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Belgian Inspiration

by habituallychic

09 . 09 . 08

Someone recently suggested that I should visit Antwerp so I’ve been considering it just so I can figure out for myself why a little country has such a large influence on the world of design. I’m also attending a fashion week party for a Belgian fashion designer tomorrow night. Maybe that will give me a little insight. I was also recently looking at a home designed by Kay Douglass in the south that was influenced by Belgian design and Axel Vervoordt that was published in the October 2007 issue of House Beautiful. There is something about this look that seems perfect for fall. I can just picture sitting in one of these rooms on a chilly day in front of a roaring fire.

The sunroom with its brown slip covered chaises and windows dressed in Belgian linen is one of my favorite looks in this home. I love how the bright yellow metal antique table, art and pillows provide pop of color.
Wood and linen seem to be hallmarks of Belgian design and in the family room that is accomplished with a media console hidden behind huge doors, a natural wood coffee table and linen upholstery.

Belgian style also always seems to be clean and spare but yet incorporate interesting antiques such as here in the entry.

“In the dining room, the unexpected textures of the raw wood ceiling and timeworn Belgian dining table add a lived-in European romance. Mirrors are custom-made to seem “crusty and old,” says Douglass, and curtains are crisp oyster-colored silk from J. Robert Scott.”

The dining table looks like still life out of a Jan van Eyck painting!

The chairs in the kitchen are Chinese but somehow seem to work with the design perfectly.

“The steely severity of industrial materials played against warm wood tones is something Douglass often sees in Belgian interiors. That aesthetic inspired her placement of Circa Lighting’s industrial pendant lamps over the kitchen island and her use of metal tiles from the Walker Zanger Metallismo Collection for the backsplashes.”

“In the master bedroom, an antique door is the headboard, a trick Douglass often uses to add interest while taking up less space in the room. Ivy-patterned pillowcases are custom-made from Galbraith & Paul fabric. The pair of Earl chairs are from South of Market. Walls are Seapearl by Benjamin Moore.” I don’t know that I would have ever thought of putting chairs like that at the end of a bed but they also work perfectly. I really love the pops of orange too.

The orange color flows into the master bathroom and plays well off the pale walls and dark floors.

At the stairway landing, outdoor-style half shutters dress the windows, as in a European house and definitely give it a Belgian feel. Now if I could just understand Ann Demeulemeester’s designs, I’d be well on my way to figuring out Antwerp and Belgium’s design influence!

Comments Closed

  1. S. Adler September 9, 2008 | 10:58 pm

    Sculptural — I think this describes Ann Demeulemeester and Vervoordt.

    There is a minimal/sparse feel to Vervoordt’s rooms which I rarely see in any of the rooms that are compared to his or said to be influenced by his work. I feel insecure about declaring this, as my knowledge of his work is extremely limited. I only own his first book and have not looked at it recently. The spaces you show are lovely but Vervoordt takes it all to another level.

    I enjoy your blog and look forward to your posts each day.

  2. Fernando Rodriguez September 9, 2008 | 11:13 pm

    antwerp’s a real nice place, real quiet and maybe a little stuck in time (a good thing). a lot of things there to see, great museums, great chocolate and waffles (haha). but they are many good quiet things. and close to brussels too (also an okay place), only a 30 to 40 minute rail ride away.

  3. Vie Chaotique September 9, 2008 | 11:41 pm

    That console table in the first shot is to die for. Love it all! I have been to Antwerp too — tons of great antique shops.

  4. Ann September 10, 2008 | 2:40 am

    OMG the woods there are drool-worthy especially the console table on the first photo and the lovely charming doors. Nice images.

  5. pve design September 10, 2008 | 10:54 am

    You really must go. I love everything Belgian, especially the chocolate.
    I am ready to move right into these photos.

  6. Brilliant Asylum September 10, 2008 | 3:47 pm

    Do you know who did the painting in the sunroom? It looks like a Helen Durant.

  7. vicki archer September 10, 2008 | 4:00 pm

    After seeing your post – I would like to go to Antwerp myself. The images are wonderful.

  8. Sir Fopling Flutter September 10, 2008 | 6:55 pm

    Antwerp is a great place. Not a huge city, but a wonderful mix of traditional Flemish and modern cosmopolitan. It’s a big antiques centre, with a lot of very high end shops as well as plenty of low to mid range places.

    I’m also a fan of Brussels – it’s a very underrated city.

  9. meg September 10, 2008 | 11:34 pm

    first off I must say that I love your blog..I am in the process of a total gut/remodel of my home and so have been pouring through the internet for ideas. I dog eared this issue of house beautiful back when it came out in Oct. I have also purchased a few books published in belgium from betaplus publishing…great stuff. I am now trying to hunt down a dealer in the us who sells the belgian bluestone that is in the foyer of this home..well not the EXACT tile but something similar..I have been looking at slate but it is not as inspiring as these photos! Thanks for all the inspiration.

  10. katiedid September 11, 2008 | 7:51 pm

    Nice roundup of Belgian design. I love the simplicity of it. It makes each peice look more important, a bit like sculpture.

  11. gail September 11, 2008 | 11:36 pm

    What beautiful pictures! If you go to Antwerp, there is a very small, very special store that sells only gloves – every color, every type of leather, amazing designs. Trying on the gloves is an experience all its own!

  12. Brooke Giannetti September 12, 2008 | 2:57 pm

    I love the look of this home. We are trying to do the same kind of thing.
    Check out our site.

  13. Kierstin Bridger September 12, 2008 | 4:14 pm

    I blogged about axel too!
    Belgian design. who knew.
    It’s such a great marriage of , modern, rustic, refined living!

  14. s. September 14, 2008 | 4:20 am

    Lived in Paris for years. French style is nothing compared to that of the Belgians. Stayed in a stunning Belgian hotel a few times – the website is: http://www.hotelorangerie.com/

  15. Betises_lau (at) hot mail . com September 17, 2008 | 11:00 am

    How nice to see my tiny country honored all across the globe and praised for its design! I could almost blush! When did we become so cool and trendy?

    One of the most influential aspect of our interiors is that we usually a strong sense of heritage. Half of my furniture is from my ancestors, and I know every piece’s history. Add that the light in Belgium is dull and sad and we long for a bit of comfort, while being simple people with a stong taste for quality. Those are all elements that influence decorating “à la belge”.

    ** If you come to Belgium, please do drop me an email and I’ll flood with tips and must-visits in Antwerp, Gent, Brugge and Brussels**