Artist Bartha De Kok welcomed Homewings into her home for a design transformation.
Driving up to Bartha’s turn-of-the-century home on the outskirts of Tervuren in Belgium in it’s beautiful green surroundings, we immediately feel the stress of the city bustle wear off. We’re here to admire the results of Bartha’s recent project with Homewings designer Cornelia. And we are not disappointed!
As soon as we set foot in the house we are impressed by the the antique furniture and original architectural details of the house combined with eclectic modern touches and beautiful colours.
“It’s not the formal French style house typical of this region” she tells us on arrival. “No, it’s got asymmetrical features with plenty of nooks and crannies, and that’s what I first fell in love when I saw this place for the first time 30 years ago and what captivates me still today” Bartha explains as she takes us on the grand tour.
Bartha’s love of travel is clear from the several stories she recounts and from numerous items we can see, stashed here and there in poetic disarray. It’s clear that her home and garden are her sanctuary, and a true reflection of her artistic inspirations and creations.
Walking through the house with her, we are particularly drawn to the vivid hues of the flower paintings hanging on so many of the walls.
The paintings in the house are all her work, she tells us. Having gone to art school when she was young, she worked as an illustrator in fashion before having children and continued to make art. “When the children got a bit older, my husband and I moved to Portugal for a few years where I started painting the beautiful flowers that grow there. And I also painted many seascapes as I am always inspired by the ocean and the light is so particular and bright in Portugal”. When we moved back into this house it was those paintings that lifted my spirits immensely in the winter months.”
While clearly equipped with an eye for aesthetics, Bartha approached Homewings because she felt things had stayed the same for too long and it was time to make some more radical changes: “Over the years, I changed my accessories or moved some things around, but the main items and the overall look stayed the same. I knew that getting some fresh eyes in here would be key to to help me do something really different and make me feel more excited and inspired by my home again.”
Homewings' Cornelia understood exactly what Bartha was after and was immediately inspired by Bartha’s warm and colourful home and statement antiques. “It’s so exciting when you have beautiful antique pieces of furniture to work with” Cornelia says. “But the key is to integrate them with some unique, fresh pieces so the overall look doesn’t become too dated” She also had to bear in mind that Bartha is a grandmother now so it was important to her that her home continued to feel inviting without anything too precious or fussy: “Muddy feet and the odd illicit game of footy in the house are actually quite common around here” she says with an endearing smile.
Together Bartha and Cornelia set about making a plan to update certain finishes and source furniture that added style and functionality to the house. The annex, where Bartha and family tend to spend most time, is where they focussed first.
Having picked up on Bartha’s love of bright Mediterranean colours, Cornelia suggested a punchy tangerine sofa to add contrast to the greens and purples of the foxglove painting they decided to hang above. The modern sofa also provides contrast to the armoire heirloom that Bartha clearly treasured. To add some more unexpected elements, Cornelia suggested an antique Moroccan pendant to create an even more eclectic feel for the room.
Elsewhere the walls go from grey to taupe to give Bartha’s paintings a more complementary background. In the kitchen, Cornelia suggested to paint the cupboards a warm shade of white and get a blue stone sink to complement the crockery that Bartha meticulously collected over the years.
With the new contrasts, textures, bursts of colours and warm palettes Bartha feels that her home got exactly the breath of fresh air she felt it needed.
“I know every inch of my home so well, yet with the new pieces, even things I’ve owned for thirty years seem new again.”
Has seeing this wonderful transformation sparked some ideas for your own home? Why not take our style quiz to start your design project today and learn how our Homewings designers could help you and your home!