FRAGMENTS_ the french west coast

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Our road trip from last summer brought us to the french west coast after we visited the impressive villa cavrois.  We barely made any plans for this trip (we literally decided one day ahead that we’d drive through France), but Etretat was on the top of our list right from the start. With its stunning cliffs (including several natural arches) it is a however one of the most popular destinations at the french west coast for tourists.  We had no desire to spend our night among the crowd, so we headed to a camping that still had a spot for our tent in the nearby village of Yport.  Boy, was that a good choice!  The campsite (and thus our tent) turned out to have a breathtaking view over Yport and its beach.  We spent our days here reading, indulging in crêpes and baguettes and exploring the beach and the typical French village, before we headed to Paris.  However, that’s for another post.  For now, I hope you enjoy these photos of our stay.  More photos of our trip can be found here on the blog or here on instagram.  Are you inspired yet to take a trip to the french west coast yourself?

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WORK_ Terra

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“Terra” was one of the winning entries of the SPACES competition for the Interior Biennale of Kortrijk 2016.  TRANS aimed to gather people around food and thus designed a simple rectangular bar made out of concrete and wood, where mushrooms take the center stage.  I was asked by TRANS to photograph their bar and was quite impressed with their work and they way the public interacted with it.  Passersby seemed to be drawn to the field of mushrooms and stopping to smell them was no exceptional behavior.

Speaking of work, I’ve recently decided to take a little break from working in architecture and focus on my photography, interior projects and the blog instead.  I’m really excited about this new turn (and a little nervous I’ll admit) and I can’t wait to see how this evolves… Stay tuned!

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COLLECTION_ all of the lights

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As most of you might have already caught on instagram or facebook, I’ve recently had to move out of my studio due to some unforeseen circumstances.  However, I’ve found a lovely apartment, in a much quieter neighborhood, with a separate bedroom (one that doesn’t double as an entryway!) and with a lot more space to decorate.  This time I don’t need to invest in as many new pieces as after my last move, and I’m quite enjoying the fact that my pieces of furniture have more space to shine now.  However, one thing that I do miss is some mood lighting.  As it turns out, I only own three of these IKEA Ranarp lamps, which is not enough to provide an entire apartment of some cosy light.  So far, I’ve been rethinking a DIY that was meant for my previous home (more on that one later, for sure!) and I’ve collected my favorite table lamps and wall lamps (and I couldn’t resist to squeeze in two gorgeous pendant lamps as well…) from my pinterest. Obviously I can’t buy all of these, so I still have some thinking to do.  Which one is your favorite?

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FRAGMENTS_ villa cavrois

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This summer, my friend Lies and I opted for a budget holiday, driving with our tent through the North of France, exploring both architecture and nature, while ending with a bit more luxury in Paris (hello hotel panache!), where we would meet up with our friend Eline.  The first stop on this roadtrip was Villa Cavrois, an impressive modernist mansion  located in Croix, just over the Belgian border.  This “modern château” was designed in 1929 by Robert Mallet-Stevens for the wealthy Paul Cavrois (a textile industrial), his wife Lucie and their seven children.  The architect also designed the entire interior of this 2800 m² mansion, and opted for luxurious materials such as marble and precious wood, while never losing sight of functionality.  However, after being occupied by the German army during world war II and an unsuccesful architectural intervention, Villa Cavrois was abandonned and vandalized.  Luckily the French state realized the value of this building and bought the property in 2001, with the goal of restoring it to its former glory.  13 years (!) of research and 23 million euro (!) later, Villa Cavrois is restored back into its original state of 1932 and open to the public. 

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WHERE TO GO IN COLOGNE

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Last summer I spent a couple days in Cologne all by myself.  You’ve already seen fragments of that trip on the blog and my instagram, but today I wanted to share my favorite spots in this lovely German city.  I collected tips from friends and other bloggers beforehand, so in the map at the bottom of this post you’ll find a lot more places than I possibly could try in those three days but would love to explore during another visit to Cologne!

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FRAGMENTS_ botanical garden in Cologne

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It’s no secret that I’m rather fond of botanical gardens, so it shouldn’t surprise you that when I planned to visit Cologne, the first thing I looked up was if the city had a botanical garden.  Wandering through the lush gardens, exploring its stunning greenhouses and reading while enjoying these exotic vies turned out to be a perfect way to spend my afternoon.   What can I say, I just never get tired of botanical gardens!  So here are a few fragments of Cologne’s most peaceful hideaway, hopefully this dose of greenery brightens your Sunday!

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INSIGHTS_ Miguel & Lisa

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When I arrived at the front door of this Brussels based couple, Miguel en Lisa were still on their way home and I had to wait on their doorstep for a while.  Luckily the sun was shining and the duo had a good reason for being late: the plant and flowers they bought on the market turned out to be rather difficult to transport on their bikes.  The sunlit apartment they inhabit is a Walhalla for plant lovers, but these two always have room for another green friend.  With huge windows on both sides of the living room and their green fingers, it’s no surprise that plants thrive in here.

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EXPLORED_ Hart en Ziel in Antwerp

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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

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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.

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FRAGMENTS_ Kolumba

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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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