In a country that cradles its revered design aesthetic, Belgian interior architect Pieter Vanrenterghem affirms his hold on the Flemish rural vernacular through a minimalist estate.
On Belgium’s Western Front close to the French border, lies the village of Adinkerke. Flanking the historic village and not far from the Belgian coast is a country estate; one of the last farms in the region to be walled by water.
Local designer Pieter Vanrenterghem was asked to create a rural retreat, by bringing this former farmhouse and its cluster of outbuildings from beneath their agricultural veil. Offering an antidote to fleeting trends, Pieter asserts the hallmarks of modern Belgian design; simplicity, warmth and craftsmanship, bound by natural materials.
While no longer a working farm, Pieter set out to accentuate its Flemish pastoral history when transforming the main house and the adjoining four buildings. The main house spans open plan living, three bedrooms and three bathrooms, together with an additional two bedrooms with ensuites in the surrounding structures.
In creating a true destination of escape, Pieter converted the fourth building into a fitness space, complete with its own indoor swimming pool, while the fifth building became a dedicated party venue; a large, lofty hall designed to host large gatherings of more than 100 people.
“The interiors are very clean and minimal and consist of specific alignments. The use of natural materials softens these lines, making the spaces feel more human.”
– Pieter Vanrenterghem
By reducing elements down to the bare minimum, Pieter has ensured there is no tension between the classic and contemporary.
Across all five buildings, the owners wanted to reflect the best of Belgian interior traditions. “The owners requested an easy house to live in; distinguished by warmth and tactility, shaped by natural materials,” Pieter says. He proudly lists a number of natural surfaces from the Agripa Fine Muzillac Veine natural stone in the kitchen to the Travertine – both sourced from Belgian stone supplier Hullebusch.
The Moroccan Tadelakt lime plaster technique lines the floors in the main house, topped with sisal rugs and Pieter’s signature walnut timber joinery. He also selected dark oak herringbone flooring for the party hall, under restored exposed timber beams. “The interiors are very clean and minimal and consist of specific alignments,” Pieter says. “The use of natural materials softens these lines, making the spaces feel more human.”
When we seek to define what luxury design means today, there has been a refreshing shift away from excess, to the quiet, simple and slow. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Belgium; a nation that continues to produce some of the world’s most renowned design aesthetes. Pieter Vanrenterghem joins this esteemed crowd, capturing the essence of rural timelessness in grand scale and stature.
This piece originally appeared in est magazine issue 35.