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A Feast of Flowers

Dutch fashion designer turned artisanal baker Natasja Sadi is flourishing in her second career.

An arrangement of flowers and sugar flowers in Delftware vases. Photo: Natasja Sadi
An arrangement of flowers and sugar flowers in Delftware vases. Photo: Natasja Sadi

青青青国产在观免费2018Natasja Sadi’s ravishing Instagram account () overflows with photographs of the lush floral bouquets she creates every week after visiting the flower market near her family’s canal house in Amsterdam. Her arrangements resemble heady 18th-century Flemish still-life masterpieces, but hers are not painted — rather, they are arranged over the kitchen sink and photographed on the kitchen table.

The kitchen sink full of flowers. Photo: Natasja Sadi
Sadi uses her bounty of fresh flowers to inspire the creation of her sugar flowers, seen here in her kitchen. Each flower petal is crafted by hand — the finished dusty-pink rose in the upper left corner took a full day to make. Photo: Natasja Sadi
Sadi at work. Photo: Michael van Heusden

青青青国产在观免费2018Sadi designed bridal dresses for 20 years before she pivoted to creating floral sugar treasures. It wasn’t until after the birth of her son, Jan (who is now 10) that she decided to take a break and see where it led her. “I had no idea where it was going,” Sadi says, “But I did know I wanted to explore what I could do with sugar. I always had these huge bouquets in my studio and at home, and it gave me an incredible thrill to see that I could copy the flower and put it on a cake.”

A field of Sadi’s sugar flowers perched on top of a bookshelf at home. Sadi only began photographing her creations for Instagram roughly three years ago. “I never knew it would become what it has,” she says. “Most of the flowers are edible, technically, but they are really meant for decoration — and to enjoy even after the wedding or celebration.” Photo: Natasja Sadi
Sadi’s house is the tallest one in the middle. Photo: Natasja Sadi

青青青国产在观免费2018Sadi’s canal house was originally built by an 18th-century Dutch ship owner. Sadi, 45, was born in Surinam, a Dutch colony of the Netherlands, and lived there until she about was 4 years old — in the late ’70s, she and her mother moved to Amsterdam. “New York was traded for Surinam!” Sadi says in the course of talking about her personal history and the history of her birthplace. “I’m a descendant of slaves; I’m also a descendant of Indonesian contract workers. My great-grandparents were from Java, Indonesia, a former Dutch colony. When slavery was abolished, the Dutch were one of the last to sign the treaty and continued to look for workers in their other colonies. They found workers in Indonesia.”

Sadi’s husband, Michael van Heusden, originally bought the top two floors of the canal house in the early 1980s, when, as Sadi says, “Amsterdam wasn’t as fancy as it is now.” He did the initial renovation with the architect Hans Witt. The stairs pictured here lead from Sadi and van Heusden’s kitchen/living room up to the roof terrace. The painting, by van Heusden’s grandfather, is of his grandmother. Photo: Natasja Sadi
Sadi has a vast collection of Delftware and other blue-and-white plates she has collected from trips around the world. “Some are very old, and some are new, and I don’t really fuss about it, to be honest. I am not more precious about the older plates. I love them all, and they are all dear to me.” The chair, Sadi says, “wasn’t even €70. But I love it so much.” Photo: Natasja Sadi
This wall in the living room includes a portrait of a young Nelson Mandela by the Dutch South African artist Marlene Dumas and a drawing by Pat Andrea. The photograph is of the view from the house, and the imprint of a woman is by Surinam artist Kenneth Flijders. The framed pieces of paper are waybills dating from the 18th century that van Heusden found tucked between the beams of the house during the renovation. Photo: Natasja Sadi
Several other extraordinary historic documents were found within the beams of Sadi’s home — all survived several centuries. One document features the name of the original owner of the house and the name he gave it, Zeevrught (“fruits of the sea”), Sadi says. On one, she says, you can read, “Equipped with six cannons.” Photo: Natasja Sadi.
Several other extraordinary historic documents were found within the beams of Sadi’s home — all survived several centuries. One document features the ... Several other extraordinary historic documents were found within the beams of Sadi’s home — all survived several centuries. One document features the name of the original owner of the house and the name he gave it, Zeevrught (“fruits of the sea”), Sadi says. On one, she says, you can read, “Equipped with six cannons.” Photo: Natasja Sadi.
The family bedrooms are all on the top floor. Sadi’s daughter Nora’s daybed, seen here, was built by Sadi and van Heusden and serves as both reading nook and guest bed for sleepovers. “My husband is not a carpenter,” Sadi says. “But we both design, so we drew up the calculations, and of course I know how to sew, so I did the curtains and slipcovers for the bed.” And the wallpaper is one of her own photographs, blown up, of the blooms she gathers from the market each week. Photo: Natasja Sadi

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