dishes and interior accessories that fit in every home.
This beautiful collection is known for her geometric shapes in most products, her powdery colors and the contrast between bisque and glazed porcelain.
€19,- | Get it here
Outline Cutlery black
personal favorite: small fork
Maarten Baptist is an enthusiast for designing cutlery: “The design process is complicated because all elements have to be balanced, therefore there are many iterations in the design. The production is elaborate since there is a mould for every curve. But I still love designing cutlery. It is all worth it, because cutlery sets stay in the family.”
The Outline Cutlery consists of a full dinner set. The series has also been expanded with a small set of cutlery items — in all three colour ways — which can serve perfectly for dishes like starters, cakes and pastries. Furthermore, they are sized for kids to use.
€9,95 - €15,95 | Get it here
let it grow
Sprout is a porcelain accessory that lets you easily grow small trees and plants in your favourite glass or vase. It sits on top of the glass opening, and lets the seeds or cuttings hover just above the water level, so they can grow roots without rotting. The white surface acts as a picture frame to shine the spotlight on your growing seedlings.
€14,90 | Get it here
porcelain salt shaker
'EI’: a series of colorful salt shakers.
They have a smooth sanded and non glazed finish to give the shaker an egg shell like feeling.
De Intuïtiefabriek has a lovely collection of porcelain products, that are definitely worth checking out.
Most other items are sold as sets which have prices ranging from €46,- to €95,-.
€29,- | Get it here
Small Storytile 10x10
Catch of the day
ONCE UPON A TILE…
Ceramic tiles have been made in and around Delft, The Netherlands, since the 16th century. StoryTiles continues the tradition by creating miniature art-on-tiles.
All tiles are baked in traditional Dutch ovens at a high temperature, what makes them heat and water resistant. Each design is unique, as it is hand baked and designed.
€27,50 | Get it here
Handmade porcelain cup
The OPGEROLD collection is a series of porcelain cups and vases, each uniquely glazed with a specially developed rolling technique. Each piece is glazed by band, by rolling it through splashes of glaze. This gives a unique pattern to every object. The materials used for the glaze are bronze and iron, each creating their own colour and structure. Bronze creates a smooth green glaze and iron becomes speckled brown.
€22,- | Get it here
Studio Carmela Bogman
Frame without a frame
Hueframe is frame without a frame. Its semi-transparent character and the present colours cause a beautiful spectacle of light and colour when you put the Hueframe in front of your window. To show your most beautiful leaf, flower or paper art. Available in large + medium + small and in the colors Azure Blue, Transparant White and Bright Yellow.
€17,95 (s) / €24,95 (m) | Get it here
Eco friendly long-lasting bag
The New Shoppingbag by SUSAN BIJL is a long-lasting, lightweight, sustainable, super strong, waste reducing and water repellent bag.
The New Shoppingbag by SUSAN BIJL is made from 100% bluesign® certified eco-friendly ripstop nylon with a waterbased coating.
No matter how creative and innovative men is, there is no force as colorful and powerful as nature. And what better match for SUSAN BIJL’s environment-friendly and sustainable products than the deep and rich colors found in minerals?
€23,90 | Get it here
Modular wall system
The geometrical lines of the Valence wall system bring a sense of calm to the interior. Functionality, colour and material are skilfully combined to functional wall decoration.
Installation is easy with tape or glue. Elements are easily re-used or recycled, the design is inspired by the circular economy. Most elements are made in Holland.
Founders Sjoerd and Sebastiaan add new elements to the collection on a regular base.
starting from €8,- | Get it here
the perfect fit
Happy Hugs are multipurpose greeting cards that can transform any standard bottle or glass into an eye-catching vase.
Personalized with a message inside it will be a memento to keep. A card and a vase in one!
An excellent gift in an envelope. Perfect for all occasions.
There are four models, each in 3 colors: Pink, Green and Copper.
€7,50 - 14,- | Get it here
handmade porcelain brooches
€22,95 | Get it here
These just missed the cut
The following products by Dutch designers narrowly missed the cut.
Either because the designer is not actually selling the product in a webshop of their own, the design was in fact made for a brand or label, or it's priced slightly higher than our €30,- budget.
