A Mint-Green Staircase Adds Radiant Color to This Restored Townhouse

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By Kate Reggev
A historic home in Belgium breathes new life with an airy atmosphere and subtle pops of color.

In the Brussels neighborhood of Ixelles, the architecture firms Mamout and AUXAU have updated a traditional townhouse with a bright blue kitchen and a mint-green staircase.

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Located in the center of the home, the simple, yet striking staircase connects three floors.

Located in the center of the home, the simple, yet striking staircase connects three floors.

The design team sought to combine old and new by maintaining two front rooms of the townhouse on two separate floors. However, in the rear of the townhouse, the architects have divided the home into three floors, and connected them with a simple, yet striking green staircase. 

On the ground level, the kitchen is reached by stepping down toward the back of the home, ultimately leading out to a rear yard.

On the ground level, the kitchen is reached by stepping down toward the back of the home, ultimately leading out to a rear yard.

The two historic front rooms—which are historically and traditionally the more public living rooms in a Brussels townhouse—have been carefully restored, maintaining their original proportions and wall treatments, including the plaster and cornices. 

The kitchen's white palette allows the bright blue cabinets and gold hardware to stand out.

The kitchen's white palette allows the bright blue cabinets and gold hardware to stand out.

In the middle and rear of the house—the spaces that typically lack natural light—interior walls have been removed to create larger, open spaces that receive direct sunlight from the building’s rear facade. 

Floor-to-ceiling windows allow light to penetrate into the kitchen and the central hallway.

Floor-to-ceiling windows allow light to penetrate into the kitchen and the central hallway.

The material palette throughout the home remains largely neutral, yet the team has infused moments of unexpected color. For instance, the railings of the stairs and landings are painted a bright mint-green, as is a beam that runs through the kitchen

The historic rooms toward the front of the house have been rehabilitated and restored.

The historic rooms toward the front of the house have been rehabilitated and restored.

The cabinets are painted an eye-catching blue with gold hardware in an otherwise all-white kitchen. The project also makes an intensive use of reused materials, saved from either on-site demolition, or purchased from a local salvage and reuse company called ROTOR.

Original plaster and cornices have been repaired, including the existing flooring.

Original plaster and cornices have been repaired, including the existing flooring.

The color of the staircase brings a sense of personality to the space.

The color of the staircase brings a sense of personality to the space.

The exterior presents a traditional townhouse facade, along the Rue  Renier  Chalon in Brussels.

The exterior presents a traditional townhouse facade, along the Rue Renier Chalon in Brussels.

The back facade features large windows to bring in light to the rear rooms and central stairs.

The back facade features large windows to bring in light to the rear rooms and central stairs.

Bedrooms on the upper floors maintain the neutral palette established on the levels below.

Bedrooms on the upper floors maintain the neutral palette established on the levels below.

A detail of the mint green stair railing, where old meets new.

A detail of the mint green stair railing, where old meets new.

A detail of the historic marble fireplace and original plaster in the more formal rooms that look out onto the street. 

A detail of the historic marble fireplace and original plaster in the more formal rooms that look out onto the street. 

A perspective section drawing expresses the relationship between the historic front rooms facing the street and the new, triple-level renovation and addition at the rear of the townhouse.

A perspective section drawing expresses the relationship between the historic front rooms facing the street and the new, triple-level renovation and addition at the rear of the townhouse.

Project Credits:

Architect of RecordCompany/Contact: MAMOUT architectes with AUXAU atelier d'architecture

Builder/General Contractor: G-LINE CONSTRUCT

Structural Engineer: JZH and Partners