Modern Rustic #6

This family’s pared-back Belgian townhouse is the perfect place for a party

Get the look: To source a similar wrought-iron balustrade, try Arc Fabrications. For a matching warm white paint, check out Whitening by Little Greene.


A five-storey townhouse in the centre of Antwerp in Belgium. The owner has a design studio is on the ground floor. There’s a living room, dining room, kitchen and terrace on the first floor. The second floor has the owner’s bedroom, an en-suite bathroom and dressing room. another bedroom and en suite. A third bedroom, another bathroom and a WC are on the third floor. The upper level has two further bedrooms and a roof terrace.


With a glamorous staircase that’s just made for sweeping down (pictured above), wood floors ideal for dancing across and white walls that set off a designer dress to perfection, there couldn’t be a more perfect place for entertaining. But this stunning townhouse isn’t just a one-night wonder – it enjoys a 365-days-per-year existence as a family home and work space too.


The house dates back to the late 19th century, but wears its modern, multitasking persona well. The scale of the building helps – graceful floor-to-ceiling windows flood each room with light; high ceilings give its occupants space to breathe; floors seem to go on forever.

Every room in the house is used, so it still feels alive and warm even when the kids are away. The home owner opened it up to make the most of the light and original features, but also added soft fabrics and rich textures to ensure it stays cosy and inviting.

The dining room encapsulates a timeless look: a marble fireplace, modernist chairs and a contemporary table creating a serene and stylish space.

Get the look: The table is custom-made. See Another Country’s Dining Table Two for a similar design. These are Wishbone chairs by Hans J Wegner for Carl Hansen & Søn, available at The Conran Shop. For original marble fireplaces like this one, visit Chesney’s.


The townhouse has period proportions – floor-to-ceiling French windows open out on to a balcony.

As in the rest of the property, the floorboards were kept bare.

As the space is so vast, the curtains needed to be really long and heavy to suit the scale of the windows and the chairs had to be oversized so they didn’t get lost in a room.

Get the look: For full-length curtains like these, try Chelsea Textiles. Jim Lawrence sells similar metal curtain poles.

Books, photos and the spinning sails of a suspended mobile all add depth to the rooms.

The living room is left mostly uncluttered, with minimal furniture, so softness and colour was added by way of cushions, to help the space look more warm and inviting.

Get the look: The sofa, armchair and ottoman are by Axel Vervoordt. Try Content by Conran for a matching sofa and ottoman. See Ideas to Steal for a similar armchair. For soft furnishings in this style, visit Oka. Many of the accessories are from Belgian outlet Bea Items. Head to Anthropologie for a similarly eclectic selection.


This kitchen is long and narrow, but it was left in its original position, rather than being moved to a larger room. It’s really functional and the glass wall units and adjacent terrace add a sense of space.

Get the look: The cabinetry was designed by architect Vincent Van Duysen. Try Plain English for something similar. The work surface is Carrara marble. Find a match at Mandarin Stone. This is a Lacanche range cooker.


Panelled walls and light-coloured floors help frame a carefully selected edit of artwork and furniture. 

Get the look: These are Kilin armchairs by Sergio Rodrigues for Espasso. For a mobile like this, see the selection inspired by Alexander Calder at


Clever carpentry is the secret to this glamorous scheme. Double doors divide it from the bedroom, while inside, the ‘cupboards’ on either side of the bath conceal the loo and the shower.

Get the look: The en suite was designed by Vincent Van Duysen. For a Carrara marble bath surround like this, head to Stone Age.

More cabinetry provides storage for nail varnishes and make-up.


To create a timeless look, everything in this home was pared back, with just a very few materials recurring throughout – Carrara marble, unvarnished wood, glass – and a palette of black, white and taupe. The only bling is a gilt mirror on a marble fireplace.

Get the look: For a similar bed, try Heal’s. Habitat sells nests of tables.

The fireplace in the bedroom is blocked up, so it was filled with a collection of magazines. It keeps them out of the way, and adds a quietly quirky touch.

Get the look: For large gilt mirrors like this, visit Overmantels. This is the 4801 armchair in White by Joe Colombo for Kartell. For paper pompoms, visit RE.


Cladding the walls in tongue-and-groove panelling adds to the stripped-back feel. The inset basin is another clever touch.

Get the look: B&Q sells tongue-and-groove panelling. Try CP Hart for sleek bathroom furniture. For light-oak flooring, head to Ecora.


Kilim rugs brought back from Turkey add warmth and texture to the décor.

Get the look: For vintage kilim rugs, try Kalkan Trading. This is the KM05 stool by Cees Braakman for Pastoe, available at Viaduct.


Grey granite punctuated by huge panes of glass and wrought-iron balconies makes a grand impression. 

See more of this architect’s work at 

Photography / Paul Massey

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