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Archive for the ‘belgian design’ Category

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Happily, my 2013 March/April Veranda arrived the other day! This romantic spring issue, accompanied by the slow but steady snow melt outside my window, reminds me that greener grass and tulips are just around the corner. One of my favorite interiors is the Houston home of designer Pamela Pierce. Re-imagined with cleaner lines and a more edited mix of modern & antique pieces, she has successfully composed a stunning new space to reflect her newfound aesthetic. Ruffled hems are updated with sleek white linen slipcovers creating sculptural forms that appear to float atop her 19th century rustic wood floors. Thoughtful juxtapositions include Frank Gehry’s iconic cardboard Wiggle Chair perched next to a 19th century elm table and antique rolled-arm English sofa. Her impeccable eye for color and texture allows each piece its own breathing room yet they work effortlessly together, as if to tell us one cohesive story. The photos in today’s post are from the Veranda spread along with some beauties from her design portfolio. Click here to learn more about this amazing transformation!

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Photography by Lauren Resen for Veranda

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Photographs from Pamela Pierce Designs

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artful editing, earthy neutrals, natural linens, effortless sophistication…

photos from Darryl Carter

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a romantic roaring fire, aged stone surfaces, rustic wood beams, luscious textiles, relaxed elegance…

photos from John Saladino

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With all things Belgian on my mind, I couldn’t help but be reminded of one of my long time favorite designers, Bobby McAlpine…when I look at a McAlpine, Booth & Ferrier interior, I feel as if I am home…always inviting, soothing and romantic, they hold a special place in my heart and mind…this spread of Bobby McApline’s Montgomery Alabama home, from Veranda March-April 2003, has been a great source of inspiration over the years and happily, it is filled with many Belgian influences!  Artfully textured walls, sumptuous fabrics, a carefully edited palette, honed stone finishes, simply divine wood paneling and cabinetry, all accompanied by the perfect mix of antiques and newly upholstered pieces…gorgeous! Also, how fabulous are the chairs in the photo below! Almost like people having a conversation…different shapes, sizes and personalities, thoughtfully united by his choice of fabrics and finishes…amazing that this interior is almost 10 years old…it feels as though it could have been designed today (of course that is the sign of a great designer!) Enjoy!

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above, Aphrodite Anadyomene, Greek, Hellenistic Period, 3rd-1st century BC ~ Axel Vervoordt from TEFAF Maastricht 2011

He influences and inspires the way we think about and see the world around us…his aesthetic is studied and followed by the most accomplished architects and interior designers in the world…his philosophical approach to the way one lives and interacts with their environment has changed the face of interior design as we know it…the person, Axel Vervoordt…”Regarded as one of the most original and adventurous collectors and dealers of our time, he considers himself an eclectic collector and dealer, who treasures the timeless and disdains the trendy.” Behind each masterful composition, he fuses his profound knowledge of art history and applied arts with an artist’s eye for balance, scale and proportion, thus creating exquisite spaces filled with timeless beauty…I’m humbled and honored to share with you these images from Axel Vervoordt’s 50-room castle near Antwerp…please enjoy his skillful and sensitive juxtaposition of antiques and art ~ from contemporary to 18th century to ancient Egypt…may you be inspired by this Belgian masterpiece

“Vervoordt cites three main strands of influence in his work. The first is that of contemporary and oriental art and arte povera, which to him signifies the importance of a life of meditation, empty space, a love and respect of nature and of human existence. The second is architecture, which represents proportion, balance and harmony, such as one might find in an 18th century library. The third strand is the baroque, either gilded and courtly, or more.” ~ photos and resources from Axel Vervoordt

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Just the other day, I received a lovely comment from a fellow blogger…the best part, I am a fan of hers! Greet Lefevre writes a beautifully inspiring blog called Belgian Pearls…I discovered her well over a year ago and have been following her ever since…I never thought she would discover me! What an incredible gift! So today’s post is extra special because I know she is on the other side of the Atlantic reading this…

Let me begin by saying I LOVE Belgian design and what is represents…in two words, effortless sophistication…it’s easy and relaxed yet at the same time celebrates a deep respect for the past…soft, sumptuous linen fabrics, natural woods with an aged patina, honed stone surfaces, carefully chosen antiques, earthy neutral palettes…every design element is beautiful in and of itself…fuse them together, and you have the makings of a masterful timeless environment…and don’t think the design world hasn’t noticed the versatility and allure of Belgian design…the best of the best have embraced this aesthetic…from Washington DC designer Darryl Carter to the re-imagined line of Belgian inspired furniture by Restoration Hardware, we are seeing Belgian influences everywhere we look…I couldn’t be more excited to share with you these mouth watering interiors designed by Lefevre Interiors, a fourth generation family owned business of cabinetmakers run by Greet and her husband…straight from Belgium, these interiors express the essence of Belgian design…please take time to enjoy the details…thank you Greet for inspiring me with your thoughtful eye…

above and below ~ photos from Tijdloos, spring 2010

Be sure to check out Greet’s blog Belgian Pearls!

