A Coffee Connoisseur’s Mexican Folklore-Inspired Amsterdam Apartment — House Tour
Name: Alex Kitain
Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Size: 527 square feet
Years lived in: 7 years, owned
Alex’s light-filled Amsterdam apartment is an early riser’s dream come true. Filled with the scent of coffee brewing and sunlight streaming through the windows, mornings are something to be worshiped in this home! Decorated with eclectic but modern design, Alex’s apartment is both welcoming and stylish. He mixes bits of Mexican folklore with sleek, contemporary designs for the perfect balance of old and new.
Alex’s company, The Coffeevine, does just that. It blends the culture of coffee that goes back hundreds of years with today’s busy, product-obsessed society. It’s no surprise that his stylistically balanced apartment is actually where the idea of The Coffeevine was first thought up. Alex is keenly aware of the beauty in classics mixed with modern — as seen in his living room. He brings retro together with contemporary design by coupling the orange shag rug with a clean-lined, multi-functional sofa. This balance is seen throughout the house.
Alex attributes much of his design taste and style to his mother, who is from Mexico but spent much of her life living and working in Germany. She emphasized to Alex the importance of treating your home with respect — a lesson we all can learn from. There’s a place for everything in Alex’s home, and this organization is what keeps his home from feeling too “kitsch.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: My style has evolved a lot over the past few years. Previously, I used to be more basic. Recently I have reconnected a lot more with my Mexican heritage and these days my house has much warmer colours on the walls, with lots of Mexican elements dotted around it. And I’ve really tried to maximize the space I have available. A good friend recently described it as fabulously kitsch and at first I got a bit offended, but then come to think of it, Mexican folklore is a bit kitsch and now I’m totally proud of it.
Inspiration: I’ve traveled to more than 100 countries and I love connecting with different cultures, trying local foods and getting inspired by the traditions, styles and cultural elements of the places I visit. While I don’t collect souvenirs in the traditional sense — i.e. cups, magnets etc. — I love bringing back a thing or two that I can add to my home. During my last big holiday I was in Mexico and Belize and from the latter I only brought back a bottle of their local hot sauce for example.
Favorite Element: I may not have a stunning canal or park view from my living room, but unlike the vast majority of homes in Amsterdam, I don’t have any neighbours looking in. And in the mornings, the rising sun floods my home with natural light, making the living room / kitchen my favourite place to hang out. I also have a very sunny balcony and in the summer I get my hammock out and just imagine I am somewhere tropical. Works best with a cold cocktail in hand.
Biggest Challenge: A lot of my friends really dreaded the moment when they turned 30, and while I didn’t struggle so much with the idea itself, it was quite a challenge trying to figure out how I wanted to live in my thirties. In my twenties I didn’t look at every room or item in my house with a very critical eye and as a result my place started looking a bit dated. These days, I am constantly changing things to really make the most of my cozy flat and I keep it meticulously clean, because you never know who you might bring home.
What Friends Say: Extremely organized and clean. Loves cooking lavish dinners. Hates hosting house parties. Has a walk-in closet, like OMG.
Biggest Embarrassment: Well. When I was younger and Airbnb first started I literally rented out my apartment for groups as big as six! Most of the time I used to crash with friends but those days are over! Now I only accept couples and I only rent it out when I am away. That was embarrassing.
Proudest DIY: I’m not particularly good at DIY but I am quite proud of having painted the walls in my house almost entirely by myself and hanging up my Sonos speaker.
Biggest Indulgence: Whenever people come to visit, they are always amazed at the amount of foodstuffs that I have in my fridge and on my shelves. I love cooking and I guess these items are just testament to that.
Best Advice: One thing my mother taught me well — and she taught me lots — is to always treat your home like a home and not like some transit where all you do is hang out between adventures. I’ve also seen people who literally live in a pile of their own shit and don’t seem to care one bit. One time I was visiting two sisters who shared a home with some other guys and one of their housemates lived in such a gross state that you couldn’t even see the floor of his room under all the crap. It was like watching an episode of “Hoarding – Buried Alive” and it just underlined my already strictly enforced policy of never leaving my house unless it is in a state that I would be happy to invite strangers to come back to.
Dream Sources: I get inspiration from blogs and magazines I read, but often also just from visions I have when I see something I love. The one last thing I’d love to add is a big bathtub but my bathroom is literally tiny 😦
PAINT & COLORS
The paint in all rooms is from Sikkens but I don’t have the colour codes for all the rooms anymore. In the living room I have two green tones, one slightly more mint than the other. They are: L9.13.79/4i and M5.09.83 /4i In my bedroom I have a gorgeous wallpaper from Farrow & Ball called “Feather grass.”
Mexican embroidery purchased at the artisan market in Mexico City.
Sofa — Brühl – Moule
Table — Magis (no longer made)
Chairs — Thonet
Lamp — Ingo Maurer: Stand up for your light.
Table cloth — Mexican artistan product
Kitchen unit — IKEA
Photography on wall — Gabriel Figeroa
Vintage armchair — Danish design
Carpet — Jab
Batman Print — Liam Brazier
Hanging Lights — Tobias Grau
Open closet — IKEA