EXPLORED_ Hart en Ziel in Antwerp


When you step into Hart en Ziel, a brand new concept store tucked away in Antwerp’s most diverse neighborhood Borgerhout, you can’t help but smile at the abundance of green and beautiful objects.  And then you haven’t met the lovely owner Gitte Van Tilborg yet, who’ll surely bring a smile to your face.  After 15 years, she decided to follow her dream and open a concept store, filled with heart-warming and often handmade objects.  The result is appropriately called Hart en Ziel – that’s dutch for heart and soul – and offers all kinds of cute plants, greeting cards, naturally tanned sheep skins, home accessories and soon also flowers and furniture.  Hart en Ziel has something for everyone, for every budget and always with a story.  It’s still a work in progress, but  after only two weeks, it is already the go-to place for neighbors who need a gift for a loved one or who want to treat themselves.

But Gitte has bigger dreams than merely selling pretty things.  In the future, you’ll be able to follow workshops about drawing, knitting, mindfulness and anything that’s good for the heart and soul.  Moreover, artists will be able to display their work, use the back of the store as an atelier and meet their potential customers at the same time.

During my visit to Hart en Ziel, I’ve fallen in love with this beautiful new addition to the neighborhood, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.  If you’re as excited as I am about this hidden gem in Antwerp, I’ve got good news for you! We’ve decided to treat one lucky reader to the plant hanger (including plants!) at the bottom of this post.  Keep an eye on my instagram today to find out how you can win this eye catcher!

Hart en Ziel, Laar 12, 2140 Borgerhout - website - facebook - instagram

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COLLECTION_ Belgian design


This week I’m presenting you with my favorite new Belgian designs of late, ranging from 4 meter long tables to tiny hammocks for air plants.

  1. Siblings Glenn and Sylvie Buydaert launched their label Bultin about a year ago, with these minimal lamps as their rather stunning first collection.  More info here.
  2. Photographer and designer Luca beel creates gorgeous “Luca Bowls”.  More pictures here. (You might have seen them before in this INSIGHTS blogpost.)
  3. Axelle Vertommen saves old ironing boards and residual wood from the trash and turns them into these unique shelving systems.  Read more here.
  4. Nicole Brock designed this ingenious modular vanity table, including a detachable suitcase.  More info here.
  5. Nathalie Teugels stands for magnificent minimal furniture in steel and marble, all handmade by Nathalie herself.  This magazine side table is one of my favorites.  See more here.
  6. Leather accessory designer (and one of my best friends) Lies Mertens (you’ve seen her before on the blog here) designed this cute Hammock for the air plants of Phyt (which you’ve seen on the blog before here).  Buy it here.
  7. With The Lab Brewer, you can easily make your very own cold brew coffee or botanical gin, and impress your friends with your newly acquired brewing skills .  Get it here.
  8. This lovely mirror, called Dome, is designed by the Brussels based Hausmerk and made in Belgium.  Find it here.
  9. Studio Sergeant developed Alfons, a clever extendable table that can seat up to 16 people and extends in small steps, ensuring it fits any situation and any space.  Find out more here.








Ever since I set foot in Cologne’s Kolumba museum five years ago, I’ve been in awe with this architectural masterpiece by Peter Zumthor.  When I planned to spend a couple of days in Cologne this summer, the first thing that popped into my mind was that I’d be able to revisit the Kolumba, which I still remembered as one of the most impressive buildings I’ve visited.  Curious whether or not it’d live up to my memories, I couldn’t wait to pay this museum for religious art a second visit.  Built on the ruins of a gothic church, the building forms a stunning play on the contrast between old and new, light and dark, matte and reflective surfaces.  Needless to say,  I was not disappointed by my second visit at all. 

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FRAGMENTS_ KölnSkulptur #8

FRAGMENTS _ Kölnskulptur #8 - Hannelore Veelaert for au pays des merveilles

This summer, I felt the need to escape our little country on my own for a few days.  When choosing my destination, I was looking for something not too far away so I could easily reach it with blablacar, not too expensive, not too touristic and preferably not in France, as I already planned to go there a few days later.  Keeping all of this in mind and considering tips from friends, I decided on Cologne.  I had already been there five years ago during a school trip, to visit what has become one of my favorite buildings, but didn’t really remember the city itself.  Cologne turned out to be wonderful and exactly what I needed. (Would you like to see a city guide?) I enjoyed the sun (36 degrees!), sipped on iced lattes, wandered the beautiful green streets of the city, caught up on my reading, admired that favorite building for the second time (I’ll show you the photos in a blogpost soon) and visited the most beautiful musea Cologne had to offer.  One of those was the Skulpturenpark, a parc that hosts biennial series of sculpture exhibitions.  The current exhibition, KölnSkulptur #8 will be on show until June 2017 and made quite the impression on me.  With works by Dan Graham and Sou Fujimotto among others, it’s no surprise that I shot nearly a whole roll of film here.  I hope these fragments of my visit give you an accurate impression of the hours I’ve spent enjoying this beautiful parc.

