Emma & Willem

Slightly hidden in the hill-landscape of Kessel-Lo, just outside the city centre of Leuven, we visited the house of Emma and Willem. A glass-and-brick modernist house that stood the test of time in all its glory. “The house was built in 1978, following the design of Belgian architect Roger Vanhoof. Since we are only the second generation of owners, we luckily had the chance to keep the house in its original shape,” says Emma. Together with their meticulous selection of furniture pieces and interior elements they were able to breathe new life into this fantastic home. The total architecture includes all of the surrounding greenery. A green oasis that embraces the house and brings in the calm. With Willem often working from home and the children coming over for the weekend, the house is also very much alive.


Emma has been an upholstery craftsman for over 20 years, from horsehair and straw projects in the early days to the mousse seatings that characterize the nowadays. At Atelier Denis, a self-owned business at a 3 minute bike ride from their house, she translates her passion into 1:1 projects on a full-time basis. “I mainly work on sofas and chairs in the style of Nome, but am also doing made-to-measure pieces under commission in collaboration with the wood designer next door. The one-seater in our living room I fully re-upholstered myself. The rest of our furniture pieces is still dans son jus, as we say in French, since we really love them just the way they are.” From a Maralunga one- and three-seater, an Eames desk chair and four dining chairs by Cees Braakman for Pastoe to two silkscreens by Johan van Oeckel, a photo of the English seaside by Eva Vermandel and a blue art piece by Erik Haemers: it’s a great mix and match of pieces.” In the dining room we decided on hanging the Cadovius wall unit we bought at Nome Furniture, since it perfectly matches the style of the house. So we did in our kitchen. The bakery trolley there is just a temporary solution, since we are planning to do some small renovations and additions to the house the next coming year, all in line with the existing.”


Since the volumes and spaces of the house are very defined, it was easy for Willem and Emma to decide on which furniture pieces to keep from their previous home. “Our Cadovius wall units match this house even better. Furniture choices were an evidence, since our selection instantly matched the existing atmosphere.”


There’s one specific furniture piece that holds a very special value to Emma. “The rustic wooden stool in our living space I got from my mom, it’s kind of a memory from my parental home in Bretagne. My mom once bought it during a holiday trip to the Massif Central. I love the roughness and simplicity of this little one.”


A great collection of rarities make the house their own home. “And we still have some pieces we are planning to give their proper place, like a hanging lamp we bought at Nome. But we give it all some time. The house gives us a lot of play space and we are glad to use this freedom in return.”

Found at NOME furniture:
– Royal system wall unit by Poul Cadovius Living room + Kitchen
– One seater in the style of Rudolf Wolf