After years of helping her parents style their home and helping friends style film sets, TV and film producer Sarah Bourguignon finally got to style her own flat in Antwerp. "Over the years, I collected loads of pieces from sets I'd worked on - storing them away in a room at my dad's - so it was wonderful to finally be able to bring them together." This is how she turned a shell into a home.
"I find a perfect interior rather intimidating," says Sarah. "I'm not the type to organise my books by colour. They're there because I pick them up quite often. I love it when nothing looks out of place and mixing different styles and eras. Plus, there's nothing wrong with a bit of humour: that one tacky thing - like my ugly bird book stand - is a way of showing you don't take yourself too seriously."
"Back in my set designing days - and later as a producer - I collected all kinds of things and stored everything in a room at my father's home. It all stayed there until the day I could finally give it all a place in my own flat," says Sarah. "I added the Starkey lamp because its simple design complements the other lamps and it blends in beautifully with the rest of the space."
"I've always been interested in interiors," Sarah recalls. "As a kid, I wanted to have a say in the furniture my parents bought. Later, I got to express myself by styling sets for films and theatre productions from my friends. It was a huge relief when I finally owned a place where I could do it all for me."
"This building used to be an old town house. It was divided into several apartments and because I essentially bought an empty shell, I got to draw the plans with the architect," Sarah explains. "I changed the layout, renovated and opened everything up. I kept the elements I originally fell in love with - like the wooden floor and the big French doors."
"I found the yellow kitchen cabinets online. They were from a Swiss vintage shop that didn't deliver in Belgium. They were super cheap and only needed some love and a lick of paint, so I rented a van and drove all the way to Zurich and back in a day. If I put my mind to something, I make it happen - no matter how much time or effort it costs," Sarah says.
"Friends, wine, cocktails and music that's so bad it's good: that's why my parties always get a bit out of hand," Sarah laughs. "I keep making the mistake of having too much food and drinks, but I can't help covering the table with it. Real glasses and cute plates keep things civilised and I always look for decoration that fits the theme of the apartment."
"I try to avoid aluminium or silver and opt for other metals like black and warm metallics like brass and copper instead," says Sarah. "It's hard to maintain this throughout the house, but I hope to find a solution for everything." Sarah tries to have continuity through her home, which is why blue appears in the bedroom, as well as the kitchen and living room: "I love the Roscoe bed - the material makes it feel luxurious and it's definitely the focal point of the room rather than the small cabinets and plants."
"The biggest mistake people make is forgetting storage. I chose to have a dressing room instead of a storage room and wrote down where everything would go in the plans. From the vacuum cleaner to bedding, everything has a designated place," Sarah says.
"I believe that a well organised, clean home brings peace of mind," she says. "I think I've accomplished that - except for the dressing room which can look a bit messy at times. That's why it's the only room other than the toilet that has a door."
"I have very expensive taste. The first interiors that grabbed my attention were filled with unimaginably expensive design pieces. But some friends asked me what it was that I liked about these spaces. It was actually the copper and the industrial style," Sarah explains. "They told me to let those elements inspire me and to recreate the feel with more affordable alternatives. That's why the bathroom got fitted with a copper wall and a sleek black tub. You just need to stay true to what you like. And I'm so happy I didn't listen to the shop assistant who told me not to have black grouting with white tiles."
"I'm allergic to having packaging in my home. Everything needs to go in a box or container: coffee, sugar, spices, candles, ribbons... the list goes on," Sarah says. "That's why I'm so glad MADE.COM has all these pretty storage boxes and jars. It really makes my life easier. Especially the marble ones in the bathroom. They're more of a statement piece than merely storage items."
"I rented in Antwerp for a while and knew I wanted to stay. I bought my flat in the Borgerhout neighbourhood because it's still affordable and there's a lot happening around here. New bars and restaurants opening all the time, local grocery shops stay open until late, and the people are friendly," she says. "For culture, De Roma is the place to be. Concerts, films and retro parties - there's always something on."
"For a nice breakfast or brunch, I prefer De Walvis. The terrace is situated in the middle of a city but is still surrounded by greenery. It's absolutely beautiful during a summer sunset. When it gets colder, you'll find me in Café Mombasa. It has that old pub feel and and there's loads of stuff about local cycling legend Stanneke Ockers which makes it hard to believe it only opened a couple of years ago," Sarah says. "For clothing I head to the city centre. I love designer pieces but the only way to afford them is to get them second hand. Rosier 41 is where I'll find some Dries Van Noten or Ann Demeulemeester."
Article written by: Wided Bouchrika
Photography by: Patricia Goijens