Belgian Inspiration

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!

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