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October 8, 2012

A renovation transforms a concrete water tower into a six-story living space that rises high above the surrounding scenery.

“It was dream come true for my clients since they always wanted to live in an house with a lot of character,” says Mauro Brigham, the designer who developed the project’s concept. “When they had the chance to buy [the water tower], they didn’t hesitate one single second.”

Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
Located in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium, a city northeast of Brussels, this water tower built in 1941 sits on a small lot measuring 52.5 feet by 65.6 feet. The Nazis used it during World War II as a watchtower and then it was a functioning water tower until the 1990s. In 2005 the “Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel,” as it’s known, became a protected landmark.
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Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
In addition to a hefty overhaul of the interior, the structure received a lot of attention. Mauro Brigham, founder of Belgian design studio Bham, oversaw the interior design work. While the scope of the renovation was large, Bham preserved elements of the original structure so that the tower’s original identity would still shine through. Workers repaired damaged columns, replaced brick joints, and enlarged the windows on the top floor. Keeping the existing concrete water conduits, ceilings, stairs, and 66,000-gallon water basin were essential to transition from tower to chateau smoothly.
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Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
The towering structure was converted into a single-family home in 2007. The living room sofas are by Dedon.
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Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
Here's a shot looking into the bathroom.
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Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
Concrete elements are painted dark gray to divide the old from the new, creating a contrast inside. The entire chateau is coordinated this way, giving it a firm, monochromatic feel. The kitchen cabinets are by Kerlite.
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Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
A couple lives in the tower, but part of the space is rented out regularly to people looking for a place to host workshops or meetings. To that end, every room in the structure is outfitted with the latest in automated technology, including electrically controlled blinds, self-regulating thermostats, touch-panel systems accessible via mobile devices, dimmable lights, WiFi throughout, and a video projector.
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Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
Each of its six floors has its own purpose, helping to make the living quarters spacious, open, and organized. The first floor houses the main entrance and a two-car garage; the second floor is used for utilities, electrical needs, and other assorted storage.
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Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
The third floor consists of a guest bedroom and an office. The use of vertically and horizontally oriented wenge wood—a durable, heavy, and hard material—helps to separate the guest bedroom from its bathroom. The tub is by Rapsel.
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Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
The main bathroom occupies its own level located centrally on the fourth floor. The nearly 15-foot-tall shower surrounded by tinted glass is a sort of “water tower within a water tower” experience. Lest you worry about a midnight trip to the loo, never fear—the tower has an elevator, so the hassle of getting to the bathroom in a hurry isn’t a problem.
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Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
The master bedroom on the fifth floor boasts a circular dome ceiling. A spiral staircase leads up through the ceiling to the upper level. Here, the application of wedge wood on the floors helps to reflect a warm, reddish color onto the wall, contrasting the mirrored surfaces.
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Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
The living room, kitchen, and dining area sit on the sixth floor, which has high ceilings and panoramic views from the many windows. In the center, a spiral staircase leads from the bedroom leads further up to a bridge that accesses the roof terrace.
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Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
The terrace—which spans the width of the tower—has dark wood decking and an outdoor shower. Read about life in a Polish water tower here.
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Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium
Located in Steenokkerzeel, Belgium, a city northeast of Brussels, this water tower built in 1941 sits on a small lot measuring 52.5 feet by 65.6 feet. The Nazis used it during World War II as a watchtower and then it was a functioning water tower until the 1990s. In 2005 the “Chateau d'eau from Steenokerzeel,” as it’s known, became a protected landmark.

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