But hey, if it's a Dutch brand with a social story or the design is just that good, it would be a shame not to at least mention these lovely products.
So here are a few honorary mentions:
Last but not least...
Easy flower arrangements inspired by the stars
It can be challenging to create beautiful flower arrangements when you don't have an abundance of flowers to work with.
With the Flower Constellations, we made it easy to set up gorgeous arrangements every time, while saving flowers from being wasted.
Alright, these aren't technically on my personal wish list, because... well... we designed them ourselves. ;-)
I hope they make it onto your list though!
(read all about our discount codes)
€18,50 | Get it here
That's a wrap...
Did i miss any designs or designers?
Please let me know!
A little something i'd like to add: we did not receive any compensation from, or have affiliate deals with anyone on this list.
We made this gift guide / wish list to showcase the beautiful and affordable designs that are made in the Netherlands and to give a shout-out ot all those hard working independent designers out there.
While scouting for this list, i came across a lot of designers who make beautiful products, but don't have anything in their collection that costs less than €45,- or even €150,-.
Which we totally get: we know how difficult it is to produce for an affordable price when you're on your own.
Even more reason to support those designers who are trying to bridge the gap between mass-production and design-art, and design and bring to market well-made products that are available to a wider audience.
Have fun with your shopping these holidays!
Ready to conquer the world
This coming Weekend the Flower Constellations will have their national debut at Dutch tradefair ShowUP, which is by all means a great fair that definitely attracts professionals from abroad as well as the Netherlands.
A great way for us to test the waters before diving in the deep end: Maison & Objet in Paris.
THE international tradefair that takes place at Paris Nord Villepinte every 6 months and attracts business from across the planet.
We actually visited the fair for the first time a year ago, back when Pols Potten chose Paris for the Thol lamps launch.
At the time we were thoroughly overwhelmed by the magnitude of hall after hall of designs ready to hit the shelves from Texas to Jakarta.
We definitely did not think for a minute we'd be exhibiting our own products there anytime soon.
Yet we are!
Dutch Design Collections approached us in early spring to see if we would be interested in taking part in a joint presentation as one of three Dutch independent brands.
Seeing this would be the perfect timing for an international Flower Constellations launch, we happily agreed to participate.
We're super excited (and a bit scared) about this wonderful oppportunity to showcase our designs to shop owners and other professionals from all over the world.
We'd love to see you there.
Visiting M&O? Let us know when, so we can meet!
The film crew and the design studio
A few weeks ago we spent a good part of the day with the lovely folk of Renault life, shooting an episode for their Renault TV Youtube series focussing on sustainable innovations and design.
We had so much fun working with the professional crew and experiencing an official film shoot including clip-on microphones, lighting set up and (more than a few) retakes.
Our self-consciousness about being in front of a camera quickly faded while working with the skilled and friendly team. (thank you David, Tom & Vincent!)
Us working through the night getting the studio cleaned up and film-ready was definitely worth it.
Although if you look closely it did result in a few bags under our eyes while filming.
Not being used to seeing ourselves on film, you can imagine we had no idea what the final result would be and we kept pretty silent about the whole thing in eager anticipation of the premiere.
Well, the time has come: This afternoon 'our' Renault life episode premiered on Youtube!
We love the beautiful images of our workspace and green surroundings the Renault team shot, and how they did not only catch our story but also made us look pretty comfortable in front of a camera, just being ourselves.
Check out the full episode below and let me know what you think!
Thank you @Renault Life for a lovely experience and such a sweet result!
Renault life made more episodes with sustainable and innovative designers that are definitely worth checking out.
Find their official YouTube channel here and make sure to give this video a thumb's up while you're at it.
In the spirit of creating the things we miss...
We love football, and enjoy watching the big games.
Since the Netherlands is not competing in this years' World Cup, the country has not been taken over by the pre-cup frenzy like (long) before.
That's why it kinda snuck up on us.
All of a sudden... the tournament is kicking off!
To make it a bit more fun, we wanted to set up a little poule amongst each-other.
And since we couldn't find an easy poule-sheet to download, we created our own.
Feel free to join in the fun and download here
In The Clouds
Made In The Netherlands