- Architecture & development
Modern and rural are adjectives that do not need to exclude one another, on the contrary. With Residence EB in ‘s-Gravenwezel, Belgium, Mieke Van Herck Architects has proven this in an attractive way. More specifically, it concerns an existing generous thatched country house that asked for a renovation. The quiet neighbourhood and giant garden were decisive elements that, as in all the team’s projects, are clearly present in the daily living experience.
The clients originally bought this villa as a coup de foudre. Even though the love was still going strong, the time had come by now for a thorough update that would intersperse the rural character with a modern emotional identity. At the studio of architect Mieke Van Herck searching for such a balance is one of their specialties, so the match between the parties soon turned out to be substantiated. A striking element in the architecture is the complementary pavilion that houses the kitchen on a floating platform. The combination works effortlessly, because the black afrormosia planking that was used as façade cladding functions as a handy binding element between the clean extension and the rural main building. Also special is how the new volume fuses with the covered terrace, complete with built-in barbecue. You cannot deny it: the residents are continually connected to both the indoor and outdoor areas and everything in between. Loyal to the rest of her portfolio, the architect made it an art to make the outside views omnipresent, for example with the spacious floor-to-ceiling kitchen window and the adjoining cupboard with incisions that let the daylight seep in. The living area was maximalised and elevated to a higher level with the use of magnificent materials such as marble and Pietra dei Medici natural stone. Bespoke veneer and neat details that contain a glimp of glamour complete the look. Naturally, all rooms astonish with their assets, although we do want to highlight the entrance hall and the extraordinary large seating area that you find here, as well as the understated but effective office where a bay window creates a nod to the original state of the property. From the first moment inside, soft shapes in the hall guarantee a sensation of well-being and comfort. In the night areas, the high standard was continued, of course. The master bedroom does not fall short at all to a luxury hotel suite, and the couple’s daughter finds privacy in her own lounge zone where she can always invite friends. While the villa remains anchored in a rural aesthetic, there is a clear dual play with modern living comfort and a contemporary style. A sea of space, both indoor and outdoor, makes every day a luxury experience that makes being at home valuable and relaxing.
A thorough update that intersperses the rural character with a modern emotional identity
Mieke Van Herck Architect again walked a unique middle road between two different styles, namely rural and modern. The residents can wholeheartedly enjoy the update of their life. There is no doubt that this villa will remain their home for many more years, as well as the calming nature that surrounds, accompanies, and strengthens the entire house.
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Photography by Annick Vernimmen