ow does an interior designer live? This is what we went to find out at Filip Versmissen’s home. Filip Versmissen is art director at Master Meubel, one of the largest and most comprehensive interior design stores in Belgium. This small villa designed in the sixties by modernist architect Lou Jansen was for Filip, a big fan of modern architecture, love at first sight. And by adding iconic pieces, Filip turned this building into a charming family home, experience which he found extremely exciting.
The villa is to some extent sheltered from the busy road, which links Antwerp to Turnhout, a small Flemish town on the Dutch border. Light refurbishment work brought the villa to the present day, while being true to Lou Jansen’s original plans. Lou Jansen was a great modernist architect, however he’s still largely unknown beyond the Belgian borders. Following the “less is more” principle made popular by Mies van de Rohe, Lou Jansen introduced his cubes in the Flemish landscape with great elegance.
The interior architecture has a tremendous feeling of spaciousness and light. The open-plan space with living room on one side and exposed kitchen on the other seems endless. On opposite walls, floor-to-ceiling glazing directs light and your gaze to cross the home from side to side. Timber floors and white walls define the whole scheme, what’s more each area is carefully zoned by using different materials, colours and varying ceiling and floor heights.
In the sunken floor of the living room, Chic bespoke carpet by Jab. This invites you to take your shoes off and chill on the sofas enjoying the blazing fire or a nice film. TV placed directly on the floor with built-in storage below it.
A soft carpet and comfy sofas turn this sunken floor living room in an irresistible haven for relaxation. Inspired by the nonconformist spirit of the sixties, Filip could not but go for the iconic Togo sofa designed in 1973 by Michel Ducaroy (Ligne Roset).
Music is the owners’ great passion. In the centre of the home, there’s a space for music which is seemingly very informal, however it was designed in every single detail. Two columns, raised ceiling and the large Rabari carpet, handmade in India for Nanimarquina, emphasize this is a special space. Next to iconic pieces by Le Corbusier and Superstudio, a wall-mounted sideboard, a gentle nod to the fifties: one of the pieces designed by Filip himself and manufactured by the craftsmen at Master Meubel. It houses a variety of different speakers, from vintage finds to Wi-Fi systems, collected by the family.
On the opposite side of the living room, dining room with kitchen faces the wonderful garden, which looks like start of a forest. White cabinets with handle-less fronts and counter tops in Corian, especially designed to seamlessly blend in with the walls. A central island separates kitchen and living room, building what’s in effect a crossroad between entrance, living room and bedroom. And of course, with drinks, food and chats; this is the liveliest area in the home.
Without a doubt, this bright and open home is captivating: lots of light, a forest close by and music playing... It’s no easy feat to decorate such a large place. With great sensibility and attention to detail, colours, materials and varying heights, which are not so noticeable right away, Filip has successfully constructed separate zones which come together in harmony. This perfect blend of what’s modern now and what was in vogue fifty years ago is enchanting, even when it’s raining outside….
Renovation and interior design of a modernist villa with garden.
Location: Turnhout, Belgium
Photos: Copyright Master Meubel