Tag Archives: design

American style in Brussels

Confession: I’m obsessed with home decor magazines. They are truly my guilty pleasure. I have stacks of them around the house and buy one every time I’m in a newsagent. There’s something about slowing scanning the photo spreads of incredible homes that fills me with inspiration and simply makes me happy. I can’t get enough of them. So when I travel for work, which has been often lately, I always buy a couple to read during the journey.

While running to catch the Eurostar back from London last week I picked up a copy of the US edition of Elle Decor (one of my favs). I was quietly flipping through the magazine on the train and nearly shouted out with delight when I came across a feature on an apartment in Brussels!

Elle Decor - An Eclectic Home in Brussels

The home of Melañio Gomez and Chris Kangas, an American couple who moved here from New York seven years ago, is a beautiful and unique space in an Art Deco building in Ixelles. (Maybe we’re neighbors??) I love the subtle mix of high and low end furnishings, which somehow is a perfect combination of American and Belgian sensibilities.

Elle Decor - An Eclectic Home in Brussels

The apartment features some great designer pieces like the vintage Knoll leather sofa and Eames dining room chairs, but I’m most impressed with all of their flea market finds. Can we please be friends and go shopping together?!

Elle Decor - An Eclectic Home in Brussels

How cool is that metal bench that they found in a dumpster and topped with a mohair cushion?! And I love the DIY creations in the office. The desk is an Ikea tabletop with legs from a brocant. Right up my alley! (Flea market trolling and IKEA hacking are my two favorite past times :))

Elle Decor - An Eclectic Home in Brussels

I’m also digging the blue walls in the guest room, a lovely blend of moody and cozy, perfect for Brussels.

Elle Decor - An Eclectic Home in Brussels

Melañio and Chris, like many of us, have ended up staying in Brussels much longer than planned and say “we’re still not ready to leave”. This city just sort of grows on you, and with an amazing apartment like that, why would anyone ever want to move?

All photos by Richard Powers for Elle Decor.

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Nationa(a)l Pop Up Store

The pop-up store concept is slowly making its way to Brussels. There are more and more these days, including a clever IKEA pop-up atelier back in October, as well as other temporary shops by major brands and collective fairs like the Brunch Affair and Brussels Vintage Market.

Now two Belgians, Alex and Adeline, have gotten together to open the Nationa(al) Pop Up Store on Place Chatelain in Brussels to help promote Belgian creative entrepreneurs.

National Pop up store Brussels

The creative economy (visual arts, cinema, fashion, publishing, design, music, etc.) has gained a lot of attention in recent years, with exports of creative products from the EU to the rest of the world growing rapidly. Some even rank Belgium as the 7th exporter worldwide of creative products. Pretty impressive for this little country! However, there is still a lack of awareness locally of such artists and the work they produce.

With the aim to help Belgian creativity develop further and gain better visibility nationally and internationally, Alex and Adeline decided to launch the Nationa(a)l Pop-Up Store to offer a platform for exhibition and sale of both emerging and established Belgian creators.

National Pop up store Brussels

Set in loft space in an old building, the store includes 425 square meters of exhibition space and all sorts of products for sale, including clothing, accessories and furniture. The designers showcased are a mix of established names and their selected protégés. See the full list of designers and contributors.

The store is also hosting events such as concerts, brunches and film screenings. There is a restaurant space set up by Kamilou, which is focused on organic farming and fair trade products. If you visit this weekend, you can enjoy a special brunch on both Saturday and Sunday hosted by two different artists. See the full schedule and Facebook page for more details.

National Pop up store Brussels

The shop is located at 18 Place du Chatelain (just next to Le Chatelain bar) and open daily until 16 December, from 10:30 to 8pm. There is an entrance fee of €6 (€3 for students), which is deducted from any purchase you make. Or wait until the last day of the exhibition when entry will be free!

Images via Nationa(a)l Pop Up Store.

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Brussels Fashion Days

After Modo Parcours last week, Brussels is set for more fashion frenzy this weekend. The first ever Brussels Fashion Days, taking place on 19, 20 and 21 October, will present clothing and accessories from more than 50 designers, representing the impressive spectrum of the Belgian fashion scene.

The weekend will include an exhibition of 10,000m² and several runway shows held at The Egg (175 Rue Bara, 1070 Anderlecht), making it the largest fashion event in Belgium. Designers on display will include a huge range, such as the new men’s shirt company Abbie & Rose, the renowned Natan, the young and fun OMSK. You can see the full list here. Some of the collections are fresh off the runways of Fashion Week in Paris and Milan, so it’s a great chance to see some of the latest work by Belgian designers.

