Text by Ann Zimmerman / Photography by Scot Zimmerman
The traditional kitchens of Belgium inspired this remodel to remind the homeowners of a beloved vacation destination.
Mourning the end of a trip is symptomatic of a fantastic vacation, but how about making that favorite place the muse for reinventing one’s own home? It was the comfort a family found in Belgian homes that inspired the combination of sleek efficiency, timeless charm, and traditional practicality in their new kitchen design. Enthusiasm for Belgian design is spiking, as many designers are attracted to its understated yet functional elegance.
In keeping with Belgian tradition, this kitchen combines rustic wood and brick elements juxtaposed with smooth stone surfaces and sleek steel appliances in a quiet, clean design that mixes the old with the new, evoking a sense of modernism. Among the traditional elements are the arching doorways and windows, the cornice molding on the mesh-fronted cupboard, and the high fireplace with storage for wood beneath. The wood finishes are also highly customary: the long “convent” table, the unstained floor planks, and exposed beams and rafters.
The kitchen’s colors draw on the Belgian scheme of subtle greens, grays, and taupes to maintain the light feel; and the restrained accents focus on natural and useful items, such as books, to create a lived-in but uncluttered look. The furnishings have clean lines and plain linen upholstery without patterns. A splash of daring is displayed in the chandelier, but this and lantern light fixtures are part of the Belgian design tradition as well.
The efficient use of space executed in the galley kitchen complements the simple warmth of the fireplace beside the family table. This is a room where the cuisine and the company will take center stage—the ideal space to create and share an incredible holiday meal.