EXPLORED_ Thelma Coffee & Design in Leuven

EXPLORED_ Thelma coffee & design in Leuven-5

 If the combination of white walls and marble already makes your heart flutter, try adding some pink terrazzo and an abundance of plants to the mix and you’ll end up in the wonderful world of Thelma Coffee & Design in Leuven.  Former dentist Katrien Vandenberghe always had a passion for interior design and was already freelancing left and right for interior projects, when she decided to follow her dream.  As of today she is treating the city of Leuven to a new hangout that blends coffee, design and fashion into a perfect mix.  Thelma, named after her daughter, offers a collection of foremost Belgian and Scandinavian brands (with something for everybody’s budget) in a beautiful bright space, created with the help of Lino from that other Leuven gem Koffie & Staal.   After spending all your money on LN Knits, Sternum necklaces, Phyt plants (remember the beautiful home of owner Sofie?) and Serax, you can take a seat and enjoy a cup of Mok coffee, a bowl of soup or some granola.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, just take a look at the pictures below and you’ll find yet another reason to plan a visit to Leuven.   Need another push?  We’re handing out a gift card worth €50 on instagram!

Thelma Coffee & Design, Vaartstraat 12, 3000 Leuven - facebook - instagram

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WHERE TO GO IN LEUVEN

where to go in leuven via au pays des merveilles

After living in Leuven for five and a half years, I owed it to this tiny but lovely city to gather the best spots in town for a city guide.  Leuven might not be big, but it does have a lot to offer, whether you’re looking for modern or historical architecture, fashion, design, music, art or nature.  So pick a date for a visit and take this city guide along with you!  (As always there’s a helpful map at the end of this post and I’ll update this guide whenever I discover something new.)

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COLLECTION_ diy

collection diy via au pays des merveilles

If there’s one thing that makes me want to get crafty, it’s having a new place to decorate.  I’m craving some spare time to work on a few DIY projects to decorate my new studio, and these projects that I found through pinterest are a great source of inspiration.  I’m not tired of the marble trend yet and I’m particularly excited to experiment with copper pipes, as the possibilities seem to be endless.  To be continued, for sure!  In the meantime, check out my pinterest board for more diy inspiration!

  1. Mini copper and marble shelves by The Merrythought, find the tutorial here.
  2.  Pegboard by Fall for DIY, find the instructions here.
  3.  Neon letter light by I spy DIY, read the explanation here.
  4.  Hanging copper planter by A bubbly life, see the tutorial here.
  5.  Marble hexagon coasters by Homey Oh My, find out how to make them here.
  6.  Marble tray by Almost Makes Perfect, see the instructions here.
  7.  X-shaped coasters by François et Moi , read the how-to here.
  8.  Copper coffee maker by Homemade Modern, discover how to make it here.
  9.  Marble dipped vessels by Sugar & Cloth, find the tutorial here.

FRAGMENTS_ work/travail/arbeid

FRAGMENTS_ work travail arbeid - by Hannelore Veelaert via au pays des merveilles-1One of those little joys in life, to me at least, is picking up freshly developed photos.  The cashier handing that envelope over, your anticipation growing while you still have to pay, walking out the shop while trying to contain your curiosity, wondering how the photos of your endeavours turned out and which adventures you totally forgot about.

Ever since I started blogging again, I’ve been shooting less on film, which meant this particular roll of film took me quite a long time to finish and by the end I barely remembered what I had photographed in the past months.  One wonderful memory this roll of film brought to mind, was my visit to Wiels to see Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s  Work/Travail/Arbeid.  This particular project embodies a mix of an exposition and a performance, as she reinterpreted her work for Vortex Temporum to match the impressive space of the contemporary art institution Wiels.  Work/Travail/Arbeid was set up to be a nine hour performance where the dancers and musicians moved from space to space and that for nine weeks in a row.

I could have spent a whole day watching this performance, but I’ll have to do with the memories and these photos to relive this breathtaking experience.

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EXPLORED_ Kruidtuin in Leuven

EXPLORED_ kruidtuin in Leuven - by hannelore veelaert for au pays des merveilles

Even though I’ve lived in Leuven for more than 5 years, I somehow never managed to make it to the Kruidtuin, the city’s botanical garden.  When I recently spent a weekend in my student city with my friend Paulien, we had to pay a visit .  Leuven’s botanical garden is the oldest in the country, dating back to 1738, when it was founded by the university for its medicine students.  Nowadays the garden with its beautiful greenhouse and orangery is the perfect spot to escape the city, take a relaxing walk between the plants, have an indoor pick-nick in the orangery or simply enjoy the sun and the view on one of the garden’s benches.  A must if you’re spending some time in this city!  If a visit to Leuven isn’t for the near future, you can discover more botanical gardens I’ve blogged about here.

Kruidtuin, Kapucijnevoer 30, 3000 Leuven - website

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SUNDAZE_ Jarri Van der Haegen

SUNDAZE Jarri Van der Haegen - by hannelore veelaert for au pays des merveilles-27

If the name Jarri Van der Haegen doesn’t ring a bell, the name of his blog Disco Naïveté most certainly will.  For 6 years already, Disco Naïveté is the go-to place on the web if you want to know which music will be hot and happening in the future. It is remarkable how much this 25 year old accomplished through blogging, while still keeping both feet firmly planted on the ground and remembering that there’s more to life than work.

We met when Jarri organized the first vierkantwerpen meeting and I immediately knew he’d be the perfect candidate for another Sundaze blogpost, so I asked him to share a peek into his life and show me his favorite spots in the city.

