Boulevard Leopold, Antwerp.

Bert, co-owner of Boulevard Leopold, the Bed and Breakfast where some scenes from « The Man with the Suitcase » were filmed.

As soon as you cross the doorstep of this nineteenth century house in the Jewish district of Antwerp, you feel as if you have entered a unique place, a place out of the past that two talented people wanted to preserve while bringing their own touch of fantasy.

“This was a gift of love from a Jew to his wife”, these are the first words from the owner, Bert. He turned the house into a Bed & Breakfast three years ago with his friend Vincent. Bert and Vincent immediately became fascinated with the typical Flemish house. After visiting it, they went back home, immediately decided to sell everything they possessed, and went back to Boulevard Leopold to buy the place. As a guarantee, Bert only had their love and commitment to the space and a fifty euros bill; he gave it to the owner and the deal was done! The house was too big for only two people so they began to wonder what they could do with the large space. Bert, a former cook, was dreaming as a young boy of building his own Bed and Breakfast. Bert and Vincent simply materialized this child dream.

 This house had been a home to the same family of eight for more than 60 years and had not been renovated since the 1950s.The house had aged, but key details had been preserved such as floors, glass doors, door handles, etc. “We did not want to break the feeling of the house”, says Bert, and they definitely did not. They started from an idea of natural renovation: they wanted to keep the antique luxury feeling, but adapting it to contemporary comfort. They have kept the original plans and configuration, and have painted all the walls and cellars in a green-grey very close to the original colour. And, because both of them immediately thought of their grandparents when they first saw the house, they decided to rebuild with “grandma’s home” in mind. They plunged into their existing passion, antiques and flea markets, and entirely furnished the house with second-hand treasures bought all around the world, including a vintage velvet Chesterfield, a collection of crucifixes, a wall of hunting trophies, a table made of antique books, altar pieces turned into bathroom mirrors, etc. This eclectic blend gives the space a unique, poetic, and deeply magical atmosphere.

 When you ask Bert about what he prefers in his house, he answers with a smile: “I like the whole house… I like the hall, the kitchen, the Belgian proportions of rooms…” And one cannot forget the lovely veranda and little savage garden where guests can enjoy fresh orange juice and homemade bread as a wonderful breakfast. Those guests, initially only from Belgium and Netherlands, now come from around the world thanks to the international press who reveal the precious secret of this lovely place.

 After a second Bed & Breakfast venture in the Antwerp centre, Bert and Vincent have just bought a house in the south of France which they will renovate. They will have much deserved holidays there, and then, they might be rent it. This would be another “gift of love”, but this time from them to their future guests.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, what a magical place!!! You can tell that the smallest details were thought of and created. I would love to visit!