below ~ photos from Les Antiquites dans la maison contemporaine 2010

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This is a busy time of year for art and antique lovers! As I write this post, the 2011 TEFAF, The European Fine Art Fair, in Maastricht is in full swing and in just six days, the 2011 Eurantica Fine Art and Antiques Fair in Brussels will be underway. To whet our appetite, I’ve included seven beautiful images from the 2010 Eurantica Antiques Fair in Brussels featuring antiques from Brigitte and Alain Garnier. Representing the fifth generation of a family that has operated an antiques auction house since 1874, Alain brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the business of buying and selling antiques. I hope, someday soon, I can experience this beauty in person. Who knows, maybe 2012?

photos from Brigitte and Alain Garnier

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above, photo from Nest, December 2010, Number 66

To begin today’s post, I thought I’d share with you an odd coincidence I experienced last night…at the time, I was struggling with the Dutch translation of three articles and thought to myself, there must be a story published in English about the Garnier’s and their extraordinary home…just as I was falling asleep, I noticed a google search mentioning the March 2011 Veranda…could it be? I thought I was hallucinating, as it was late and my eyes were weary…to my surprise and cheerful delight, it was true! What a wonderful reward after days of trying to translate Dutch! I immediately read the article in my March issue of Veranda, soaking up everything about the eleven year restoration of this Belgian home. The most bizarre coincidence comes with the title of the Veranda article, “Belgian Beauty”…I had named and re-named yesterday’s post about four times before finally deciding on “a belgian beauty”…hmmm…I guess it was out there in the universe and I channelled it into my subconscious!

If you are a Veranda subscriber and have yet to read the article, no worries, the photos in today’s post are from three different publications and will only enhance your experience. What I will share with you, from Veranda, is the story behind this passionate project! Eleven years ago, Brigitte and Alain Garnier purchased Vaucelleshop, a historic Flemish Estate located in walking distance of the Dutch border outside the medieval town of Damme. The country chateau dates back to 1275 when it became the outpost of the French Cistercian Abbaye de Vaucelles. Today, the Garnier’s look after eleven lucious acres of landscape in the lowlands near the sea, and continue to restore the seven historic buildings dating from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The kitchen, that I posted about yesterday, was actually a former pig barn! Interestingly, it is linked to the main structure with a windowed passageway! How romantic! The first building to undergo restoration was the 1876 farmhouse where grain had been stored above the living quarters. Stripped down to nothing more than four walls, Alain hired a restoration contractor and they essentially built a house in the house. Within the original brick walls they designed a new foundation, limestone walls and added a third floor. Amazing! One of their favorite creations is the sculptural cement and oak staircase Alain designed for the entrance hall (pictured above). Finished in gray brown chalk plaster, its dramatic curves echo the history of the abbey.

I love this quote from Alain eloquently describing his journey, “We had the patience and the passion to make this house…we put our lives and our souls into it”

below, photos from More than Classic, number 6, 2006

below, photos from Tijdloos (Timeless) number 12, Autumn 2009

factual resource, Veranda, March 2011

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Today’s post features a Belgian beauty, the kitchen of antique dealers Brigitte and Alain Garnier. I came upon this extraordinary interior while researching Belgian design and architecture. I was thrilled to discover the couple and their glorious company specializing in antiques, interior architecture, furniture design and more. With so much to share, I had a hard time deciding what to post first but once I laid eyes on this beauty, I knew this kitchen renovation would be a great place to start…

The article about the project is in Dutch but using Google translate, I was able to understand most of the details. Using historic materials and cherished antiques, Brigitte and Alain Garnier lovingly transformed a dilapidated barn into a one of a kind spacious kitchen. The countertops are 18th century French marble, complete with their original rough edges, and for the wall behind the stove, they choose the most jaw droppingly beautiful black Moroccan tiles. Wow! The rustic floors, original wood beams and natural wood cabinetry blend effortlessly with the aged marble and clean white walls. Please enjoy this thoughtful renovation!

photos from Beta Plus 2007, Bouwen met oude bouwmaterlalen (Built with Old Materials)

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For part eight of my Sunday tradition, I’m pleased to share with you another one of my cherished archives, the Belgian home of Edouard Vermeulen. Located in a pretty village outside Antwerp, the 18th century manor house, or gentilhommiere, is a 20 minute drive to Brussels where Edouard runs the couture house Natan (commissions include weddings dresses for the royal families of Belgian and Luxembourg). Working with expert builders and architects, Edouard designed and managed the twelve year restoration from start to finish. Majors changes to the property included restoration to the facade and construction of a new main entrance at the front of the house. For the interior palette, he stayed true to his fashion philosophy ~ “I prefer not to be surrounded by pattern, so I opted for a simple, contemporary look that is easy to live with, but also sympathetic to the age of the property.” Using reclaimed rather than modern materials, he was able to capture the spirit of the 18th century. The black and white marble floor tiles in the hall came from a chateau in the Loire Valley, and the boiseries in the salon were found locally. Please enjoy this lovely trip to the Belgian countryside…

photos and resources from British Homes and Gardens, July 2005

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