Coco Chanel once advised the fashion-forward to look in the mirror and remove one thing before leaving the house. Ironically, we often see the house itself needs one or three things removed, as the culture of ‘more is more’ infects our sense of interior balance. Refreshingly, this Belgium apartment by Jakob Vyncke and Thomas Meesschaert of local firm TJIP has no such clutter. Instead, they’ve masterfully pared back the design to create a confidently minimalist space, free of fuss or unnecessary flourishes.
Stripping the material palette back has given TJIP the platform to fully embrace each element. Preserving existing features such as the brick fireplace and exposed timber beams, TJIP introduced modern elements like steel, stone, timber floorboards and felt to build a tactile backdrop for the home. Many of the materials pull double-duty, with the steel framing acting as both visual and practical room divider and marble used for custom shelving in the study and as a clever sliding door to hide away kitchen appliances.
While the space might be small, it’s spoilt with natural light, something Vyncke and Meesschaert have maximised in their design. Full-height windows with floating curtains add to the soft and soothing aesthetic of home, while additional lighting is subtly integrated through wall and ceiling lamps. Furniture has also been limited to the key pieces for each space, offering room for the residents to add a personal touch or rearrange communal spaces as desired. And in keeping with the European knack for thoughtful storage, here storage lies behind seemingly every wall, ensuring storage is well-catered for.
This isn’t just a simple space. It’s a celebration of good planning and thoughtful materiality, a strong case study for kitchen and bathroom spaces in small homes, and inspiration for anyone looking to use stone in more creative ways. Most of all, however, it demonstrates the timelessness of Chanel’s advice, proving less is more for a whole new generation.
This piece originally appeared in est magazine issue 28. Read the entire magazine online here.
Communicate ‘less is better’ through key designer objects and materials.