INSIGHTS_ Adriaan Tas & Lien Peeters

INSIGHTS_ Adriaan Tas & Lien Peeters - by Hannelore Veelaert for au pays des merveilles -5727

A little while ago I paid a visit to Adriaan Tas and Lien Peeters’ stunning home in Brussels.  Just like one of the previous Insights subjects, Adriaan and I met at Interieur Kortrijk, where he was presenting his shelving system Tschichold.  It’s hard not to love his work, so combined with a few teasers of their new home on the Instagram profile of his girlfriend Lien, I had more than enough reason to kindly ask if they wanted to share their home on this blog.

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Lucky for me, they respond with a very excited “Yes, of course!”  So a few weeks later, the friendly couple picked me up at the train station of Brussels South, which at the time was still crowded with military in the aftermath of the attacks on our capital.  Despite this strange arrival in the city, these two immediately made me feel welcome in their hometown and proudly guided me to their home while telling me more about their daily life.

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Graphic and furniture designer Adriaan is currently working in Ghent as a communication and project contributor, while Lien, who is an interior architect, spends her days at an interior company.  The couple loves to fill their free time with learning new things, ranging from drawing programs to wood working.  “I spend most of my day behind the computer screen,” Lien said, “so I love working with my hands after hours.  That’s why we’re taking this class in wood working together.

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INSIGHTS_ Adriaan Tas & Lien Peeters - by Hannelore Veelaert for au pays des merveilles -5822

Over a cup of coffee, they explained to me how they found this apartment.  “We had been looking for a place to rent in Brussels for quite some time, but were getting quite frustrated with constantly being disappointed with the space or being too late if we did like the apartment.  Combined with the high rent, this pushed us to change our mind from renting to buying.”  This apartment was right at the top of the first website Lien and Adriaan checked and they managed to be the first ones to take a look.  Only ten minutes later they had already said yes, that’s what you call love at first sight!

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The place did need a lot of work though, starting with new electricity.  Adriaan and Lien also demolished the original kitchen and swapped it for an Ikea design.  Being the creative couple that they are, they upgraded the regular Ikea kitchen with handmade doors and a beautiful counter top.  The toilet was moved to the bathroom to make room for the built-in cupboards.  Even though he doesn’t spend as much time in this beautiful kitchen as he’d like, Adriaan really enjoys cooking and trying out new dishes here.

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The original osb flooring formed the perfect base for a budget friendly oak floor.  A fresh coat of paint and new plinths were the finishing touch to this total make-over that took them only three weeks.  “Looking back, we might have approached it differently and thought about certain choices a little longer, but we really wanted to finish it during our three weeks of holidays and we did learn a lot from this project that will certainly come in handy if we ever move to a bigger home.”

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But first, they have  to finish the bathroom.  Lien can spend hours in the bathtub while analyzing the space and imagining its renovation.  “It’s the only space in the apartment we have yet to renovate”, she explained, “and Adriaan won’t allow me to change too many things about the rest of the apartment.  That’s why I’m focusing all my energy on the bathroom.  I think I’ve already imagined about a 100 different designs for this 4 m² space!”

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INSIGHTS_ Adriaan Tas & Lien Peeters - by Hannelore Veelaert for au pays des merveilles -5791

Curious about their workflow, I asked them what it’s like to work together as a couple of interior designers.  “It has been a challenge to work together and it often takes a while before we agree on a certain decision, but we always come to a compromise.  The only thing we keep debating on are the armchairs, we still disagree on placing them orthogonally or diagonally in the living room.”

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These two are hoping to own a creative business together some day, and I have no doubt they will succeed.  While their space and budget were limited, Adriaan and Lien have managed to turn this apartment into a peaceful oasis, filled with items they’re deeply in love with.  When I asked them which pieces are their favorites, they felt as if I was asking them to choose between their children. In a way this is the case, as this home was so carefully designed by the two of them.

