Castle BG

  • Pieterjan
  • Brushed Forest Green
  • Marble
  • Solid oak
Ghent interior architect Pieterjan followed two golden rules for the interior of this castle. One: we maintain the existing structure, but every modification has to be clearly identifiable as a new intervention. Two: every newly added functional element is custom-made, specifically designed for this dwelling. These are the ingenious starting points with which Pieterjan really intrinsically asks the question: what is authenticity? What can you consider original in a castle that has seen so many layers added and subtracted throughout its history? What intervention is definitive? It didn’t make sense to Pieterjan to do a historicizing renovation here. Instead, he adopted a ‘neo-archaeological narrative’ approach: every new intervention is a respectful answer to the castle’s thousand-year history. The master bedroom’s bathroom, for example, is one big piece of furniture in rounded marble, right in the middle of the place.

It doesn’t touch the walls anywhere: you can slide it right out of the house without leaving a trace. The stepped key cabinets in the entrance provide a reference to the original staircase leading to the keep. And the new, extra-large cloakroom is custom made in honest, natural materials: the guiding principle governing the entire renovation.

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No matter how respectful Pieterjan’s approach was, his intervention still has all the ambition of a Gesamtkunstwerk. The owners gave him a free rein and ample time to think so that he could deliberate on his decisions and work them out in detail. And it shows. The castle is chock-a-block with thoughtful ideas, each and every one of which is justified in its context. Downstairs, in the two ‘original’ rooms from 1906, the Ghent interior architect introduced Fornasetti wallpaper, Veranneman furniture, and a mobile library in aluminum. When slid into place, the book cabinet takes up all of what used to be the cloakroom. The thirteen meter high stair hall is dominated by mediaeval keep, a new staircase in solid oak, and a brownish trompe l’oeil floor. Why? It used to be the stable, with a floor of trampled earth. So Pieterjan photographed a mediaeval earthen floor and had a replica painted. These are the sort of narrative details that prove how far Pieterjan went in his research, design, and craftsmanship for this castle. The castle was not renovated or restored in a blindly nostalgic fashion but meticulously prepared to become the scene for new stories to be written.

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