December 31, 2014

Wishing you a Wonderful, Fresh & Green 2015

We just sent out a newsletter wishing everyone a Wonderful, Fresh and Green New Year.

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Looking back on 2014

You know the feeling you can have about the end of the year?
It's like *poof* ... *it's gone*.


Wait a minute... But wasn't it still August Yesterday?

Then.. what did we do this whole year?!

Well... time for a little House of Thol recap:

The Final Countdown - Crowdfund campaign ended January 19th
<read the blogpost>

We started 2014 with the final stages of our crowdfund campaign for Waterworks.
After campaigning for almost three months (kick-off had been during the Dutch Design Week in October), we only had until January 19th to get to the 100% we needed to finance the production of the first batch of Waterworks-sets.



We made it!

Read 'Without you we would've been nowhere'

You'd think we had time to relax, sit back and enjoy our victory?
No Way! We had a production to start!

The next months were spent getting back in touch with manufacturers, ordering samples, getting excited about boxes from the other side of the world, ordering better samples, waiting for boxes again, ordering still better samples, etc.

In between e-mailing back and forth with manufacturers and being dissapointed once or twice, we took part in Noviflora's 'Forty & Forward experience', which was great fun...

...And we moved our studio from Amsterdam to a lovely old school in Zandvoort.
Which took a little time and effort, since we had to work through several layers of wallpaper to find walls that were painted black (which we wanted white) + we had our minds set on an entresol, which we had to personally put in.

Read 'Wallpaper scrapings + Pitchblack walls'

In May we moved our stuff, the first batch of Waterworks-glassware was being produced and we took a car full of houseplants on a trip to Arnhem for a Waterworks product-shoot with Masha Bakker Photography.

Read 'Photoshoot day in Arnhem'

Meanwhile, the production of the terra-cotta cone turned out to be a little less straightforward than we'd hoped (click) and we had to decide to take matters into our own hands and produce the first batch of cones in-house.

We did get a little time away from the studio when we were flown into Switzerland to assist with the installation of the Studio Thol Bathtub in a newly built Genevan villa.

Read: 'Other things: 30 hours in Geneva'

Read 'Crates full of glass'

By the time we got back, the first glassware was well kinda on its way to the Netherlands.

It was early July when we finished the design of the cardboard packaging, around the same time we expected the first batch of glass reservoirs to arrive.

A first pre-order could be sent out in July and we were able to take a short Summer-break. Not before sharing this news, however:

Read 'And the nominees are'

Then... when everybody started coming back from vacation destinations near and far, it was finally time to officially launch Waterworks.

After the party we went on shipping packages to all supporters who didn't make it to the official launch.

We also took a little time off Waterworks to finish a custom designed kitchen in Utrecht, a collaboration with the ladies from Ontwerpplek.

Read 'The kitchen with the hanging rack'

The official Waterworks-launch was followed a few months later by the first official product presentation of Waterworks during the Dutch Design Week, themed 'We want more Green'.

This seriously feels like yesterday...

Anyway, since then we've been sorting out some trouble we still occasionally encountered with the corks (read 'A chronology of corks') as well as doing business: finding new points-of-sale for Waterworks all around the Netherlands.

And we're getting somewhere: Waterworks is now for sale online and in designstores in Eindhoven, Amsterdam, Den Haag, Rotterdam and Heemstede.
We're hoping to add more cities to that line-up soon.

Oh right... and this last year we re-did our website, set up a new webshop, won a design-pitch (but that's actually still a secret - more news will follow), became active on pretty much all social media (Hello Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+), and researched why you should have houseplants and which plants are best.


Ok. Let's pop some champagne tonight before getting back to business first thing the day after tomorrow.

December 30, 2014

Get ready for 2015 with this Free Printable Calendar

Christmas has come and gone, and pretty soon the fireworks and champagne-corks will have sprung and we're in 2015.


The anticipation and high spirits about the New Year usually dampen pretty quickly once we're well into the dull weeks of January and realize there's still quite some time to go before summer.


Luckily we usually have other fun things to look forward to during the year: Birthdays, party's, trips to the unknown...
Keep yourself motivated and keep track of what's coming on this Free Printable Wall Calendar.

The file comes as an A3-sized PDF (420 mm x 297 mm), but (obviously) can be scaled down and printed on A4- or letter-sized paper as well.

Once printed, you could use just punch holes in the pages and be done with it, or check out this little and easy tutorial:

Things you'll need:

-the printed calendar pages
-wooden half-round profiles (diameter ca 1cm - cheap in any hardware store)
-hole punch (the office-kind)
-little saw
-needle + nicely colored thread

Wat you do:

1. Cut the profiles to the same length as the long side of the pages + 1 cm on each side (comes down to 44 cm length if you printed A3)

2. Use the hole punch to punch evenly-spaced holes in all pages (4 holes for A3, 2 for A4)

3. Clamp the pages of the calendar between both half-round profiles (use a little tape on the part of the wood that's sticking out on both sides to help keep together) and, through each individual hole, wind the thread around the profiles.
End with winding thread around the outer edges of the wood and attach an extra piece to hang the calendar with.


Enjoy your new calendar.
And your New Year!

December 29, 2014

A chronology of corks

During the final product-development stages of Waterworks we encountered some troubles with the cork stoppers we use.
We started out thinking that every cork would be both water- and air-tight.
That's what corks are made for, right?

