An Antwerp Apartment Captures the Spirit of the Belle Époque

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By Michele Koh Morollo
In Antwerp, Belgium, a historic flat is transformed into a bright and airy, dreamy oasis.

When interior designer Anouk Taeymans found an apartment in a 1914 Belle Époque building, she felt an instant connection to the space. Sited in a hip pocket of the city that features plenty of cool new restaurants and cafes, the 3,179-square-foot flat boasted sensational historic details.

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Before the revamp, the original floors were painted gray. This gave the interiors a dark and tired look, so Taeymans opted for bright white instead.

Before the revamp, the original floors were painted gray. This gave the interiors a dark and tired look, so Taeymans opted for bright white instead.

Thanks to its variety of stunning Art Nouveau features such stucco moldings, fireplaces with geometric lines, etched glass panels, and stained-glass windows, the unit was beautifully anchored it to its Belle Époque origins. So, without little hesitation, Taeymans lovingly remodeled the space to spotlight its original charming character. 

Taeymans decided to paint the floors, walls, and ceilings white in order to enhance and highlight the decorative stucco and stained glass windows.  

Taeymans decided to paint the floors, walls, and ceilings white in order to enhance and highlight the decorative stucco and stained glass windows.  

"I had rented a fully furnished house from the Belle Époque period before, and I always imagined how it would look like if I could decorate it in my own style, and I finally got the chance when I found this property," says Taeymans, who is an engineer-architect by training. 

To filter more natural light in, Taeymans also installed additional windows throughout the home.

To filter more natural light in, Taeymans also installed additional windows throughout the home.

"I added pendant lamps, reading lamps, table lamps, and floor lamps for a cozy mood," she explains. "The light sources emanating from varying heights creates a wonderful atmosphere."

"I added pendant lamps, reading lamps, table lamps, and floor lamps for a cozy mood," she explains. "The light sources emanating from varying heights creates a wonderful atmosphere."

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An Antwerp Apartment Captures the Spirit of the Belle Époque - Photo 5 of 11 -
The bedroom, living room, dining area, and kitchen are lined up along one side of the apartment. Parallel to these rooms are another small bedroom and a bathroom.

The bedroom, living room, dining area, and kitchen are lined up along one side of the apartment. Parallel to these rooms are another small bedroom and a bathroom.

Carefully selected lamps and potted plants were used to create a cozy and romantic Belle Époque ambience.

Carefully selected lamps and potted plants were used to create a cozy and romantic Belle Époque ambience.

"I like lamps with opal white and brass elements," Taeymans adds, who used lamps of different heights throughout the space. 

"I like lamps with opal white and brass elements," Taeymans adds, who used lamps of different heights throughout the space. 

The various pots placed along walls and corners make the apartment feel almost garden-like.

The various pots placed along walls and corners make the apartment feel almost garden-like.

The kitchen opens out to a bright garden, and the master bedroom overlooks the streets.

The kitchen opens out to a bright garden, and the master bedroom overlooks the streets.

Wood, marble, natural stones, and linen are combined with candles, glass bottles, vases, clocks, and printed pillows to create a space that feels like a dreamy Belle Époque time capsule.   

Wood, marble, natural stones, and linen are combined with candles, glass bottles, vases, clocks, and printed pillows to create a space that feels like a dreamy Belle Époque time capsule.   

Project Credits:

Interior design: Anouk Taeymans

Photographer: Jan Verlinde/Living House