From Ethan Lance
In 2006, Dirk Wynants, owner of the outdoor furniture company Extremis, purchased a circa-1850s farmhouse in Poperinge, a municipality in the Flanders region of Belgium. He spent the next seven years updating it, while staying within the area’s stringent preservation codes. Here, he shares the backstory on the project.
The rules are most strict in the Flemish part of Belgium: the maximum ‘living space’ a private building can have here is about 35,300 cubic feet. If you want more space, you have to find a bigger building and renovate, but the maximum size to use as living space in that building still is the same. As our building is more than 70,600 cubic feet, we had to be clever in how we used the spaces that we could not use under the name of ‘living space’ and still use the building’s full potential. A bit over 1,000 square feet can be occupied for office purposes, if you have an independent activity. Four guest rooms for renting to tourists can be included in the existing structure—with no volume restrictions. A terrace under a roof doesn’t count. And then you can use areas as technical space: my prototyping room in the basement cannot be reached directly from outside, for instance.