Hey guys! It’s Holly Marder and I’m back again this month to take you through another inspiring interior for my Homes with Heart column. This month, I’m excited to introduce you to Dutch designer Christian Kocx, whose beautiful home in Belgium was the subject behind my lens in late October. Blending the home’s original, classical features with his minimalist sense of style, this home intrigued me from the moment I stepped inside. Let’s take a look around, shall we?
Christian and his partner Isabel Dooms have called this 1925 historic Turnhout, Belgium, property home since they purchased it back in 2007, sharing it with their three children Mathias, Charlotte and Floris. “When we saw the house for the first time we fell in love with the façade, and when we entered the hallway we where blown away by all the details and the character of it all.” The property’s opulent Jugendstill details, are offset by contemporary elements which the couple brought in “to balance the palette”.
“My style is a mix of classical and contemporary details,” explains Christian. “This creates an interesting dialogue in which both get to have an equal say. They strengthen each other and create a balance. Like ying and yang or black and white. By keeping the colour scheme simple, all the attention goes to the architectural details.” The home’s interior employs a minimal colour palette of black, white, grey and touches of brass throughout, with the entryway tiling and accessories in their contemporary loft living room the only hints of colour used. “I like to use colour to the accentuate the detail in my home, and it’s also the element that connects both of the styles,” Christian says.
The house offered several attractive qualities already, which, though work needed to be done to the property, were a huge selling point. “Thankfully, all the original details were preserved,” Christian says. “We loved the history of it. We added our own contemporary touch with respect for the building.”
The couple had to replace the roof and at the same time, created a contemporary family loft filled with natural light. “It’s a nice contrast to the dark, historic part of the 1925 home.” In this large and light space featuring exposed wooden beams, a floor to ceiling bookcase fills one side of the room, concealing the television. Not to detract from the architectural details, a contemporary grey sofa and simplistic white sideboard are practical options for this family space. The brass side table by Rijuch and marble topped side table by Zuiver echo the opulence seen throughout the rest of the house. Cushions by Hay and Ferm Living add a dash of colour. The side chair is by Peli Design, with a home made cushion from Ikea fabric.
The entrance of the four-story house features original Jugendstill tiling in a muted colour palette, offering the only spattering of colour seen in the lower part of the house. The hallway is in fact one of the couple’s favourite parts of their home, alongside the lofty attic upstairs. They have offset the home’s classical features with a contemporary white console and a large antique chandelier which once belonged to Isabel’s parents. He rescued it from the attic and it now serves as an eye-catching object in their home’s entryway.
Furnishing their home has been an organic process that both Isabel and Christian have enjoyed. “By taking time to find just the right pieces of furniture and accessories, one item is added now and again creating a ‘new’ interior every time,” Christian says. “I can find so much joy in finding just that right piece to complete our interior. The most important is creating a home filled with objects the whole family can enjoy!”
For his period home, Christian has also created several items of furniture himself that form the basis of their contemporary classic aesthetic. The dining table was his own creation, a clean lined modern piece flanking a classical marble fireplace and antique writing desk. His highly modern table and chair set allows the centuries-old antiques to take centre stage, whilst offering the larger space striking contrast.
Christian, a graduate from The Design Academy Eindhoven also designs a range of interior accessories with his label Mooi Goed. “I designed the Mooi Goed collection with the thought that I would like to have it in my own interior. The collection is, just like my interior, a mix of contemporary and classical details.” His minimalistic candle holders adorn the classical fireplace, amid ornate antique brass mirrors and marble, creating the contrast that Christian loves.
With a keen eye for design and a penchant for historical styles, a family friendly abode however is at the top of his agenda. “The most important is creating something the whole family loves living in. Practical and pretty. I can say that’s not always simple, but when I get it right I can enjoy it twice as much!”
I hope you guys enjoyed this peek inside this truly beautiful home. I wish you all a prosperous 2015! Looking forward to taking you through more lovely interiors this year here on decor8! – Holly
(Photography and Text by Holly Marder / Food styling: Ajda Mehmet)