It’s quite easy to get preoccupied with the US when celebrating mid-century style homes. So, it’s nice to turn to something elsewhere in the world. In this case to the Lowlands of Western Europe. More specifically, Belgium.
Built recently by Brugge-based firm Govaert & Vanhoutte Architects, the VDB House is located just outside the Belgian city of Ghent.
The first thing you’ll probably notice about the house is that it’s utterly immaculate, with clean lines and right angles throughout. Take for instance, the border between the grass and the decking at the back of the house, just three neat turns to make it round the pool house.
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Similarly, the border between the pool and the marble floor beside it, has the separation between different slabs of marble barely perceptible, so as to create the impression of two equally-sized rectangles of off white and light blue.
And finally, the three (or four if you count the hedge) rectangles arranged in front of the wood grill that runs along the side of the house, offering a minimal composition to rival the best constructivist painting.
Carrying on the theme, inside ornament has been stripped down to a bare minimum (if there is any at all). The fireplace in the living area has those rectangles again, three wood panels and two in place, with the fire in the middle.
Striking, also, in this is the fact that the interior doesn’t come across as overly cold or lifeless. In the case of the living area, having the seating bunched around quite closely around a rug and coffee table are quite cosy. The effect is instructive for any interior designer reluctant to go minimal, since the effect doesn’t always have to be chilly.
Photo by Mariko Reed