Things kick off on Friday evening (doors open at 6pm) with a runway show at 9:30 and a party at 10pm (after-party at The Wood). The exhibition continues on Saturday as of 2pm, with runway shows at 5pm and 9:30pm, and another party at 10pm. You can also stop by on Sunday between 11am and 7pm for a Fashion Brunch or a runway show at 4pm.

The event will also include a fashion photography exhibition, makeover workshops, model casting, photo shoots and make-up and hair styling shows. Some of the best design schools in the country, such as La Cambre, Workshops Lannaux and Francisco Ferrer, will be there to present their activities and some work of their best students. See the Brussels Fashion Days Facebook page for some behind the scenes photos and more details.

For entrance to the event, there are two ticket options: a day-pass for €10 (€8 if purchased in advance), which gets you access to the exhibition, the afternoon runway show and the party, or you can buy an evening pass for €30 (€25 in advance) to see the main evening runway show and attend the party. You can but tickets online here.

Loving all the fall fashion events this year in Brussels and hope you are too!

Images via Brussels Fashion Days.

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Furniture Stores

It seems like lately everyone is moving. Some friends have made the plunge to buy a house, others are just changing apartments and there are always loads of newcomers arriving in Brussels in September. And the question on everyone’s mind – where can I go shopping for affordable, good furniture?

This is not an easy one. I wrote a few months back about the store Maison du Monde but, while this is a good place for some items, every home should have a little variety. And of course you may have a love-hate relationship with IKEA like me. I’m old enough that I don’t want everything in my home to have a strange Swedish name and fall apart if I try to move it to another room. But at the same time, how can you not love a side table that only costs €29.99? (And let’s not forget about the wonderful world of IKEA hacking! What’s that you ask? Go here and let your imagination run wild.)

But we all need more options that the flat-pack, self-assembly sort. I’ve always struggled a bit in Brussels to find well-priced (and well-made) furniture, but here is a short list (in no particular order) of where I have shopped.

Heylen, while not technically in Brussels (near the airport on Chaussee de Louvain), has a good selection of sofas, bedframes, wardrobes, dining tables and chairs in a wide range of styles from classic to modern. It’s a family run business and the service is friendly and helpful. They have a large stock and reasonable prices, and will also let you order from the catalogue. I spotted a nice sofa for €1200 – not that much more than one from IKEA and probably will last a few more years.

781 Leuvense Steenweg, 3071 Kortenberg
Tel: +32 2 756 01 20
Open: Monday to Sunday, 10am-6pm, closed Tuesday, open on public holidays

Depot Design has a more modern collection but also a large showroom (4000m2) and selection of all types of furniture. You can browse the online catalogue and buy online as well. For comparison, they have some nice looking sofas for under €1000. The main store is on the canal and there’s also a “outlet” next door with discounted items. I know lots of friends who have found good deals here.

19 Quai du Hainaut, 1080 Molenbeek
Tel: +32 2 502 28 82
Open: Tuesday to Saturday, 10:30am-6:30pm


Vastiau Godeau is another large store. They have a big furniture selection and also provide kitchens and bathroom installations. The store carries lights, carpets and garden furniture as well. You can take a look at the catalogue online here before visiting. Saturdays can be busy, so go early or on a weekday. They’re also open on Sundays. 

1 Steenweg op Halle, 1652 Alsemberg
Tel: +32 2 383 06 12
Open: Monday to Saturday, 10am-7pm, Sunday, 2pm-7pm, closed Thursday, open some holidays

A personal favorite is Zara Home. This is a good place to find decorative items, smaller furniture, lamps and linens. Similar to the clothing store, Zara Home changes seasonally and follows decor trends, introducing new colors and items every few months. They also have lots of things for kids and baby rooms. There are two locations in Brussels, Woluwe Shopping Center and Avenue Louise.

26-28 Avenue Louise, 1050 Ixelles
Tel: +32 2 552 04 00
Open: Monday to  Thursday, 10am-6:30pm, Friday and Saturday, 10am-7pm

Finally, if you’re willing to do a little DIY and be creative, my all-time favorite place to go is Troc International. This is a cross between an antique store, charity shop and your grandmother’s attic, stocked full of old furniture at low prices. Some of it is total junk but I have found some real treasures (a sofa for €200, a bench for €70 and a small table for €5 – all needed a bit of work or re-upholstering of course).  

Happy shopping!

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