Talk to Shari on Whatsapp
Talk to us whatsapp   
Art Culture Shopping

A weekend with Rachel from Rho Interiors

A weekend with Rachel from Rho Interiors

This weekend, we visited Rachel from Rho Interiors. Rachel is an interior designer and has a showroom on Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. Whenever I pass by, I cannot help but be lured inside by the beautiful Italian fabrics from Fortuny, which she exclusively imports to the Netherlands. In addition to this, Rachel provides color advice and assists with interior projects. Some of her notable works include the Palace on Dam Square and the Coachhouse on Kerkstraat 61.

I met Rachel on a Wednesday morning. She was sitting at a round table in her shop on Prinsengracht, along with Vittoria, who works for the brand Fortuny. Fortuny is an exclusive Italian fabric brand, handmade in Venice since 1907. Since a new collection had just been released, Victoria and Rachel were welcoming buyers and interior designers that day to showcase the latest collection. I was fortunate to receive an invitation as well.

Rachel, who was born and raised in Amsterdam, is a true Italian at heart. At the age of 17, she spent an entire summer in Florence to learn Italian and has had a fondness for the country ever since. After completing her exams, she decided to return to Florence and work as an au pair for a year. In her free time, she traveled extensively throughout the country. As there was no internet or mobile phones back then, she learned everything by heart and truly immersed herself in the culture and language. Communication with her parents in Amsterdam was also challenging; her mother would often send her airmail with questions like, "What will you do afterwards?" and "Which study should I sign you up for?" Rachel wasn't quite sure at the time. She felt that studying Art History was too conventional, as many were pursuing it at that time. So, she chose to study Latin and Greek, and she particularly enjoyed studying Greek theater, which became the focus of her thesis. In her next life, she told me she'd love to be an actress.

After completing her studies, Rachel worked in advertising, as she was drawn to its psychological aspects. However, as she approached 30, she began to panic, feeling that this was not what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She returned to her childhood passion for houses and interiors and realized that she had always had a deep passion for them. Even as a child, playing in the woods, she would design little homes out of twigs. So, she decided to pursue this dream. She took a course at Artemis to see if she had a talent for it, and she discovered that she did! On Queen's Day, she met a lady on the street who was selling all these beautiful things and told her, "Sorry, you're too late, I just sold all the Fortuny's." Rachel had no idea what the lady was talking about or what "Fortuny" was, but she was intrigued because the lady was running an interior design company. She begged her for her contact information and later wrote to her expressing her interest in working for her. Rachel wanted to show her what she could do. The lady, whose name was Ingrid, replied, "You can only come if you take over this place." Rachel thought, "What kind of person is this?" But she also realized that this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and decided to go for it. After two weeks of working for Ingrid, Ingrid left for France and threw Rachel in at the deep end.

They worked together for 20 years, and after that, Rachel took over the business. Ingrid knew from the beginning that she wanted to work with Rachel; she could tell just by the way she dressed that this girl had a good eye.

That's also how Rachel got in contact with the Fortuny brand. Ingrid was the only Dutch person who got to work with them, which was quite unique as the brand was difficult to approach. Ingrid traveled to Venice and obtained the contact information of the factory, which had a secret location that only the Comtessa knew. She then sealed the deal. To this day, Rachel is still the only person to resell the brand in the Netherlands.

Rachel did not inherit her sense of style from a stranger. Her mother worked as a sculptor and taught weaving and spinning, so Rachel knew from an early age what good fabrics were made of. The only fabric she doesn't know much about is Fortuny, as it's a brand secret, even their own staff doesn't know about it.

When traveling to Italy, Rachel's favorite places to visit are Venice, Sicily, and Naples. To experience a little bit of Italy in Amsterdam, she likes to dine at Restaurant la Fiorita and her neighbour's Buffet van Odette. She also enjoys strolling along Utrechtsestraat and visiting the bookstore Zwart op Wit.

Shari Wijnhoud