Belgian bluestone in a hyper-modern villa
The project in a nutshell
• Complete renovation of an old villa in Tervuren
• Owners opted for a 100% contemporary style
• Belgian bluestone was used for the exterior, the façade and the floors
• The EnoLuce finish was chosen because of its colour, mineral appearance and anti-slip properties
• A project by architectural firm Nicolas De Smedt
It is often said that building a house is the project of a lifetime, but the same holds true for extensive renovation projects that give homes a second life after many years. The owners of the villa that was up for renovation, a couple from Tervuren, wanted to immerse their house in the outskirts of Brussels in a radically different, more contemporary style.
It was clear from the beginning that, once renovated, this villa had to look modern from head to toe. The architect therefore consciously opted for a design consisting of cubic volumes, with a façade in white plaster and Bluestone from Hainaut®. “By using bluestone as façade cladding, we were able to create dark surfaces. That way, we did not have to interrupt the dark areas containing windows with white plaster,” explains Nicolas. “We also used bluestone for the large surfaces half stuck in the ground. This allowed us to make those parts lighter and to accentuate the cantilevered volume on the ground floor.”
In addition, the floors for this project were laid in bluestone as well, again for aesthetic reasons. After all, the characteristic colour of Bluestone from Hainaut® serves as an optical link between the anthracite grey patio covering and the rest of the exterior floors. “The polished concrete covering of the ground floor continues on the outdoor terraces. Hence, we needed a material in a similar shade,” says Nicolas. “Bluestone from Hainaut® – more specifically, the EnoLuce finish – was exactly what we were looking for.”
EnoLuce: both strong and beautiful
EnoLuce was also the chosen finish for the large stone staircase leading to the front door – the showpiece of the house. The EnoLuce finish is not only a sight for sore eyes, it is also a safe, anti-slip choice, making it ideal for visits in the evenings or in rainy weather. EnoLuce has a slightly rough surface and is therefore the perfect covering for an application such as this.
A new finish in the Carrières du Hainaut range, EnoLuce has a matte and slightly rough surface. This finish is dotted with sparkles, creating a subtle and elegant shimmer with a touch of mystery. The deep anthracite grey colour accentuates the typical characteristics of the stone and is reminiscent of the mineral character of the earth's crust.
“Polished concrete was out of the question when it came to the stairs, because it would be too slippery, among other things. EnoLuce, by contrast, has a rough surface and a colour that closely matches concrete,” explains Nicolas. A great solution, the owner of the house agrees: “My wife and I were looking for a rough, contemporary-style stone that doesn’t vary too much in thickness. The architect introduced us to bluestone with an EnoLuce finish, and we immediately fell for its charm.”
Another technical condition: the stone selected for the cladding and the floor had to be able to withstand temperature differences and changing weather conditions. EnoLuce, which is the first dark exterior finish for Bluestone from Hainaut®, is perfectly suited for outdoor purposes. “Bluestone is a material that ages beautifully. It acquires a certain patina, yet its quality always remains top-notch. This sets it apart from other materials, which begin to weather over time,” says Nicolas. Right from the very start, the couple from Tervuren deemed Belgian bluestone the best choice for their project: “When the architect suggested working with bluestone, I immediately asked him if he meant Belgian bluestone. Our former home had a bluestone floor, and we really loved that material because of its colour, sturdiness and durability. So, yes, we are very pleased to see some bluestone on the outside of our home.”
Bluestone: Belgium’s pride
The fact that Bluestone from Hainaut® is a Belgian product, mined in Soignies in the province of Hainaut, also played a crucial role Nicolas’ decision. He is convinced that a stone sourced in Belgium is better able to withstand the Belgian climate than its French or Asian counterparts. In addition, the use of local products allows for a more sustainable construction. “At a time when ecology is on everyone’s minds, we are very pleased to work on a renovation project with such a short production cycle: the bluestone we use was mined, sawn and installed in Belgium. This project shows once again that there are beautiful materials available in our country, which deserve all the attention they can get,” he concludes.