Bart Appeltans: ‘Small details can make a world of difference’

How do professionals see their field of expertise in everyday life? What does a star chef eat for breakfast? What books does an author read? Or in this case, how does an architect live? We live in a green residential area in Herk-de-Stad. Hus & Have is primarily about coziness, which is why we allow ourselves to enter the garden through the back gate. The lawnmower robot starts its round and so do we.

As a busy architect, do you still have time to be at home?

“Yes, it is, although I have to admit that I also regularly work at home. I always work from home for two days. For example, when I want to draw certain designs in silence. At the start of SFAR, the office was entirely at home. As a result, there was no clear separation between work and private life. For example, when I was sick, I was still confronted with the office. To solve this problem, we moved the SFAR office to Hasselt. So when I’m at home now, I really try to disconnect, which is still hard for me. It’s in my nature to keep going, but that’s why it’s important that you can relax completely at home through the appropriate interior design choices.” says Bart Appeltans.

How can you create this relaxed atmosphere at home?

“To create this, the right choice of materials is very important. Natural materials such as wood and natural stone have a relaxing and cozy effect. During the pandemic, we were all required to go into the woods. After a few months we had seen all the trees, but it made us realize that we need nature more than we first thought. You can change your mind and recharge completely. Therefore, it is not surprising that we try to extend this atmosphere to our homes. Especially in the twenties and thirties, I notice a very clear tendency to put as many plants as possible in every room. It really becomes a competition to see who has the biggest pancake plant. I also like greenery, but unfortunately I’m not very good at maintaining it. That’s why I chose the plastic variants.” says Bart Appeltans.

What makes customers smile? I want to create that.

However, there are also some beautiful genuine specimens in the garden. Has the garden come to the fore in our search for peace and relaxation?

“Yes, I think so. We don’t have time every day to put on our hiking boots. The garden is the perfect substitute for this. Our garden is also the reason my boyfriend and I were absolutely smitten with this location. The depth and characterful feature immediately attracted us. We set up a fire pit ourselves so we can also sit outside in the colder months with a gin in hand. Of course you don’t sit in your garden every day, but that’s no problem. By cleverly placing with a few points of light, you can easily extend the relaxed atmosphere from the outside in. Such details can make a world of difference.” explains Bart Appeltans.

Are details something that worries you every day?

“Yes, constantly. To me, details are not really small things. That’s what it’s all about. When something remarkable catches my eye, I immediately reach for my cell phone to capture it. For 10 years, I’ve said that I would like to take a photography course, but it’s just not happening. So I continue to use my mobile for a while. On the one hand, I’m fascinated by beauty in small things. Realizations that you only notice when you have an eye for them. On the other hand, I have to admit that I also suffer from some kind of professional disability. I might use every detail that I catch later when drawing a design. Although I like to work on it endless, it’s not what every customer wants, so it’s necessary to fully understand who wants what and especially what they don’t want.”

How quickly do you understand what customers want?

“Quite quickly. That’s why they chose me at Bought blind, I suppose. I am open to many different styles. It doesn’t necessarily have to be completely my thing, but it has to suit the customers completely. What makes them smile? I want to create that. By going through several interior photos together, everything quickly becomes clear. There are actually two broad categories of customers. The more creative type who already have a clear picture and the other group who are less informed and give almost complete carte blanche. The latter group can also be a result of Bought blind.”

How big is the effect of Bought blind in your work as an architect?

“The program has given people more confidence in me. Because they have seen on TV that we are capable of great transformations, I often have the opportunity to let people make bolder choices. Another consequence is that I am regularly asked if I am not with my Bought blindcolleagues can look for the ideal home. Although I would like to help people, I am unfortunately too busy to search for my hours.”

To finish, what are your plans for the fall?

“Autumn is a busy time for us. After the summer, most people wake up realizing their building dreams. Usually in November Bought blind– recruit. It will probably be a race against time again, but I have full confidence in it. Finally, the best: my boyfriend and I bought a summer house in the Ardennes. This will be our personal project. Because the only thing more fun than architecture is architecture in vacation mode.” says Bart Appeltans.


What profession would you have had if you had not become an architect?

“If I wasn’t an architect, I’d like to be a scenographer. Building sets for movies or theme parks seems like a big challenge that I would tackle with full enthusiasm. Being able to design my own dream world really appeals to me.”

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