Our clients from Aalst gave us carte blanche to design their new home. All they wanted was colour throughout the house, a distinctive design and ... an orange front door.
The inherent risk of designing a distinctive house is that you end up moving too far away from what people consider to be a home. So, when designing this house, we started by analysing the elements that make up the identity of the traditional Flemish house. We accentuated some of these elements, which, in combination with the architectural language, resulted in a refreshing reinterpretation.
A conventional brick was used for the outer walls. The variation in colour in bricks and grouting, and the use of different masonry bonds, adds playfulness to the design. Seasoned fans of classic fairy tales will find a reference in this to the gingerbread house of Hansel and Gretel. The façade plan was drawn up with extreme precision, in order to ensure continuity and connection between the different walls.
The different orientation of the roof and the various façades is the result of a light study. The walls are positioned so that a maximum amount of natural light can be enjoyed inside the house. Interior windows were also placed between the various rooms in order to distribute as much natural light as possible throughout the house. The roof functions as a sun canopy along the southern façade, which has a favourable influence on the indoor climate of the dining area during the warmer summer months.
The traditional element ‘the chimney’ was out of proportion, which creates a peculiar (quirky) yet familiar view from the street. Inside the house, this construction forms the staircase that connects the different floors and adds central light. The choice for a split-level house was made partly to enhance the playful and surprising character of the house. On the other hand, to create an additional relationship between the different floors and to make optimal use of the circulation spaces in this compact house. The latter means that less useful space is lost. The compact character of the house also has a positive impact on the client’s budget, not only during the construction phase but also in terms of energy consumption during the building’s lifetime.
Colour was key in the interior design. In the kitchen, a multicoloured terrazzo tile was chosen. The custom-made furniture, too, stands out with its different colour and shape variations. In the same kitchen, a separate dining area was clearly defined by the use of an apple-blue sea-green tile, which continues on the wall as panelling. The staircase and the toilet on the ground floor were given the same elegant colour.
In the bathroom, the bathtub was sunk into the floor so that the edge of the bathtub is at the same level as the surface. The deep blue tiles give the whole a warm and welcoming feel.
We tried to work with a few elements within the established conventions, which resulted in a cosy, out-of-the-ordinary, colourful family home in which the residents are constantly in touch with each other, but can also retreat to find peace and quiet whenever they wish. Frank Sinatra once said: ‘Orange is the happiest colour’. And we couldn’t agree with him more. Walking through the orange door of this family home in Aalst always puts a smile on our face.