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collection my home

After last week’s post about my interior, I received some questions about where to find certain items.  I collected them in this post, together with a few other of my personal favorites.  Hopefully you’ll be able to find the answer to all your questions here, but don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you’re still wondering about a certain item!

  1. Polar carpet by Zuiver. Get it here.
  2. Hanging planter by Bloomingville.  Buy it here.
  3. Light bulb by Sylvania.  Find it here.
  4. Copper lamp socket case. Purchase it here.
  5. Fox pillow by Zuiver.  Get your hands on it here.
  6. Miniature green house by Dille & Kamille. Unfortunately sold out here. (But maybe they can still help you out in their shops?)
  7. Tomado shelving system. Buy it here.
  8. Copper kitchen tools.  Order them here and here.
  9. Berber pillow by Malagoon.  Get your hands on it here.

INSIGHTS_ my home

INSIGHTS - Hannelore Veelaert for au pays des merveilles and ikea-6280

After all that teasing, I’m finally sharing the last post about my ikea x au pays des merveilles collab today!   As you may remember, I was sharing a house before, which had its perks, but after sharing homes for the past 7 years, I really felt the need for a place of my own.  So once I found a job, I kept an eye on the ads and after 6 months or so I finally found that dream place.  With a limited budget (I’m still only an intern after all) it wasn’t easy, but I managed to find a charming place in my old neighborhood of Zurenborg.

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INSIGHTS_ furnishing my home

INSIGHTS furnishing my home - hannelore veelaert for au pays des merveilles

In this second post about my collab with Ikea, I’d like to give you a closer look into my studio.  As you can see in the image above, it’s quite a small space, where you enter straight into the living and sleeping area, with a small bathroom and narrow kitchen on the left.  Despite the limited square meters and the lack of a separate bedroom, I immediately saw the potential of this studio: there are big windows on both sides of the space where light floods in thanks to the studio being located on the 4th floor and the arches divide the space into a sleeping and living area, while adding a bit of character.

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COLLECTION_ small homes

collection tiny homes via au pays des merveilles

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times before, I’ve finally moved into a place of my own this year.  After sharing a house with others for many years,I felt it was time to take the plunge and get my own apartment, so that’s what I did!  As of January, I’ve been living in a small studio in Antwerp and I’m totally thrilled about it.  Moving into a place of my own for the first time, also meant that I needed quite a few new items of furniture to turn this studio into my dream appartment.    With a little help from Ikea I’ve been trying to do exactly that, and this month I’ll be sharing the process on the blog.  Today I wanted to show a few inspirational images for small homes.  My studio is not big, nor does it have a separate bedroom, so it’s not that easy to achieve the rather minimal look that I adore, while still finding space for all my things.  I’ve lined up a few images of studio apartments that manage to combine different functions in one space while still looking clean (1 – 2 – 6 – 8 – 9) and others (3 – 4 – 5 – 7) that represent that clean look with a bohemian touch that I’d love to achieve.  Be sure to check back here next week for the next post in this ikea x au pays des merveilles project!

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EXPLORED_ Cantine in Vilvoorde

EXPLORED Firma - Hannelore Veelaert for au pays des merveilles-6128

Vilvoorde might not have the reputation of being the hippest of cities, one particular place is certainly trying to make up for that.  As part of co-working space Firma, Cantine is the place to be for a delicious lunch in a stunning decor.  Their carefully selected (vegetarian!) menu is complemented with daily specials and weekly suggestions, making sure that even the most regular visitor won’t get bored.  Besides food, Cantine also offers a selection of  lovely Vitra goodies, which will soon be expanded even further.  For those who can’t make it to Vilvoorde for lunch during the week, Cantine also hosts a tasty brunch every last Sunday of the month, invites you for an  after work drink (or two!), every second Thursday of the month, and you can even book this gorgeous space for a private dinner club.  And gorgeous it definitely is, but what else did you expect from the talented ladies of BRNSO. aka Baroness O.?

Cantine, Schaarbeeklei 636, 1800 Vilvoorde - website - facebook - instagram

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