Krista Brockbernd captures the many faces of interior style as a photographer who travels Europe shooting rental and accommodation properties. Through this eye for aesthetics, her work acts as a gentle springboard for her own dream-like interior style at home in her native Netherlands.
Located in the picturesque village of Giethoorn, Krista lives with her husband, Anne, and their children, Sil and Lise, in a thatched farmhouse built in the late 1800s. The front of the house is brickwork with green panel shutters framing the windows, while the back – where cattle once lived – is now a fresh white that reflects the strikingly rustic yet minimalist theme inside.
“The walls and floors are painted white, so each room was a blank canvas,” says Krista of their initial design process when they moved in eight years ago. “From there, everything was decorated with basic furniture and I started to fill the rooms with found French treasures, antique cupboards from an old aunt and crockery from Anne’s grandmother. In the living room, the walls are pasted in flowery wallpaper layered with my own photos.”
Legacy and heritage have long permeated Krista’s taste, ever since her parents set off in search of a new home when she was a child and unwittingly instigated her life-long love affair with architecture. “In the back of the car, staring out the window, I saw the most beautiful houses pass by,” says Krista. “I would fantasise about the life inside of them and what it would be like to live there. Now I love to visit beautiful cities with their history and great architecture, and to visit museum houses and castles that are still decorated like the olden days.”
Krista’s early memories sparked a curiosity that she later pursued in real estate studies, where architecture classes and the study of historic buildings added layers of cultural context to her fascination with home design. Now living in a farmhouse that has undergone several transitions in its 100+ year history, notably from being a Dutch pancake farm in the 1980s to the family homestead it is now, it makes sense that Krista would seek out a building with character upfront.
“After a three-year search, this farmhouse came up for sale and we were immediately sold,” says Krista. “We didn’t do any major renovations. We painted everything, put a new floor in the living room and did the garden. The farmhouse was cosy and pleasant as it was.”
Their village – otherwise known as the “Venice of the Netherlands” – is a bucolic paradise. It’s perfectly paired with the quaint charm of their farmhouse home, which stands on an island surrounded by nature and fronted by a canal where tourists in the summer pass by in boats, and in the winter, it bustles with ice skaters.
With her discerning eye permanently fixed on capturing the nuance of life styled between four walls, there is a clear stepping off point between what she sees through her lens and what she curates at home.
“I capture the most exquisite hideaways, like rural gîtes, chambre d’hôte (the French equivalent of a B&B), boutique hotels and chateaus, all lovingly restored and styled by the owners,” says Krista. “I work a lot in France and I’m always looking for interior treasures in garage sales. My favourite items are old pots, wicker baskets, paintings with flowers or landscapes, beautiful linens and old antique cabinets. These items fit perfectly with my style and in our farmhouse.”
This aesthetic continuation between Krista’s photography and her interiors is one full of texture and patina, tonal hues and soft colours, and plenty of natural materials. “The spaces I photograph are sophisticated, thoughtful and uncluttered, and that’s how I would describe my interior style as well,” she says.
“I used to have everything decorated really “shabby chic”, with brocante furniture, pink walls and floral wallpaper. But I was looking for more and more tranquillity in my home. And after buying the farm, my interior style became more barn chic.”
Now Krista is preparing for her next chapter and readying for the move to a new farmstead. “We are happy with our house and enjoying it while we still can, because we are moving in two months’ time,” she says.
“Our dream farm here in Giethoorn came up for sale. Again, it’s a beautiful old farm but on our own private island. Behind the house is a large garden overlooking the lake and we have our own forest. You can only reach our house by footbridge over the canal. Getting to the farm by car is not possible and the transport of building materials, the new kitchen and bathrooms, as well as moving there, is across water. That is a real ‘Gieterse’ experience.” A true Venice of the Netherlands.