MUD Residence | A Design House in Leuven, Belgium | The Aficionados

Sixties Rebel

MUD Residence | A Design House in Leuven, Belgium | The Aficionados
Vintage Charlotte Perriand chairs complete the look alongside low-slung velvet sofas from the Paris studio of Pierre Augustin Rose, rounded and elegant a la 60s chic with classic modernity coming from Kalmar Werkstatten light stands and Apparatus trapeze mobiles

Intro

MUD Residence is an original 60s house layered with contemporary detailing, located in Flemish Brabant between the greens of Heverlee forests and Meerdal woods, a fresh, modernist and creative abode 20kms east of Brussels. A marriage of nature and design, architecture and creativity that is neatly wrapped by doorstep nature, MUD invites guests to be inspired by its seductive design manifesto as a place to think, hunker down, or as your private creative basecamp. Bend the rules to your own needs and see how MUD adapts – a stylish canvas for your thoughts, a natural hideaway or as a place to simply reconnect.

Engineered with verve, foresight and a healthy dollop of authenticity, owners and hosts Sophie and Frank De Jonghe, self-confessed minimalist lovers, saw opportunity knocking when the next-door house was put up for sale. Originally planning it as a place for friends and family to stay, their mantra of ‘dream, believe, do, repeat’ meant that the idea soon evolved into a stylish two-bedroom boutique guesthouse, with Antwerp-based architect Andy Kerstens of Kerstens Architects brought on board to ensure craftsmanship and detail were at the forefront of MUD’s vision.

Together they teased out the original 60s vibe where vintage pieces, infused culture and modern architecture coexist in a harmonious style palette, executed to perfection. Weathered woods contrast with smooth, unpolished concrete, willowy curtains whisper on rough flagstones, and sober, sleek lines of steel draw the eye to the greenery of the garden. Light streams in from large, glazed windows allowing a delicate play of casting shadow while colour is deliberately subdued throughout and utterly natural. Putty greys, marbled creams and gnarled browns come from the ample use of stone, wood, travertine and linen with glimpses of brushed bronze.

Warmth and softness are added via hessian rugs with 60s furniture placed beautifully to catch the light. Vintage Charlotte Perriand chairs complete the look alongside low-slung velvet sofas from the Paris studio of Pierre Augustin Rose, rounded and elegant a la 60s chic with classic modernity coming from Kalmar Werkstatten light stands and Apparatus trapeze mobiles.

Authenticity runs deep here, and at MUD you’re positively encouraged to make the most of your time with its purpose-made creative studio. Artist needing a residence, photographer wanting a studio or a team craving a regroup? Wander the woods, coming back when your creativity is ready to flow. Take an e-bike on a pathway to the misty lake to immerse yourself in colour and light. There’s even a recording studio and podcast set up for when inspiration strikes.

But as much as MUD is about ‘doing’, it also gives motivation for slowing down, either as a small group of friends, family or couple, with everything provided to make your stay serene and special. Certainly, the underground wellness area with bio sauna, the outdoor hot tub and the bedroom’s spacious bathtubs are reason enough to press pause.

Whether you need your creative juices stimulated or you simply crave to step off the treadmill of life, like the clay that inspired the name, MUD residence will sculpt you into its soothing scene.

Rooms

MUD Residence | A Design House in Leuven, Belgium | The Aficionados MUD Residence | A Design House in Leuven, Belgium | The Aficionados

Two bedrooms mean that MUD Residence is the perfect escape for a small group or family. Continuing the smooth palette that inks downstairs, the first-floor bedrooms are exceptionally chic and comfortable, with a muted style swatch that takes inspiration from the mottled concrete, creamy, swirled walls and smooth pine flooring.

In each bedroom, a sliding door reveals a compact, modern bathroom. Angular double sinks contrast with fluffy towels and a shower bathtub combo holds luxe amenities from New York cult perfumier Le Labo. A nod to the local comes from the scented hand soaps sourced in Savonneries Bruxelloises.

Beds are swathed in luxe bedding, and a Pierre Jeanneret  Armless Easy Sofa makes a perfect spot for relaxation, perhaps with the thoughtfully provided slippers in place.

Foodie

MUD Residence | A Design House in Leuven, Belgium | The Aficionados

Whether you’re here to be reclusive or use the style refuge as a base to explore, your foodie options can be tweaked to your liking. On arrival, a ‘survival basket’ greets you, with some of life’s true essentials including champagne, fresh pasta and tomato sauce, crisps, and Belberry jam, yoghurt and granola. If you need cupboards stocked with groceries before you arrive, this can easily be arranged as can a daily breakfast.

Staying at the house for your meals might mean a BBQ in the verdant garden, a candlelit dinner in the greenhouse (where guests are encouraged to pick fresh vegetables) or a chef-prepared gourmet meal. Simple but delicious picnics can be prepared for days out on the e-bike exploring the lake and woodlands.

What is also rather special about this chic hideaway is that there are four Michelin-starred restaurants within a ten-minute vicinity – Arenberg, EED, Couvert Couvert and Essenciel. Take your tastebuds for a trip around this hidden foodie enclave.

Spa

MUD Residence | A Design House in Leuven, Belgium | The Aficionados MUD Residence | A Design House in Leuven, Belgium | The Aficionados

Despite MUD’s diminutive size, housing just four guests, you’ll discover its spa and wellbeing facilities to be ample. A private bio infrared sauna sets the tone to chill with its adjoining shower and relaxation space, and outside a Weltevree hot tub beckons invitingly in the confines of the exotic garden. Leaving your style den might be hard but with e-bikes on hand you can get your fill of nourishing nature with bike trails through the forests and by the magical lakeside. For those that like their fitness to be more structured, a personal trainer can be on hand to help motivate and that all-important massage can be arranged through a local, skilled masseuse.

Location

MUD Residence | A Design House in Leuven, Belgium | The Aficionados

Cradled between the forests of Heverlee and Meerdal, this is one all-natural hideaway. Yet, MUD Residence is only a mere 20 minutes from Brussels where you can find a coffee pitstop in lofty Grand Place, sit down for steamy moules frites, and admire the city’s architectural gems. Also nearby are the historic cities of Leuven, Antwerp, Liege and Gent, all easily doable in a day trip.

Engineered with verve, foresight and a healthy dollop of authenticity, owners and hosts Sophie and Frank De Jonghe, self-confessed minimalist lovers, saw opportunity knocking when the next-door house was put up for sale.

Owner

Sophie and Frank De Jonghe are the owners and visionaries of this perfect pocket in Belgium. Having a strong sense of style and an admiration for all things minimalist, they were well-placed to take on a project, even though they quite didn’t know it themselves. It took the house next door to go on sale for Sophie and Frank De Jonghe to realise that this was part of their masterplan. Instead of creating a house for family and friends which was the original thinking, they enlisted the help of Kerstens Architects, and together they brought MUD to life as a stylish refuge for creatives, style-seekers and those needing their inspiration levels topped up.

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