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Archive for the ‘belgian design’ Category

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 fromĀ 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 dealersĀ 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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