Villa RS is a minimal residence located in Kruisem, Belgium, designed by JUMA Architects. JUMA was commissioned to design a new house on a hill in the Flemish Ardennes. The north side of the plot offers stunning views of the surrounding fields with picturesque church towers in the distance. In contrast with this open setting, the infinity pool, set like a mirror in the terrace, calls for a southern orientation and protection from the elements. In response to these contextual factors, JUMA positioned the residential volume at a right angle to the street, in this way creating a connection between the ‘north-south’ axis. When weather conditions allow, the sliding windows on both sides of this volume can be opened up completely at the level of the kitchen, blurring the boundary between interior and exterior.
A garden wall along the pool creates privacy and offers protection from the wind. The terrace on the north side is covered and has a wood-burning stove, making it possible to enjoy the vast surroundings almost all year round. At the level of the carport, the front façade has been opened up through the use of wooden slats which keeps this area from becoming too dark or somber. At the same time, it arouses curiosity as to what might lie behind it. This gives the house an inviting character, a place the whole family can enjoy coming home to. The theme of the wooden slats is also repeated in the volume of the first floor, and they also recur in pairs to support the concrete canopies. The rather horizontal aspect of the house, as well as various elements such as the black façade cladding in burnt wood, are intended to deflect the attention towards the surrounding nature. The motif of the wooden slats is continued in the concrete canopies and ceilings with wooden formwork that typifies this architecture.
The black theme is also reiterated in the driveway, which features a washed concrete slab with black pebbles. The floors of the terraces and living areas are laid in Ceppo, the colour of which closely matches the concrete look of the ceilings and canopies. The interior is designed in light tone-on-tone colours that harmonise with the architecture. Interior and exterior flow seamlessly into each other through the consistent use of a uniform colour palette. The burnt wood cladding, for instance, is continued in the entrance area. The earthy, handmade tiles in combination with the woven cabinet doors of the cloakroom immediately set the tone. Guests are led into the dining area, where a light tadelakt has been applied to the walls.
The same technique is reflected in the table by Armand & Francine that stands cosily on a handmade carpet designed by Carine Boxy. Most of the bespoke cupboards have an oak veneer, the kitchen worktop is beautifully finished in sandblasted Travertine. The house features black accents throughout, except in the master bathroom. Here, JUMA opted for brass detailing, such as brass taps by Vola and brass accents around mirrors and lights. On the upper floor, there are three identical children’s bedrooms with a shared bathroom. This makes this house a home to grow old in, since the upper floor can be closed off when the children have left their parental home. The master bedroom with ensuite bathroom and dressing room offers the luxurious feeling of a hotel with its terrace that allows one to walk straight out for a splash in the pool.
Photography by Annick Vernimmen
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