A Vintage IKEA Dresser Was the Heart of This Amsterdam Home

Alyssa Neilson sitting at the dining table in her Amsterdam apartment.

Photo: Mikel van den Boogaard

What makes a purchase “worth it”? The answer is different for everybody, so we’re asking some of the coolest, most shopping-savvy people we know—from small-business owners to designers, artists, and actorsto tell us the story behind one of their most prized possessions.


Alyssa Neilson is a stylist, a strategist, and the founder of Studio Marie. Her social media marketing consultancy specializes in taking category-defining and emerging brands to the next level, and some of her clients include Bread Beauty Supply, Buffy, Glossier, and Kin Euphorics. If you’ve been following the Houston native on social media for as long as I have, then you already know she has an enviable closet full of the coolest clothes and sneakers. Alyssa is always on the move—quite literally—and you can never pinpoint where she might be going next.

But what you might not be aware of is that Alyssa went through one of the most unconventional pandemic experiences of all time: She spent her third trimester in lockdown, and three months after giving birth to her first child, they both boarded a plane from New York to Amsterdam, where they would live for the next two years with her husband, Mikel van den Boogaard. It was a major shift, but for Alyssa the biggest challenge that she faced while adjusting to life in her new environment abroad was the weather. 

“I knew my home had to feel really good,” she explains on a Zoom call. “The weather there is awful so they don’t really live outdoors like Americans do. They have to really live inside…. So it was really important that I had a comfortable inside experience.”

Alyssa sourced this vintage IKEA dresser through her her mother-in-law from a secondhand shop.

Photo: Mikel van den Boogaard


Alyssa wasted no time making herself at home once she moved into her husband’s apartment. Given that his style leans toward dark and masculine (she compares it to a library), the first order of business was brightening the space with pops of color. “I’ve always loved a lot of colors, that’s always been really important to me,” she explains. “With Amsterdam, I knew that it’s so dark and gray there that I really needed some color everywhere I looked.” Luckily for her, their home already had huge windows for natural light to pour in on the light floors, which made everything feel more airy. Though she’s a huge fan of Scandinavian design, Alyssa didn’t want to “live in a total Copenhagen house that’s super colorful and everything looks like a toy.” With that in mind, she kept the color strictly to accessories purchased from stores like HAY and Finnish Design Shop