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Many things can be learned in life, but you must have a sense of style. Interior designer Monique des Bouvrie is living proof of this. She is a trendsetter par excellence, has a sublime eye for detail and is certainly not just 'the woman of'. We spoke to Monique about her wheelbarrow. Who helped this tasteful designer in her creative process? Text: Mical Joseph
Image: Rahi Rezvani and Brenda de Vries

What was your very first job?

“At the age of 13, I started my first job in a perfume shop during the summer holidays. This was in my hometown of Apeldoorn. On my own initiative I wanted to work, be busy and earn some pocket money. From an early age I had various part-time jobs and when I sometimes came home from hard work with blisters on my feet, my mother would prepare a foot bath. I was a real workhorse from an early age. Even now, Jan sometimes drives me crazy because I am always busy, both in my head and in practice. My zodiac sign is Aries, we 'Aries' are always busy. I am constantly busy coming up with new, creative concepts”

How did you end up in your current job?

“I started a shop with vintage items at the age of 22 together with my mother. Shortly afterwards I met Jan. We immediately fell in love and also started our business relationship. I started with Jan selling showroom models in the store in Bussum. I transformed the business into something beautiful and gradually I grew more and more into the company. At one point Jan and I started the Arsenal together, which still feels so nice. Creating something together and always continuing to grow.”

Who was your wheelbarrow in that?

“Creativity was already in me as a young girl, but this did not express itself immediately. Jan taught me to develop my creativity. From the first meeting with him, this emerged, so to speak. Jan also taught me how to look. People do look at a space, but not specifically enough so that it really comes in.”

“I grew up with little art, my parents and I didn't go to galleries or museums. Jan also taught me to look at art. The nice thing is that we also raised our children with this discipline. As a result, they have a highly developed sense of art. In addition to Jan as my wheelbarrow, I have two great examples, these are designers Philippe Starck and Marcel Wanders.”

What is your greatest passion in your profession?

“My heart is open to style and trends. The passion I have within me burns and must always come out. I enjoy sharing this with people who also have a passion for creativity and their profession. My greatest passion is 'creating'. Whether it is for other people or for myself, it doesn't matter.”

What has been the biggest learning moment in your career?

“I want to learn every day, I never stop learning. I also learn from the negative things in life. Besides, I believe it was meant to be that I met Jan in my twenties, it was meant to be. It is all one big learning process and this process enriches my life.”

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

“As an 18-year-old I would have done exactly the same way I did things back then. I don't regret anything, situations shape you as a person and regret doesn't help with that. As a young woman I took on all opportunities: it is about daring and showing courage.”

Have you been a wheelbarrow for someone?

“I have sometimes heard in my environment that I am a wheelbarrow for some people. I think that is an honor and nice to hear. I don't do the standard things, but from my heart. This helps to be a wheelbarrow for others.”