EXPLORED_ The Bunkers in Knokke-Heist

B&B The Bunkers Knokke-Heist - Hannelore Veelaert for au pays des merveilles

When driving through the polders in Knokke-Heist, it’s Jonas Van Put’s Observer emerging above the horizon that confirms we’ve almost reached our destination.  Amidst the meadows, sprinkled with bunker ruins dating back to 1785 and the occasional flock of sheep or herd of cows, The Bunkers has found its place in a former barn that has been beautifully renovated by architects Govaerts and Vanhoutte.  While this historical site’s architecture is remarkable, the true protagonist of the experience is the wide view over the luscious green polders, only occasionally disturbed by a few trees or bunker ruins, one of which is now serving as a sheep stable.  Upon our arrival, it’s immediately clear: partner in crime Lies and I have sucessfully managed to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and our daily lives.

The Bunkers - Burkeldijk 18, 8300 Knokke-Heist - website - facebook - instagram - twitter

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FRAGMENTS_ my living room

my living room with parentesi lamp by flos - hannelore veelaert for aupaysdesmerveillesblog

After living here for 6 months, it’s about time I shared a little peek into my new apartment.    First up?  The living room.  While most rooms still need some work, this is the one room that feels the most finished.  A good thing, since it doubles as my entryway (yay for good first impressions) and it’s the one room where I spend the most time, whether it’s in company of my friends or relaxing with a good book or some Netflix on my own.

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COLLECTION_ interior inspiration

 

Since I moved from Leuven to Antwerp, five years ago, I’ve changed houses quite a few times.  First I lived in this room, in a house I shared with 4 others in the lovely Zurenborg neighborhood.  After two years, I felt the need to live on my own and moved into a small studio in the same neighborhood.    Less than a year later, my landlord decided to renovate the building and I was yet again in need of a new home.  I ended up in the lively neighborhood of Borgerhout, in  a slightly bigger apartment, with high ceilings and marble mantelpieces.  I loved this apartment, but it felt a little bit small for my interior experiments and I couldn’t get over the vinyl flooring with a fake hardwood print, a feature I decided to overlook since I was in need of a new home urgently.   That’s until my neighbors from across the hall let me know they were moving out of their apartment.  When I had a look around, I fell head over heels in love.  This place had the same high ceilings and marble mantelpieces that I loved so much, mixed up with hardwood floors, rooms that were much more spacious, an extra room that I could use as an office and an adorable balcony.   At a fairly reasonable price, the decision to move across the hall was made in a heartbeat.

So, a few months ago I moved into this new apartment and since then I’ve been collecting interior inspiration, moving things around and eyeing new pieces.   In my previous, smaller apartments, I had to choose furniture carefully, letting some pieces shine while others blended in, in order for the result to be balanced.  In my current home, it’s an entirely different story.   It’ll take a little while before I can show you the entire apartment as some rooms are more finished than others, but if you would like to see more images of my previous apartment in the meantime, let me know in the comments!  For the time being, I’ll keep moving things around, saving money for new furniture and daydreaming of this collection of interiors, where interesting pieces of furniture take the center stage.

  1. Designer Antonio Sciortino‘s home photographed by Serge Anton for, more images here.
  2. Interior designer Sally Breer‘s loft in Los Angles, photographed by Brigitte Sire.  See more here.
  3. Kitchen in Penthouse S Westkaai, designed by Hans Verstuyft.  See more of his work here.
  4. Art collector and gallerist Miquel Alzueta‘s home, photographed by Jonas Ingerstedt.  Discover the rest of his interior here.
  5. Stylist Thomas Lingsell‘s bedroom shot by Andy Liffner, see more of it here.
  6. The apartment of architect duo Festen, shot by Helenio Barbetta.  See the rest of their home here.
  7.  Source unknown, please let me know if you know where I can find more info about this gorgeous space!  View the full image here.
  8. Architect Ricardo Bofill‘s home and studio, also known as The Factory. (Photo courtesy of Ricardo Bofill.)  See more of his work here and discover the rest of The Factory here.
  9. Berlin apartment of Emmanuel De Bayser, owner of The Corner Berlin fashion boutique, shot by Manolo Yllera.  See more here.

EXPLORED_ Casa C’Alma in Lisbon

It doesn’t take much for me to feel at home in the city of Lisbon (I studied in the Portugese capital for five months and have visited countless times since), but Casa C’Alma feels exactly as the calm home that this guest house‘s name suggests.  Scandinavia meets Portugal in the mix of hardwood floors, white walls, an occasional dash of color, carefully chosen furniture, luscious plants, excellent selection of reading material and delicious Portuguese breakfast.  The cherry on the cake in this spacious apartment is a dreamy light blue kitchen, making it hard not to fall in love with this boutique bed and breakfast that feels like a breath of fresh air.  Yes, whether you want to retreat into the privacy of one of their serene bedrooms or enjoy the spacious common living room while chatting with your fellow guests, stepping into Casa C’Alma will always feel like a breath of fresh air.   Its location couldn’t be better either, with Copenhagen Coffee Lab (perfect if you’d like to stick with the Nordic atmosphere), bakery Tease and the shops of Principe Real only a few minutes away, making it an excellent starting point to explore the city.   For a good night’s sleep in the city center of Lisbon and a dose of Scandinavian interior inspiration, this is exactly where you want to be.

