Also fond of romantic vintage? Check Karolien’s tips and personal favourites

© Kaat Pype

A trip back in time with Karolien Vanoppen (31), manager of cake house Cantine Clementine in Hasselt. Karolien lives with her husband Jeroen Moermans (36), architect, son Flor (2.5) and cat Oscar in a row house that has been renovated from head to toe in Hasselt’s city centre.

Vanessa Vanhove

“My extensive cup collection is my greatest pride. About six years ago I started my collection on the occasion of our marriage, because I wanted to take care of the catering at our party myself. So I also had to look for suitable tableware. After the wedding, the majority of my collection ended up in our basement, awaiting the realization of my big dream of starting my own catering business.”

“Now I have an average of about two hundred coffee cups in my possession, although it is difficult to put a number on that. In my business, about a hundred are used daily, while the rest are either stored in the cellar at home or elsewhere. In other words, if one breaks, I always have something in reserve. My very first cup is my favorite. I bought that together with my husband during a trip to, yes, the thrift store. I still have the cup though. It is a beautiful piece with a floral print and a refined golden edge. I still remember saying to my husband at the time: “That is a rare piece. If you like it, you should buy it.” After that my collecting drive got a bit out of hand and I bought new ones every week. My husband always laughed heartily at that: “They are hard to find, aren’t they?” (laughs)

“Today such cups are really hard to get hold of. And if you do find them, they also easily cost double or triple what they used to be. Then I paid an average of 0.5 euros or 1 euro for a cup with saucer, in exceptional cases maybe 2.5 euros or 3 euros for a unique piece. Brands have never played a role for me in this. If I like it, I buy it. These are usually lovely cups with floral prints in sweet, sweet colours. I’m quite a fan of romantic vintage.”

I go shopping here

“I used to visit the thrift store every week and I always brought something home with me. Now that happens less. Together with my sister, I also planned a Recycle Day at regular intervals. In one day we visited several thrift stores in Limburg.”

Nice interior tip

“If you come across something nice, buy it, because often there is only one piece. Even if a great piece is a bit damaged, I buy it. There is always something to catch on. For example, a coffee cup with a crack still serves perfectly as a flower pot.”

My favorite period

“I don’t have a preference for a certain period, if I like it, I can come along. I really am an old soul in a relatively young body. I like crocheting, making hats and drinking tea, preferably from crazy old cups.” (laughs)

Vintage stuff from Karolien

A friend gave us the apothecary cabinet as a wedding present. The cabinet first stood in his cocktail bar for a while.

The old dining table is an heirloom of Jeroen’s grandfather. One day it literally breaks in half, because it’s almost falling apart already, but we don’t have the heart to just get rid of it.

We bought this purple armchair from Artifort for only fifty euros from a roommate of Jeroen’s. Only afterwards did we realize that we had made a bargain.

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