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COLLECTION_ kitchens and dining rooms

COLLECTION kitchens and dining rooms via au pays des merveilles

As I mentioned before, I’ve recently moved into a tiny studio of my own.  Even though it sometimes feels as if I’m camping in my own home, I’m truly enjoying picking out furniture and decorating the place. One area I never really paid a lot of attention to (decoration-wise) in my previous homes, was the kitchen and the dining room, as these were always shared.  Now that I have a tiny kitchen of my own, I’ve been looking for inspiration on line and I’m in awe of all the beautiful spaces I’ve come across.  I’m renting my studio, so I can’t change a lot, but that doesn’t keep me from dreaming about pretty kitchens.  Take a look for yourself at my favorites (make sure you click through to the sources to find out more!) and if you want to see more, take a peek at my pinterest board here.

  1.  Lovely dining area with Tuckbox furniture.  (source)
  2.  Katrien van Doren from KOMAAN! Architecten designed this beautiful apartment in Antwerp for Caroline.  More photos by Lisa Van Damme here.
  3.  Mint green and copper in a kitchen by Ballingslov.  More photos can be found here.
  4. Standard Studio and CASA architecten turned the teachers lounge and a classroom of an a school building in Amsterdam into an apartment.  More info on archdaily.
  5.  Kitchen in Swedish interior design store Östlingh & Schedin.  More photos by Frida Ramstedt here.
  6.  Kitchen designed by Made architects and shot by Olmo Peeters.  More pictures and info on the architects’ website.
  7. Deli Hally’s, located in London, has a beautiful open kitchen with brick walls.  It is designed and owned by Alexander Evangelou and James Waterworth of London design firm Alexander Waterworth Interiors.  Find out more at Remodelista.  (Photo by Helen Cathcart.)
  8.  The beautiful loft of Jeanette Moncada and Mikul Eriksson houses this airy kitchen.  More photos by Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom on apartment therapy.
  9. The lovely home of  Kimberley Dhollander and Philippe Corthout, via de-dujes.  Photo by the talented home owners themselves. (You might know them from their instagram accounts porcelainhope and shortwood.)

FRAGMENTS_ Portugal

FRAGMENTS_ Portugal - by Hannelore Veelaert via au pays des merveilles-22While I’m writing this from my new home (more on that later!), my latest trip to already seems so far away even though it’s been only three weeks.  As you might have seen on instagram, I traveled to Portugal to spend Christmas with my family in my parents’ holiday home and to reconnect with old friends in Lisbon, where I studied one semester.  Together with my parents and sister, we enjoyed the view from their home (see the first photo, taken from my bedroom), explored medieval town Obidos and treated our dog and ourselves to a refreshing walk on the beach of Foz do Arelho.

In Lisbon I met up with Jaka to catch up on everything that happened since our last encounter, stroll through the beautiful streets of the city that I love so much, drink coffee, do some reading in my lovely room for the weekend, relax and discover new places such as Café Da Garagem, with its stunning windows that offer a breathtaking view over the city.  (Speaking of discovering new places: I’ve update my city guide for Lisbon with my latest discoveries!)

After handling deadlines at work and struggling a little bit with my health, I decided to bring my film camera instead of a digital one, to give myself a true break from daily life and enjoy this beautiful country that feels like my second home to the fullest.   Lisbon always manages to ease my mind, but being able to leave everything behind for a short week gave me the necessary energy right before  moving into a new place.

While I’m slowly getting settled into my new home, I’m looking forward to get back to regular blogging again, especially since I still have a ton of photos and an interesting interview to share… Soon!

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EXPLORED_ Kapitalist in Berlin

kapitalist - by hannelore veelaert via au pays des merveilles-13

While we were in Berlin, my friend Pieter and I were wandering through the Prenzlauer Berg with its overload of coffee bars, vintage shops and record stores, when we came across Kapitalist.  The beautiful terrace, bathing in that typical Berlin atmosphere, convinced us to sit down for a beer and gave us a little hint of the café’s interior.  Inside, there are lots of cozy nooks and corners where you can enjoy a coffee or a cocktail and a good conversation with your friends.    Located in the calmer part of the hip Oderberger Strasse, I’d recommend Kapitalist for a relaxed break from exploring this lively neighborhood.

Das Kapitalist, Oderberger Strasse 2, 10435 Berlin - facebook

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COLLECTION_ jewelry

collection_ jewelry - via au pays des merveilles

Lately I’ve been drawn to small but detailed silver and copper rings and earrings, accompanied by a statement necklace.  As my wallet doesn’t allow me to buy all the jewelry that catches my eye, I figured I’d share my favorites in a collection blog post, so I can hopefully make you happy with my discoveries!  These pieces of jewelry, all made by independent designers, would make beautiful Christmas presents for a loved one… or yourself.  I won’t judge!

  1. Dot dot dot chain earring from Anna + Nina, available here.
  2. Horizon ring from Rebecca Gladstone, find it here.
  3. Ursa necklace in black by Sternum, buy it online here or in Antwerp in the Ik Koop Belgisch Brand Store.
  4. Thin open ring by StefanieSheehan, get it here.
  5. Curved bar ear climber from UndergroundDesigns, for sale here.
  6. Double Beaded New Moon studs by Nimzu, find them online here or in Antwerp in the Ik Koop Belgisch Brand Store.
  7. 3 moon phases earpins from Fashionology, purchase them here.
  8. Arma skinny ring from Paper & Chain, get it here.
  9. Line hoop earrings by ag.Jc, buy them here.
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