Casa C'Alma - Praça das Flores, 48 1° Floor,  1200-192 Lisbon - website - facebook - instagram - booking

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EXPLORED_ kind of OJ

EXPLORED_ Kind of OJ, a bed & breakfast in Bruges

When walking through the Guido Gezellelaan in Bruges, number 36 might not seem that different from its neighbors. Only a subtle sign – Kind of OJ – on the front door alerts you that something might be going on here. However, first looks can be deceiving. Once the front door of Kind of OJ opens, it’s instantly clear: this is nothing like your typical hotel in Bruges. The majestic hallway, where statues of half naked punks by Rotterdam design label Nightshop greet you, gives you just a first impression of all the wonders that are waiting here for you. Welcome to Kind of OJ: part bed and breakfast, part gallery, part showroom, and all kinds of surprising.

kind of OJ - Guido Gezellelaan 36, 8000 Brugge - website - facebook - instagram - pinterest - booking

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COLLECTION_ inspired by Line and Ben’s home

Last Sunday, I shared some INSIGHTS into the home of visual merchandiser Line and product designer Ben.  Needless to say: these two live in a home that’s styled to perfection.  How did they do it?  Two things come to mind when trying to describe this couple’s interior: plants and lots of deco.  Line’s soft spot for carefully curated corners comes with the job, so it’s no surprise that she’s gathered many deco items over the years. The pieces she’s hunted down with determination (the posters of King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola come to mind) combine beautifully with her accidental finds (like the bar cart she’d been dreaming about, which she finally found on the street) and form picture perfect settings in every corner of their home.  Intrigued?  I’ve collected a few items that’ll help you do the same, as long as you have fun with it!

  1. Pikaplant, get it here with a 5% discount code if you use the code AUPAYSDESMERVEILLES.
  2.  Dragonfly pillow, click it home here.
  3.  Glass hanging lamp, order it here.
  4.  Black grid photo frame, find it here.
  5.  Marble toothbrush holder, available here.
  6.  Geometric glass box, for sale here.
  7. Vintage cacti and succulents poster, buy it here with a 5% discount code if you use the code AUPAYSDESMERVEILLES.
  8.  Black wire magazine rack, currently on sale here.
  9. Concrete lamp socket, purchase it here.

INSIGHTS_ Line & Ben

When a mutual friend introduced me to Line, she said “If you’re looking for interiors to blog about, you should definitely have a look at hers!” A quick glance at Line’s Instagram profile proved she was right: every corner of Line and her boyfriend Ben’s apartment is styled to perfection. What else did you expect when a visual merchandiser and a product designer move in together? I invited myself over for a photoshoot, a talk and a healthy dose of “couple’s interior therapy”, as Ben described it at one point during our talk.

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WORK_ a seaside home by Edith Macken

It’s been quiet here lately, so I thought I’d share a little bit of what I’ve been up to.  A few weeks ago I shot a project by interior architect Edith Macken, who designed the renovation of a typical seaside home for two book lovers.  The result is a calm space filled with seaside colors, beautiful details and – of course – lots of interesting books.    Have a look at her website or instagram if you want to see more of Edith Macken’s work!

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INSIGHTS_ Lies Mertens

A few months ago, when I was escaping the renovations in my studio until I could move into my new apartment, my friend Lies Mertens welcomed me with open arms into her two bedroom flat in a quiet neighborhood in Antwerp.  The apartment, part of a 1930s art deco building that used to house a cinema, has undergone quite a renovation process before it turned into the cosy home and atelier that it is now.  With every visit to Lies’ home it became more and more clear that her home was the perfect candidate for an INSIGHTS interview, and this sleepover was the perfect time to do so.  However, sometimes life gets in the way of these interviews to get finished.  That’s why I’m sharing this shoot only now, after Lies has already redecorated her apartment about a dozen times, but more on that later.

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reset the table + giveway

There are few things I love more than delicious food and good company, so when Iittala asked me to host a dinner for my friends to highlight their Reset the table campaign, I didn’t have to think twice.  I invited Lies, Eline and Paulien, stocked up on flowers and wine, set the table with the dotted blue plates and light blue bowsl from Iittala’s Teema collection, complemented with items from their Kastehelmi collection. Pro tip from someone who’s clumsy and living on a budget: mixing and matching is the solution when you can’t afford to buy a whole set of tableware at once or when you happen to drop a plate once in a while, plus it gives your table setting an original twist!   Iittala understood and made sure that all of their tableware goes together, allowing you to create a set that matches your taste perfectly.  Good news by the way, you can win a set of Iittala tableware for two on my instagram right now!  (Or just buy them here.)

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