This family’s pared-back Belgian townhouse is the perfect place for a party
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.
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.
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.
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.
Panelled walls and light-coloured floors help frame a carefully selected edit of artwork and furniture.
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.
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.
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.
Cladding the walls in tongue-and-groove panelling adds to the stripped-back feel. The inset basin is another clever touch.
Kilim rugs brought back from Turkey add warmth and texture to the décor.
Grey granite punctuated by huge panes of glass and wrought-iron balconies makes a grand impression.
See more of this architect’s work at vincentvanduysen.com
Photography / Paul Massey