House S Keerbergen is one of Hans Verstuyft Architecten’s latest achievements. As we’ve patiently awaited another residential project by Hans and his team, we were excited (to say the least) to see this black-clad cabin land on our desks. Who isn’t caught up in aspiration at the sight of a well-designed, off-the-grid escape? If you haven’t found your ideal cabin in the woods, then you may have just located your Belgian match.
Designing House S Keerbergen was all about how it fitted into the woodlands, conceived as a low-rise building so it could ‘disappear into the natural environment’. The façade was covered in blackened wood planks with a burnt outer layer – a Japanese technique to protect the planks against rot and insects. By choosing a black wooden façade cladding, the design team have also intended to fade the transition between inside and outside and intensify the experience of living in nature. There is a strict rhythm of wooden slats also reflected in the repetitive window distribution, dousing the home in dappled natural light.
Inside, there’s no guessing who’s led the decision making because everything is pared right back. Black wood has been the preferred flooring in some areas to reflect the exterior and contribute to the sober palette. In others such as the living space you’ll find the exposed concrete slab and from here varying floor heights in different rooms. The kitchen has a maximum height, while the bedroom has a raised porch to act as a ‘soft transition’ to the outdoors.
The ample white timber joinery appears consistent between private and shared spaces, punctuated by black Vola fixtures and light fittings. Colour reveals itself in the owner’s collection of books, art and furniture – placed sparingly around the home. But in our eyes, the standout piece of art is the circular, sculptural basin at the centre of the bathroom.
With nature’s goodness at the heart of House S Keerbergen, Hans Verstuyft has designed exactly what we look for in a minimalist cabin which is so perfectly equipped for slow living.