A modern Gira light switch panel with three large buttons is mounted on a teal-colored wall, with a cozy living room featuring vibrant cushions and artwork visible in the background.
A splash of colour never hurt anybody. A vibrant mix of old and new with plenty of bold elements, colours, and patterns around the home. We interviewed @_finntage about her experience renovating her new house and how she came to choose Gira for her project.

Gira magazine: Tell us a bit about yourself, who is Sandra (better known as @_finntage)?

Sandra: My name is Sandra, and I'm the owner and creator of the interior design platform Finntage. I live in Velp, a small village in North Brabant. I live together with my husband Pieter, our 18-year-old son Finn, and my dear father-in-law, who moved from the house to a “granny flat” in our garden last year. (Now you know where the name Finntage comes from!) After 21 years in our previous house, we are currently renovating our new dream home (my husband's childhood home).

In December 2015, I started my Instagram page under the name @_finntage. Because I'm passionate about everything related to living & interior design. My style can best be described as colourful, eclectic, with a touch of retro and always flowers! A vibrant mix of old and new with plenty of bold elements, colours, and patterns around the house. It's amazing to be an inspiration to so many!

A woman in a striped sweater and fringed boots sits in an orange armchair, surrounded by vibrant floral wallpaper and eclectic decor.

My motto is: Always stay true to yourself: because trends come and go, but your own interior style stays!



Gira magazine: Originally, moving wasn't in the cards. So, what prompted you to change your plans?

Sandra: Indeed, we were very happy in our previous home! It was a split-level house that always gave us a holiday feeling.

It had always been a dream of ours to be able to renovate my husband's family home, but it remained just that – a dream.

That was until we seriously started looking at all the options, and it turned out to actually be feasible for us. We were lucky enough to sell our house at a very opportune time. The market was crazy at that point, which was a definite plus for us as sellers! Perfect timing! We also carefully reviewed and calculated the renovation costs.

Additionally, this house is also a family home, which gave us “more favourable” options in terms of purchasing. All of this led to our decision to go for it.

An important aspect that also played a role was that we had to make plans for my 85-year-old father-in-law, who is still in good health. The idea came up to create a “granny flat” for him, and we would renovate the family home.

A partially demolished house with exposed wooden beams and a damaged roof, surrounded by debris and construction equipment.
It's safe to say that it wasn't a small renovation. Source: @_Finntage
A charming brick house with a steep, tiled roof surrounded by a lush, colorful garden in full bloom. Trees and greenery frame the background, creating a serene and picturesque setting.
The beautiful 1930s house in Velp comes into its own in the summer. Source: @_Finntage

Gira magazine: How did you plan this renovation, and what did you pay special attention to?

Sandra: We hired a construction manager to outline the main plans. This person also created the building plans for us. Having such a great contractor to take some of the burden off us, we could fully focus on the choices that needed to be made and did not have to focus on the planning.

We also said to each other, that we’d do the renovation in one go instead of drawing it out over several years. Fortunately, this turned out to be feasible, and the renovation was completed within a year.

Sustainability was also a very important aspect during the renovation! (The government also provides incentives for this in the form of subsidies). For example, we had the roof, floor, and all walls insulated. We now have double-glazing throughout the house. We had solar panels installed, and the plan is to purchase a hybrid heat pump next year.

Gira magazine: What has been renovated in your house, and what was the biggest challenge?

Sandra: Honestly, everything in our house has been renovated! This is a 1930s house that my in-laws hadn't renovated in recent years. You literally stepped back in time upon entering. Only the roof remained the same, otherwise, everything has been overhauled. We were literally standing on the sand under the ground floor of our house.

The biggest challenge was to stay within budget and strike the right balance between old and new!

We think we've done that very well!

Gira magazine: What is your favourite element/room in your house?

Sandra: I think my favourite room in the house is the living room! Why? This is where everything about my living style comes together – the colours, the furniture. This makes this room the perfect mix of old and new, and completely FINNTAGE!

If I had to choose a particular piece of furniture, it would be the custom-made shelving unit. I've had this wish for years, and it could finally be realized here. I can store all my treasures in it, and it adds so much atmosphere to the room!

As a finishing touch, we will put back the original stained glass in the upper windows of the living room. Can't wait!

A vibrant living room with a teal shelving unit, colorful decor, and a TV displaying vivid artwork. The space includes eclectic items, a large plant, and a pair of stylish tables with decorative objects.
The cupboard in the variegated blue colour matches the mix of old and new. Source: @_Finntage
A cosy living room with a green sofa, colourful cushions, a large chandelier, and vibrant decor.
In a living room where there is no shortage of colour, all colours and patterns match. Source: @_Finntage

Gira Editorial: How did end up using Gira products, and how did you choose the design?

Sandra: When you're building or renovating a house, you have to make a lot of choices. Also, those that you've never really thought about before. In my case, one of them was about switches.

After all, how often do you really look critically at the switches in your house?

To be honest, I've never really paid much attention to it in the past 22 years which is actually quite strange because you use it every day. That's why our switchgear definitely had to be “pretty” and an eye-catcher on the wall! A pleasure to look at. I also found design to be an important aspect of making our choices. I was looking for switches and sockets with rounded shapes. Because I love rounded shapes!

When I started looking into the choice of switches for our new house, I came across the beautiful products from Gira. We fell in love with the Gira E3 design line. Rounded on the outside, angular on the inside, with a silky soft-touch surface: “the Gira E3 design line presents itself elegantly and harmoniously”. Truly the perfect addition to our home. I particularly liked the rounded corners! This in combination with the colours brown / umber / anthracite makes me happy every day.

Gira Editorial: Finally, we would like to ask what (large) projects are still to come in 2023/2024?

Sandra: The garden! We recently started on that! We had a beautiful design made, and will be doing the renovation ourselves.

There are already a few beautiful big trees in our garden, which will of course stay.

Creating new accessibility to my father-in-law's “granny flat” and laying out the paths and borders is step one. The rest is not urgent, this could well be a two-year plan!

A spacious backyard with scattered trees, a grassy lawn, and a few outdoor furniture pieces. Large green and brown glass bottles are placed at the base of a tree, adding a rustic touch to the setting.
In addition to shade, the beautiful trees offer a wonderful mix of wildlife and design. Source: @_Finntage
An outdoor seating area with cushioned bamboo furniture, a small table, and a potted plant. A historic building with a steeple is visible in the background, enhancing the picturesque setting.
Relaxing outside on a garden set is the perfect way to spend the warm summer months. Source: @_Finntage