In the rural Belgian town of Smetlede, polycarbonate—a type of extra-strong plastic—is often used to sheathe porches and verandas. When architect Indra Janda designed what she calls a “garden room” on her parents’ estate, the humble, inexpensive, and easy-to-work-with material was a natural choice.
In 2010, Ike Udechuku and Kathryn Smith moved into a neoclassical house in the Saint-Gilles district and set out to create what Udechuku calls “a gallery of the living experience.” Several times a year, they partner with European galleries in presenting rare and choice furniture, objects, and art in their home. They live with the items they borrow—eating breakfast at a one-of-a-kind Danish dining table, sipping wine on an iconic sofa—and welcome collectors and visitors into their home to experience (and purchase) design icons in situ. “These pieces are intended by their makers to be used, not to be in a museum,” says Udechuku.
Yves Borghs and Katleen van Ammel wanted their new house to offer maximum privacy but also maximum light. The solution proposed by Tom Verschueren, of Mechelen, Belgium-based DMVA Architects, was to create a closed street-side facade with an open backside facing the garden, totally glazed from the ground up to the saddleback roof. On the street side, the only true opening is the door; the seven tall, slim windows are screened by what Verschueren calls “knitted” bricks. “In this part of Belgium, 90 percent of the houses are built with brick,” says Verschueren. “It’s a classic material that we tried to use in House BVA in a totally different way.”
A pair of interior architects with a years-in-the-making furniture collection recast an old Belgian factory as a playful family home. The stars of the living room are a pair of pink Bird chairs by Harry Bertoia for Knoll. Both the marble-topped occasional table and the wood table are vintage, the antique rugs are from Morocco, a Low Pad chair by Jasper Morrison for Cappellini sits near the fireplace, and the brass-and-steel coffee table was designed by Poorter and Holdrinet.
When Belgian fashion retailer Nathalie Vandemoortele was seeking a new nest for her brood, she stumbled upon a fortresslike house in the countryside designed in 1972 by a pair of Ghent architects, Johan Raman and Fritz Schaffrath. While the Brutalist concrete architecture and petite but lush gardens suited her tastes to a tee, the interiors needed a few updates.