Interior Design of Amsterdam's Canal House


Our vision for Canal House was all about exquisite materials, luxury and celebrating Dutch design. We have a weakness for Marcel Wanders’ contemporary gothic pieces, and so it felt right to bring him and renowned agency Concrete onto the project. Take a look below for the story of Canal House's interior design from Jessica Frankopan, owner of our beautiful hotel.

Love at First Sight

We stayed at Canal House in Amsterdam twenty years ago and had to pinch each other. In those days, it was a higgledy-piggledy property, slightly chaotic but oozing with charm. Set on Amsterdam’s grandest canal, the Keizersgracht, the hotel is made up of three adjoining townhouses. But even amongst the astonishingly beautiful properties along the canals of the Venice of the North, it is unusual and unique.

Exploring For The First Time

For one thing, the heart of the building is a magnificent old ballroom that spans the width of all three houses – making it an extraordinary place to entertain and be entertained. For another, in a city where land is exceptionally valuable (because it is reclaimed from the sea), there is an enormous garden – with a tea house and a garden house too.

I remember squeezing my husband’s hand when we walked in for the first time. I knew that if we ever did a hotel in Holland, it would have to be here. When we got to know the owners and they decided to retire, we got on the first plane.

Rebuilding The Houses

We spent three years rebuilding the houses from bottom to top (that’s the only way you can do things in Amsterdam). I wanted to capture the history of the buildings, but also of the trade that made the Netherlands so successful. I wanted the hotel to reflect the glory of the Dutch Golden Age when Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Frans Hals produced art that can make you cry with its beauty.

At Canal House, I’ve played with a lot of the same themes that define Amsterdam in both the past and the present; it’s important not to create something that feels like a museum by mistake. People can forget that the Dutch are immensely creative when it comes to textiles, furniture, and design. So you’ll see 18th century pieces sitting side by side with those by Marcel Wanders, antiques alongside items from the Droog movement.

18th Century Influence

I’ve used a lot of black around the hotel, but also used lots of mirrors to play with the light. I wanted Canal House to feel as luxurious as it would have been in the glorious 18th century when fabrics were being brought back from all over the world, so there is a lot of velvet to give that sense of softness. I’m a big fan of the colour purple which in this context is dark, exotic, and sultry. I feel like a visitor from 300 years ago would be as excited to stay as one from today – though they might be surprised by some of the modern touches (like the minibars!)

Falling In Love With Amsterdam

I love sitting in one of the rooms that overlook the canal, watching pleasure boats go back and forth, and letting the sunlight stream through the windows. I am partly Dutch and I feel both contented and at home watching the world go by in the most ‘Canal House’ of the canal houses in the city. I’d love to live in Amsterdam one day.