What I Know About Belgian Design

This weekend I attended a community event where I had been asked to represent my home county Sweden. I dragged my girls with me (dressed up as Pippi Longstocking and Lucia) and decorated my area with lovely things from Sweden. (Think everything from 18th c. chairs and gray linen to salty black licorice and pop music). I got to meet a lot of people and certainly did my share of PR for the country. And then a couple of well dressed ladies walked up and we chatted up a storm about Swedish design until one of them asked what I thought of Belgian interior design. Ehhh…

An oil painting by Belgian artist Nele Cornelis is a focal point in the foyer.

And then from nowhere information started to pour out of me. And I tell you, most of what I know is because of my talented blog friend who is no stranger to so many of my close blog friends. But if you have not yet met her, huddle over and say hello!

Her name is Greet Lefèvre. She lives in Belgium and is behind The Belgian Pearls. She is someone Belgium’s Cultural Ministry should view as a national treasure .

Here are some lovely interiors from her home where she lives with her family. (Yep, I know!!!)

On her blog you will find images like these. (Yes, go ahead and drool!)

Together with her brother she runs a succesful wood carving company – Lefèvre Interiors. Had I lived closer I would not have hesitated for one second to have my next dining table designed by them.

And what did I actually tell the ladies? Well, I told them that there are many similarities between Swedish and Belgian Design. Both styles include simple, uncomplicated pieces. They both cherish organic, natural materials, textures and colors. We use a lot of gray and white in Sweden and I believe that the further south you go in Europe – the warmer colors. So, I see more of a warmer beige used in the Belgian interiors or rather “Greige” – a mix between gray and beige. Belgian style might also be a tad more relaxed in my opinion and the furniture seems more grand in size. And I think that both styles are against too much color and clutter! Both represent peaceful and serene rooms.

Now, some people in the industry will claim that Belgian style is the “new Swedish”.  Of course I will not agree with that! But the style is very attractive indeed. And I am convinced that we are just going to see more and more of it. 

There are also a number of blogs outside of Belgium who I follow and who include Belgian style in their reportings. I highly recommend Cote De TexasWillow Decor, Trouvais and Velvet & Linen. They are all lovely! (And I am sure there are other great ones both in and out of Belgium waiting for me to discover).

A new week, friends! Let it be a good one!

Written by Splendid Willow in: Lovely Rooms |


Cozy Reading Nook – So Me

Not many words needed here. I am totally, madly in love with this reading nook. And that’s because, I am a huge book & art lover. I like my book areas to be organized but show life. I love the color gray. Seats should be comfortable with a capital C. Mixing old with new is my style (look at the ceilings and the industrial book shelves). Slipcovers work great with 3 young kids, messy huz & 2 spoiled cats. I crave daylight. I like just about everything in this room down to the simple reading light and the fresh flowers. (This image is going straight to my personal “So Me” file).

Happy new week to you all! I hope you all are off to a good start! Sending you warm thoughts and good energy. Hug, Monika.

Image from the always lovely Belle Vivir.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Lovely Rooms |


Lovely Bedrooms

This post is for Sophie in France who I have had the great pleasure to get to know via this amazing blog world. She is putting in hardwood floors in her master bedroom, which I so salute, and was looking for inspiration in terms of rugs and hardwood floor combinations and color schemes. Sophie, here are some of my personal faves and I hope that you might find something that inspires you!

I love everything about this room! And this carpet/rug like would look fantastic on any kind of hardwood floors. (I personally would have picked a contemporary bed light but that is just me).

A like the balance of the rug and the wooden floors here. I am always a frozen Popsicle when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I want to do is to step on cold hardwood floors (but I’d rather take that than wall-to-wall carpeting that is not appealing to me for many reasons). This allows me to wake up during a few steps before I hit the wood! (But I guess as plan B, I could resort to some good slippers…)

Since you live close to Paris Sophie, invest in a nice old bust. It is still on my wish list!

