There’s not much call for flax mills these days – but in historic areas such as Kortrijk in Belgium, they’re everywhere. A mere stroll from the French border, the Flemish Kortrijk region prospered following the French Revolution of the late 18th century, thanks in part to the immense growth of its flax industry.

Interior architects from Belgium, Frederic Kielemoes and Vanessa Cauwe, together with CAAN Architects, have begun the work of transforming some of the obsolete barns around town – and in this case, into their own stunning family residence.

ARCHITECTURE CAAN Architects | DESIGN Frederic Kielemoes and Vanessa Cauwe | PHOTOGRAPHY Cafeine

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Words like ‘stark’ and ‘industrial’ don’t generally conjure up feelings of home, but Kielemoes, Cauwe and CAAN have succeeded in cleverly preserving the building’s past while creating a welcoming, family-friendly dwelling. Polished concrete floors and raw cement walls sympathetically reflect its former function, while chic lighting and rich velvet draping in elegant shades of taupe help to soften and embellish the space. Oak cabinetry in light colours brings further warmth to the shared family areas.

At its central point, the building cleverly dislocates into two separate zones – the home’s focal living, dining and kitchen areas, and in the other section, a home office and storage space.

But the project’s most impressive feature? The sublime symbiosis of the building’s indoor and outdoor spaces. The original structure benefits from the addition of a pavilion constructed from glass and timber, allowing framed views of the vast surrounding countryside to be perfectly captured. The restrained extension brings the ancient green landscape in, and the designers’ use of the barn’s early colour scheme further emits a sense of organic conversion. While thoughtful care has been taken to bring this barn into the present, its strength lies in the subtlety of this transformation, allowing both past and present influences to shine.

Overall, the combination of luxe styling and rustic appeal delivers the most important end product – a comfortable and beautiful family home.

This feature is one of our revisited archive features in Issue 25 of Est Magazine. Read the full magazine here.

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A combination of luxe styling and rustic appeal delivers the metamorphosis of a raw product into a comfortable and beautiful family home.

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