September 26, 2016 • Home DecorWork

almost one year ago, my business partner nele and i went on holiday with our little families. having started a business together earlier that year, and with daughters who were born just an hour apart, we felt we needed some time off together to regroup and think about our professional future. with the support of our husbands and lots of late night talks, we started narrowing down all of our ideas to a couple of tangible projects, and together we set goals for the year that was to come. it’s now been 51 weeks, and i could not be any prouder of what we have accomplished together in this time. we launched interior inspiration platform ROOMIN.BE, opened two offline experience homes (the first in ANTWERP this spring, and the second one in ghent just this weekend!) we also launched our own furniture company JOURNUIT, which offers high-quality and highly customisable sofas that are 100% made in belgium and kept affordable thanks to its direct-from-factory-to-consumer business model.

it’s safe to say this is the most tired i have ever felt. even with some of the little breaks we took this year, i feel like we have both been working around the clock non stop. luckily, we managed to gather an amazing team around our projects, and it goes without saying that without their help we would still have plenty of ideas in our minds, but definitely not as much to show for it. that, too, however, has been quite the journey – we both gained so much experience in working with a team and finding the difficult balance between directing them towards a set goal, and leaving enough room for their own creativity and initiative, without stiffling them with control-freak attitude. it’s been a ride, and i’m so happy to say that the end is still nowhere in sight. we have so many more ideas to expand on what we have built, to create the things we know are missing, and to connect the dots between what is already there.

we are leaving on another holiday together in less than a week, but before i’m ready to turn my mind into a blank slate and allow myself to think about the future, i need this moment to take a step back and look at what we’ve created so far. our offline experience home in ghent opened its doors last friday, and we are so, so immensely proud of it. this time we partnered up with interior designer bart degryse of flow interior, who put together the design of our temporary home in ghent with 20 different interior design companies. i think i am most proud of the fact that roomin doesn’t treat these companies as clients, but rather as partners. without their can-do attitude, there would not have been such a richly inspiring experience home to visit now. i am extremely grateful for the trust they put in our team, and the enthusiasm with which they are participating in this journey. thanks BLANCO BIKE LUXURY, BERRYALLOC, BULO, DELTA LIGHT, DESCO, falcon, grupa products, huus, KITCHENCLUB, INSIDE, JAB ANSTOETZ, KRISTINA DAM, LYSDRAP, NIKO, NILL SPRING, SAUNACO, SIGMA COATINGS, STOKKE and YKOON. their products can be admired in the photos above, but are best experienced in real life at #roomingent (until december 18, every thursday to sunday from 11am to 6pm).

we were also pretty psyched to welcome OH MY PARTY to our roomin gent team, as leen and katrien assembled the most gorgeous balloon garland to draw attention to our temporary home, and decorated our garden like a true little wonderland. they’ll be launching their company at roomin gent soon, and i suggest you keep an eye on them because everything they do and make is drop-dead-gorgeous. and a final shout-out to our wonderful team of INSIDERS, without whom and everything else we produce – from our very own newspaper to postcards and tote bags – would not look even remotely as interesting and good (thanks for the graphic design magic JOKE GOSSE!)

if you’re not able to tell from the photos above – i had the most fun gathering inspiring quotes from around the web, assigning them to our wonderful partners based on their values and philosophy, and then integrating them into our interior in as many different and original ways as possible. there are 20 quotes in total to discover in the house, four of which are displayed on the letterboards roomin will be producing and selling starting from december! i can’t put into words how beautiful they have turned out, but they sure look picture perfect at roomin gent! if you’d like to see more, head over to ROOMIN.BE or click the hashtag #roomingent on INSTAGRAM. our journuit webshop is now LIVE, too, so you can finally discover our three different sofa designs and all the endless possibilities to customize them. i definitely plan on sharing more about everything later, but first – vacation time!

photos by stephanie duval

i’ve only known kim daenen for a few years, but we often joke it feels like a lifetime. we met at a travel industry conference, where she represented her employer brussels airlines as its press representative. we hit it off professionally, and soon started collaborating on a number of cool projects. i saw her rise through the ranks and become spokeswoman for my favorite airline company, and meanwhile our coffee dates led to dinner dates, led to trips to geneva and kim attending our wedding… in short – i made a very good friend.