This is the bedroom of the famous designer Darryl Carter. I absolutely love, love this room! Look at all the wonderful details – and yet it does not feel contrived. The leather doors as panels are amazing.

Now here is another great solution. Large cow hides one each side instead of carpets.

No carpet at all. But the image with eclectic furnishings was so lovely that I had to show it anyway!

If you are looking for more color, then here is a room to be happy in.

I know that Sophie’s wall color is more towards yellow/gold. I think this room is wonderful. Both organic and chic. (And the beautiful throw ties it all together).

Fresh and crisp. And large rugs on each side. Don’t skimp on the rugs, people!

Vicente Wolf is another fantastic designer who knows what he is doing. I have a crush on that iconic leather chair.

Wow! A secret bedroom in the bedroom!

Borderline too conservative for me. But oh so pretty. And I love the texture of the rug.

Just add a splash of color – and you have a new room.

Chic indeed. And the wonderful wall display in the background needs to be copied.

How lovely with a large and functional seating/conversation area in the grand master bedroom.

Now, dear blog friends – any bedroom that you fancy?

Images from: 1) Skona Hem, 2) House Beautiful, 3)  Flickr, 4) Elle Decor,  5) Flickr, 6) Elle Decor,  7) Elle Decor, 8 + 9) Charleston Magazine, 10) Living Etc. 11) Living Etc. 12) Veranda, 13) Flickr 14) Flickr, 15) Veranda, 16) Flickr, 17) Elle Decor , 18) Metropolitan Home , 19) Flickr

Written by Splendid Willow in: Lovely Rooms | Tags:


Remodeling Inspiration

I read a lot to find inspiration from all corners of the world. There is one post in particular from the always super fantastic blog Desire to Inspire (a daily must read people!) that I saw a few weeks ago that so inspired me and I simply can’t get it out of my head.

Take a look at these ordinary rooms which the talented and creative Canadian architecture and interior design company McGill Design Group were tasked to remodel. Would you believe the transformations! I mean are they even the same rooms? Yes they are! These before and after pictures got my own personal design juices to kick into over-drive.

Dining room before in an older Victorian home.

Dining room after. Yep, the same single window now dressed up with the perfect window treatments to create an illusion of several tall windows. And people, most hardwood floors can be stained if replacement is not in your immediate budget. I have done it many times myself (to that exact dark color).  Note the dark accent color and the lovely medallion in the ceiling.

Living room before.

Living room after.

True, they put some real effort into quality moldings and a built-in fireplace. But what a great investment!

Bedroom before. (This is my favorite transformation! Are you ready?!)

Bedroom after. Mama Mia! I absolutely love the look & feel of this bedroom. Both feminine and masculine. The colors are perfect. So crisp and fresh. Yes, the have spent a lot of money on quality built-ins, but the rest can be copied for a lot less if you are on a tight budget.

Do you like it as much as I do? Don’t be shy now! Your opinion counts!

Written by Splendid Willow in: Before & After,Lovely Rooms | Tags:


Ideas to Steal

Country Living has not been the first magazine I resort to but I have to say that the magazine has gotten better and better and I now I find it quite inspirational! Here are a few images from designer Mary Jane McCarty’s home.

Dining in a library. Different kinds of blues. Nothing matching. I like the style.

Put a nice slipcover on the antique sofa and you will both get a fresh new look and show the sofa’s original bones.

I will do anything for a good antique. Bu here is also a reminder to myself and maybe to you (!) to not forget to visit consignment stores and flea markets. Mary Jane, the owner, found this lovely table at the Salvation Army for $35! And wait to you see my own find – a fantastic wing back chair – for the same price! (I need to upholster it). You will flip!

I also love the vibrant shams on the beds in the guest bedroom (interior design by Brad Ford).

They shams + quilt are from Garnet Hill Barcelona” and I think they are pretty affordable at $40/sham. I am also eyeing the quilt. Very fresh together with white.

Written by Splendid Willow in: Lovely Rooms |

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