Designer Bram Kerkhofs and network architect Lore Baeyens live with their 3 teenage sons just outside Leuven, in a beautiful house in the middle of lush green trees. After a careful renovation, 'Villa Stuyven' is now not only a house to come home to, but also a place where others can come for inspiration. Villa Stuyven was designed by Architectenburo Vanderbiest and Reynaert, and was built in 1970. In the neighbourhood, the house was known as 'the bunker' because of its closed-off concrete facades. Not much of the house could be seen from the street, as it was hidden behind bushes and trees.

In that setting - own work and design classics in a sober brutalist setting - the well-chosen Kewlox cabinets also come into their own wonderfully well. The previous owners had also furnished the house with Kewlox cabinets, which was reason enough for Bram and Lore to continue. "I have a thing for modular systems and how they are put together, and for me Kewlox is a great example of such a smart, honest system. The fact that it is Belgian was an added bonus," Bram explains their choice. 

When Bram and Lore bought the house, it was in need of an update to get it up to modern standards, but they left the basic plan of the home untouched. The concrete skeleton, the chequered volumes, ... rational minimalism at its best. At the back, the house is surprisingly open, with lots of large windows and beautiful views of the surrounding greenery. Throughout the house, Bram's own designs and prototypes stand out, precisely because they bledn in so well with their new surroundings. He is particularly inspired by the possibilities of modularity and connections. This unique approach to design - combined with his background as a goldsmith and sculptor - ensures that his designs are always a combination of ingenious systems and beauty. 

"The design is very well put together and has a timeless look." They bought the cabinets on two occasions: first in the early 2000s for their previous family home, and now a new addition for the hallways in their new premises. For both combinations, they opted for natural mdf: "We always chose honest arrangements where the materials enhance each other. The untreated wood and natural mdf form a nice whole with the black-painted and galvanised corner profiles." Now that the renovation is complete, it is time for new ideas and initiatives. Bram also teaches and occasionally brings his students to his studio: his trainees also find space for inspiration there. As the children grow up, the idea of converting rooms into artist residences is also bubbling up. Bram and Lore gave Villa Stuyven a bright future, which will undoubtedly be continued.

Bram Kerkhofs, designer, Leuven.