The rounded details of an art-deco-style facade are repeated throughout the interior of this house in Antwerp, which has been renovated by Atelier Fréderic Louis.
Belgian architect Fréderic Louis has modernised the layout of House Mellinet, replacing the previously separate kitchen and living room with a large, open family room that opens out to the rear garden.
The design – created in collaboration with interior designer Sarah De Pauw – celebrates the building’s existing curved details.
According to Louis, it was these details that first attracted the owners to the 145-square-metre property.
“They bought the home because they fell in love with the original art-deco-style elements,” he told Dezeen.
Extra curved details have also been added in, including a new fireplace and two focal staircase treads.
The ambition behind the renovation was to create a more open-plan ground floor layout, increasing natural light and making the living spaces feel more generous in size.
Achieving this layout involved stripping the building back to its structure and installing new steelwork.
“Our starting point was trying to figure out how we could open the rooms to each other, as these were all closed off from each other by thick load-bearing walls,” explained Louis.
“The structural elements we used for this were key for the design of the house, as they stayed partly visible.”
When builders started stripping the interior back to its structure, they discovered hidden details such as a large arched wall frame. This fuelled Louis’ decision to make curves the key design motif.
The new layout creates a circular route through the ground-floor spaces, defining a lobby space, a lounge area, a dining area and a kitchen, while a small office sits off to one side.
Two different floor surfaces feature here: a chevron-patterned oak parquet, and a speckled white terrazzo.
The junction between these surfaces integrates another curved detail.
This is echoed by the shape of the kitchen island counter, which is made from a marble that matches the tones of the terrazzo floor.
“The end of the wall was also curved, not only as a reference to the original style elements, but also to ease the circulation around the kitchen island and the spaces next to it,” said Louis.
New windows were installed in place of the previous PVC frames, with slender aluminium details that look more akin to the steel designs that would have been on the building originally.
Heating, plumbing and electrical systems have also been upgraded to bring them up to modern standards.
Ghent-based Louis has run his own studio since 2014, but he also works for Graux & Baeyens Architecten, where he has led projects including the blocky House J-VC.
House Mellinet is one of several historically sensitive renovations the architect has undertaken. He believes the design has returned the building “to its former grandeur”.
“The living areas have evolved from closed, dark spaces, to a vivid, daylight-rich living space with a great view over the green garden,” he said.
“The kitchen has become a point of attraction, while the new and restored art-deco elements have restored the original feel of the house.”
The photography is by Tim Van de Velde.
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