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The shelving system in the living room is a creation of Adriaan named Tschichold and combines his background in graphic design with his most recent studies in furniture design.  Tschichold was designed to present graphical work and follows the principles of print work.  INSIGHTS_ Adriaan Tas & Lien Peeters - by Hannelore Veelaert for au pays des merveilles -5752

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Just like the lay-out of a page in a book, where images and text are placed in a grid and can be changed at any moment without disturbing the architecture of the page, the shelves can be swapped for a different design.  It takes in account different kinds of print work; there’s space to hang newspapers, store files and present your coffee table books.

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Another piece Adriaan designed is the Hopfer coffee table, inspired by the process of etching and named after Daniel Hopfer, a German artist who is widely believed to have been the first to use etching in printmaking.  To create an etched print, a metal plate is first engraved and is then used to print the image.  For this coffee table, Adriaan has used that metal plate as a table top for their coffee table and to create the framed poster.

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“We don’t see our apartment as having a specific style, for us it’s a collage of different things, a white box filled with things we love.  Some of them come from interior shops, others from thrift stores, some we made ourselves and some are created by our friends, such as the fruit bowl by Luca Beel.”

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“For us, a home needs a growing process to become an actual home.  Unfortunately the space we have is rather limited, so we often have to make tough choices.  We have a rule that if something comes in, something goes out, even though we have to admit that we don’t always succeed in following it.”  While their space certainly is limited, the apartment doesn’t feel stuffed or overcrowded.  This duo has mastered that perfect balance resulting in a rather minimalist yet cosy interior, where you immediately feel at home.

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In awe of their beautiful furniture and decoration, I asked them for their favorite interior shops.  Adriaan answered me that he prefers running into interior items by accident instead of looking for them on purpose.  “We never consciously went shopping for furniture, only for the practical items.  Often we impulsively buy something immediately when we see it, and afterwards we move it around the house until we find the perfect spot.  We do have to pay attention to our budget though.” 

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Lien prefers scoring thrift markets and vintage sales for good finds, or shopping at The Recollection in Antwerp and I-object in Ghent, two stores with a beautiful selection and atypical brands.  Adriaan advises to spend a lot of time strolling through fairs and shops, and to think about plant shops and young designers as well when creating your interior.  “Don’t buy everything at the same time because you need it right away”, Lien added, “start looking for things beforehand.  An interior needs to grow and can’t be finished in one day!”

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Being interior designers, they are constantly triggered with inspiration, not only by the things they come across but also by the space they’re working with.  Adriaan said: “Inspiration is not something I go looking for on purpose, but I’m often surprised by well thought out solutions and objects at unexpected places.”  Lien enjoys reading magazines and interior books (she recommends those by publisher Luster) to get some insight in the homes of other people. “I find it really interesting to see how they approach a certain space, especially if they seem to have found the right solution.  Reading about the story behind it makes it even better.”

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When I asked the couple about their dreams for the future, they told me about their wish to live in a pavilion with an atelier.  Ideally, this pavilion would be surrounded by green while being located in the city, as they adore living in Brussels.  “Every day we discover new places and people here, while Brussels doesn’t try to be hip like some other cities.  We enjoy the many impressions to take in and the fact that here, you can be totally anonymous.”  It’s obvious these two adore living in their apartment in Belgian’s capital, and while they’re imagining their bigger and better dream home, the duo mentioned how hard it would be to leave this home behind.  “Maybe we can rent it out as an Airbnb if it ever comes that far!” Lien suggested.   As far as I can tell, I don’t think they’ll have any problems finding guests, I know I would love to come home to this serene apartment after a day of exploring Brussels…

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Adriaan Tas - website - facebook - instagram
Lien Peeters - instagram 

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4 Comments

  1. Ineke / hush-e June 12, 2016

    WAUW! Gewoon wauw!

    Reply
  2. Tinne June 15, 2016

    wat een droomhuis! ben echt fan van het keukenblad! top :)

    Reply
  3. Vema-En June 16, 2016

    I love this design! So modern, fresh and cosy!

    Reply
  4. alex Winnepenninckx October 27, 2016

    Proficiat met jullie mooie inrichting!

    Reply

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