K residence, Kalmthout, Belgium Launch video

Eva Koch

Architect Agency
Eva Koch Architecten

Metal Builder
Baeten-Van Es

Product solutions used
Avantis Smartline 70 windows and Confort Smartline sliders

Home Sweet Home Magazine - Nick Cannaerts

Controlling the incidence of light was an important aspect of this design. This wide plot is oriented north and is indeed beautiful among the mature trees. This made it a bit of a puzzle to keep enough light. We were allowed to build very wide: the house is now about 40m wide. That long space is now an important feature that the children are of course very happy with; they can do some serious sprints here in the house. This north-facing orientation is particularly nice because it gives us a rear facade with many and large windows. With a south-facing house, this would be a lot of hassle with screens, roofs, air conditioning… now we are surrounded by greenery across the entire width, without extra efforts to keep it livable. The south side is almost completely closed, except of course for the spacious office.

Living spaces and office are nicely separated by the entrance hall: that is a practical choice that I have made very consciously. Every room in this house has its own place, at the same time everything is connected. Socializing is nice but being able to withdraw somewhere in the house can sometimes be necessary. Bringing contrasts together to reinforce each other is quite a big part of the story here.

We have to maintain a balance. For the architect, functionality weighs heavily on quality of life. I personally find practical design and optimal use of spaces more important than the use of the most exclusive materials. Take the floor here: it is a solid wooden herringbone pattern, but it is made from residual wood, so that it remains affordable and sustainable. The same goes for the kitchen and bathroom. For the kitchen worktop and the bathroom finish I opted for solid core: very hard, user-friendly and beautiful, but less expensive than the usual materials or natural stone. Building is getting more and more expensive. When people have to choose between expensive materials or, for example, an extra room, I tend to convince them towards the latter. Please note: exclusive materials and pieces can be very beautiful and definitely offer added value, but if I can choose, they are not at the top of the hierarchy. Ultimately, a house should not depend too much on the materials and colors. By playing with the spaces as an architect, you must be able to transcend that, so that a house in completely different shades comes into its own.

Limiting the number of different materials also provides extra peace and clarity. That is why you mainly see the same light tones in this house or, more playfully; the blue-green of the kitchen that refers to the green-blue in the living room. The floor was largely extended, except in the kitchen and the office where travertine was used. For the lighting, we mainly chose surface-mounted fixtures. In this way we largely avoided the additional cost of drilling, grinding… It is also a flexible way to let the spaces grow with you. Are you tired of something? Then you hang something else.

A certain uniformity has therefore been chosen, but that of course does not prevent the spaces from standing on their own. That remains an important aim: to give each space its own identity, organically fitting into the whole.