What do you get if you cross an interior stylist, an architect and The Grand Budapest Hotel? A marble-clad home with a Wes Anderson-inspired colour palette, and a Pinterest-famous bathroom. And that’s no joke. Interior stylist and photographer Patricia Goijens showed us around her 135-metre Antwerp flat which she designed with her architect fiance, Dieter. Take the tour and meet their British Shorthair, George the Furst.
Sometimes you find the perfect wall colour in an unexpected place: “I took Dieter’s jumper to a shop that makes custom paint. I really wanted that colour in our hallway.” From the inky walls to the vivid velvets - Patricia and Dieter’s love of vibrant colour comes through in every room. Farrow & Ball is usually their paint of choice, with the office painted Hague Blue, the dressing room doused in Pink Ground and the kitchen the surprisingly cosy Pitch Black.
The use of bold colours doesn’t stop at the paint. Artwork by Belgian artist Michiel Pelerents, pull Patricia’s favourite hues together. "The lipstick painting in the dining room had been on my wish list for a while. I finally got it as a birthday gift from my friends,” Patricia told us. Knowing she’s a fan, Michiel kindly lent her the pink piece in the hallway (scroll up to see). “He said he’d rather see it hanging in our home than wrapped up in a corner.”
Next to the marble fireplace and under a shrine dedicated to Alfred Hitchcock sit the MADE.COM Elnaz nesting tables. “Green and gold are my colours,” says Patricia. We notice the glimmering engagement ring on her finger, in her favourite palette. “And my love of marble and brass isn’t a secret either.”
In the U-shaped flat, the story continues as each room feels like a cliffhanger leading to the next surprising sequel. “The pink velvet Julianne ottoman in my home office is an introduction to the fully pink clad dressing room next door,” Patricia explains. “George loves to curl up here while I’m slaving away at my desk.”
“As a teen I painted my bedroom purple because that was the colour of Monica’s apartment in Friends.” The inspiration from television and film didn’t stop in her teens.
“After I saw Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, I knew I was going to paint my dressing room pink. The Globe chandelier is the cherry on top. The frosted glass globes are like pearls in a jewellery box: the right lighting is everything.”
In the light, spacious bedroom, Patricia has the linen Brisa bed sheets - George’s favourite sleeping place. “I really like that everyday items can feel very luxurious. I want to only buy pretty things from now on - even if they’re supposed to be practical objects.”
While designing the now-famous bathroom, the couple merged their wish lists. He wanted marble and black taps. She wanted a freestanding bath and wood. Among the modern details is an antique mirror: “It’s my grandparents’,” says Patricia. “We managed to give it a place here without giving the room a vintage vibe.”
“We were early adopters of the matt black taps trend. Back in 2014, it was a new and fresh concept,” the stylist tells us by way of explaining the bathroom’s mass online following. The original Pinterest post was shared tens of thousands of times and the bathroom snaps now feature on more than 25 million websites. “Sometimes I meet people who know my bathroom long before they’ve met me.”
“I find it very hard to part with original elements of a home,” Patricia admits. The authentic 30s floor gives the kitchen colour and character despite the broken tiles. And the couple kept the modular Cubex kitchen, too: “It’s not as convenient as a fully fitted new one, but it’s much more charming. We had some cupboards made in the same style, added an oak worktop, and a new sink. We also added the round Haku dining table. Those are the kind of old-new combinations that make me happy.”
“We like homes with historical touches,” says Patricia. The flat and the building itself are full of Art Deco details, including an opulent marble stairwell. “We live in a very old, grand neighbourhood. One of those places my grandmother would call “classy” just by hearing the street name. Now hipster coffee shops feature among the beautiful buildings, parks and wide avenues. Which we definitely don’t mind.”
Discover Antwerp with some local tips: “It’s coffee shops galore here in our neighbourhood - Harmonie - and the nearby Berchem,” says Patricia who gets her black gold at BLT, Kofika or Lucien. “Nice dining spots are Lokal and the Italian restaurant Brusketta.” The refurbished De Koninck brewery complex is also worth a visit: “It’s an incredible upgrade in the neighbourhood. Check out De Pelgrim or the barbecue restaurant and cocktail bar Black Smoke. You’ll also find an amazing bakery there, a cheese shop, chocolatier and butcher.”
Article written by: Wided Bouchrika
Photography by: Jordi Huisman