Family retreat

Summer house

Oostkerke, BE

This authentic house dates back to 1860. It is located in Oostkerke, a village in the hinterland of the coast. Originally, it was a local pub. Nathalie Deboel converted the building into her own home, during the founding years of her career. Meanwhile, it has become her family’s summer home. The facade has been kept untouched, but the interior has been transformed with great respect for the soul of the original building.

The house in Oostkerke is located on an exposed corner in the village.Nathalie redirected the view away from the street, towards the private patio at the rear. The kitchen takes on a central position in the home and looks onto this ‘outdoor room’. Three arched doorways connect the kitchen to the living and sleeping quarters. They allow for easy circulation, give a spacious impression and create interesting views throughout the building.

‘I try to take a humble position towards the architecture of my projects. I rarely touch the exterior. The interior, to the contrary, is my playing field. First, I carefully unravel how a building works. Then, I optimise important elements such as circulation, light and atmosphere.’

The materials palette has soft colours, natural materials and unpolished textures. reclaimed wooden flooring, whitewashed exposed beams and walls with a rough clay finish, are a calm backdrop for the furniture and Nathalie’s ‘coup de coeurs’. The kitchen has traditional white tiles from Delft and a bright marble worktop with a rough, exposed edge. This balanced dialogue between traditional and contemporary elements, is at the heart of Nathalie’s practice. Everything fits in, as if it has always belonged there.