there’s another joke we often make, or at least – that i make – and that is some kind of comment on how kim is the most critical and exigent person in the world. yet instead of this quality making her insufferable, she balances it with equal parts compassion, kindness and empathy. kim is that person whose opinion i value on every subject, be it food (she’s the ultimate foodie, always knowledgeable about every new restaurant in town), travel (she’s seen much more of the world than i have, and has the most amazing stories to share about her travels) or interior design (she has a great eye, knows about every instagram trend before it even registered on my radar and – most importantly – she has designed a beautiful, lovely home).

the only weird thing about making kim my next (long-awaited) guest of my kick-ass women series, is the fact that it hasn’t happened sooner. so without further ado, i’d love to introduce this talented, whip smart lady who you’ll definitely hear of again. if you’re as in love with her decorating style as i am, you can furthermore hop over to ROOMIN.BE where i’ve shared the home tour she gave me, including all the tips and tricks that make her apartment such a warm and inviting place. and don’t forget to follow her on INSTAGRAM, to take a peek into her inspiring daily life. and now i’ll let you scroll down to read what little nuggets of life wisdom kim has to share!

name a challenge that you didn’t think you could overcome, but conquered anyway.

my first tv interview for brussels airlines was something that i was pretty nervous about. i sort of got thrown into the lion’s den without much preparation – obviously my boss believed in me, otherwise she would have never let me do it – but it was pretty scary, although apparently it didn’t show to the journalist. looking back at it now and thinking how confident i feel in my job today, really makes me smile. i still haven’t watched that first interview, though.

what is your biggest regret?

i don’t really have any regrets,i have always chosen my own path and i’ve learned to be critical of myself and others along the way, while respecting other people’s opinions. the only thing i feel i haven’t acted on yet, is doing something professionally with my love for interior design. but it is not so much as a regret, as i think i will someday turn this passion into something more, one way or another. it has always been a constant in my life that makes me very happy. be it storytelling, communication or interior, creativity has to be part of my life on a daily basis.

what is the most important thing you’ve learned in your life so far?

the most important thing i’ve learned is that you have to let go of perfection. there is always more to see, more to discover, more parts of the world to travel, and some people seem to do it all in one day in their instagram life and that can create false expectations for yourself. once you let go of all that wanting and you start enjoying the little moments that are happening now, that’s when real happiness sets in. i’m very happy that i’ve come to realize this.

what are you trying to teach yourself right now?

i’m trying to teach myself to be more structured. i have always been a messy type, trying to hide behind the creative mess excuse, but i’ve come to realize that structure gives me peace of mind. and as i get older, this becomes more important to me. the days when i could just keep going are over and i appreciate more rest now. i guess that’s the price i have to pay for spending the first 30 years of my life as a very hurried person.

what is your favorite memory? what does it say about you?

my favorite memory is actually the entire past 15 months of my life. after many years of hesitation i broke out of my comfort zone – and you can take that quite literally – and at the same time i also decided to move to antwerp, far from my best friends. there i met the man of my dreams and exactly one month ago he asked me to marry him, in the most romantic way. he never fails to surprise me, and with his proposal the surprise was in the simplicity. no big show in some romantic city, but in our home, where we love to be, during a scrumptious breakfast that he had prepared. what it says about me is, well, that i am now going bananas over wedding inspiration. my life has been turned upside down, but i could not be any happier with how it has turned out. this brings me to a very important life lesson, which is that life does really does start at the end of your comfort zone, that is, if that comfort zone does not make you happy. it has taught me to always follow my dreams.

what would you like to be remembered for?

i hope that my friends, colleagues and family would remember me for being a passionate and smiling person who always sees things positively. like everyone, i have many flaws, but my stronghold is that i always try to find a solution for problems that pop up along the way. i don’t give up easily, and this has helped me in my career as well as in my private life. i like to think that this is what my dearest friends love about me.

photos by STEPHANIE DUVAL // kim daenen on INSTAGRAM


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my name is stephanie duval, and i am a storyteller. this blog is where i share my favorite stories about design, travel, fashion and the nice things in life.


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