Sadly, we found out the hard way that the 2000 agglomorated corks our supplier delivered with the first batch of Waterworks-sets back in the early days of summer, were actually not air-tight.
Minor detail you'd think?
Well, the fact that the corks weren't closing the reservoir air-tight, meant that no vacuum would be created in the glass bulb, and all sets would drain too fast.
This set-back cost us a major head-ache and then some...

Oh well.... no use to dwell on it.

Luckily we found a supplier in Portugal who could send us a new batch of natural corks within a week.
Just as well, since we never asked for agglomorated corks to start with, and preferred the look of natural cork anyway.

The only problem with these corks is that they're a natural product, which means no two corks are alike and some have bigger holes or cracks that make it difficult to close the reservoir air-tight.
Fine, we just had to personally test every cork stopper before adding it to a Waterworks-set.
Which we did.
And it cost us a lot of time.
And sadly some inconsistensies were hard to detect, which meant some Waterworks-sets were still draining too fast for no apparent reason.

After receiving a few questions about the speed in which the reservoir should drain, we decided we should come up with a better solution for the stopper and started exploring different possibilities.

First thing we did was order the silicon stoppers that are used in the scientific world.
Obviously they were up for the job: closing the holes with an ice-cold air-tight precision. However, the look and feel of the corks was exactly like that: ice-cold and scientific.
Not at all fresh and green.

We decided to try and produce silicone corks ourselves, and attempt to recreate the natural feeling we love so much.

We made a mold and test-'corks', adding grit and cork-gratings to the mix. All in our endeavour to create natural-looking but 100% air-tight corks.
We ended up with a lovely material made of the grated corks that looked pretty similar to the agglomorated corks we started with, while retaining a complete air-tightness.

But.... although the mixture we cooked up was so alike the agglomorated corks, our preference was to find something that would better resemble our natural corks.

We thought of another possible solution: what if we could 'dress' the corks we have with a little air-tight shell, only around the bottom part, keeping most of the natural look-and-feel in-tact?

We dipped corks in liquid rubber and used the necks of (happily colored) balloons to test our theory, which turned out to be spot-on.
We thought shrink-fit tubing would be perfect for the job. It took us a while to find the right type, size and color, but eventually we succeeded.
After some testing we even found a comparatively quick and easy way to add the layer to our corks.

From now on, expect your Waterworks-corks to be dressed!
Make sure to contact us if you think the cork you have might not be completely air-tight, we'll happily send you a new and improved cork stopper.

December 20, 2014

About a lovely shop in Heemstede, named Homestede

Photograph courtesy of

Once there was a lovely town in the west of the Netherlands, situated between Haarlem and the Sea, with the lovely name Heemstede.
And in that lovely town there was a lovely shopping street with lovely shops and one of those lovely shops was named Homestede.

Homestede was always great, but since last Friday it became even better: that's when they started selling Waterworks!

So if you're living close to Heemstede and are looking for a sustainable gift, check out Homestede on Raadhuisstraat 86!

For more, check out the Homestede website.

Photograph courtesy of

December 18, 2014

Waterworks now for sale @ Edwin Pelser Design store

Screenshot of the Edwin Pelser website

The collection of Edwin Pelsers' design shop in central Den Haag revolves around products with a story.
Edwin Pelser manages to bring all these stories from all those very different designers together in a harmonious unity in his living-room style store at the Piet Heinstraat.

We're very proud to be adding the story of Waterworks to the mix.

Edwin Pelser Designstore
Piet Heinstraat 123
2518 CG Den Haag

For more information and opening times check out Edwin Pelsers' website.

For more Waterworks points of sale, click here

December 15, 2014

Design By Craft on Waterworks

What a lovely showcase of Waterworks on Fair Dutch Design Platform Design By Craft (full article).

Design By Craft is an alternative webshop that focuses on hand-picked unique and customisable products with inspiring stories.
Their website is definitely worth a moment of your time.
Check it out here.

December 14, 2014

We're on Dutch Design Daily!

Screenshot - click for the full article on Dutch Design Daily
We're very proud to be featured on todays' Dutch Design Daily feed!

About Dutch Design Daily:
"Dutch Design Daily is a free app featuring every day a new topical subject from the broad field of Dutch Design such as architecture, e-culture, graphic design, fashion & textile, product design and spatial design. The app also shows interviews with designers and pays attention to education and heritage. "

To read the full article (available in Dutch and English) visit Dutch Design Daily.

Oh, and you might want to consider signing up for their free app for your daily dosis of Dutch Design.

New point of sale added: Conflict Maastricht

Photograph courtesy of
For everybody living in the South-Eastern peninsula of the Netherlands: Waterworks is now available at Conflict Design Market in Maastricht.

More about the shop:
"Conflict is located in the historical centre of Maastricht. The shop sells contemporary furniture, home accessories and designer gift items. The collection has a slight focus on Dutch Design. Featuring both designerlabels and self-producing designers like Koninklijke Tichelaar Makkum, Droog Design, Functionals, Royal VKB, Thomas Eyck, Goods just to name a few. The range is completed with some outstanding foreign designs like Braun, Authentics, Hay, Seletti amongst others."

Photograph courtesy of

Go and get your Waterworks-set now at Minckelerstraat 14.

Click here for more Waterworks points-of-sale. 
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