De Dietrich
De Dietrich

Belgium - Hilltop Bungalow

Surrounded by panoramic vistas and greenery, this house-on-a-hill is the perfect holiday home.

Perched on a quaint hilltop, amidst postcard-perfect landscape in Belgium, sits the Wyffels' sprawling bungalow home. It was love at first sight for them - the rolling hills and open space made this an irrestible site to build a home. "We had a very good feeling from the first moment we saw this location," says Mr Wyffels, a car dealer at BMW. "The first impression is very important and is almost always the correct decision." Together with his wife, they were so taken by the unique vistas that they eventually made it a key feature in the design of their house. In fact, nearly all the rooms enjoy the views, as the design of the home blends the outdoors and the indoors through the liberal use of glass, and specially-tailored open-space locations within the house.

One of these open spaces consists of a 65- sq-m roof terrace that extends out from the second storey of the bungalow's south side. The outdoor terrace not only adds a clever twist to the linear facade, but also serves as a highly functional entertaining and dining space. One of the couple's favourite activities is to have a quiet evening supper on the terrace. "During summer, we like to have all our meals - breakfast, dinner and supper - out on the roof terrace where we enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of nature all around," the couple says. To further take advantage of the views, the upper floor features generous balconies, maximising the space and bringing nature right to the rooms' door steps.

In their brief to their architects, the Wyffels asked to have functional spaces with less walls and doors, particularly in the living room. The many full-length glass windows and sliding doors also allow natural light to flood through, in addition to letting the owners enjoy the natural views.

With a total covered built-up space of 2,154 sq ft, the home, while large, does not overwhelm - an important factor for the couple who live here alone. Clean lines dominate the architecture and decor, while materials like wood and natural stone were chosen to give the home a feeling of warmth and cosiness.

The entire design and construction for this four-bedroom bungalow took about two years, with the Wyffels closely involved in the whole process. According to them, the project was nearly glitch-free, except for a slight delay caused by incorrect measurement of the windows. "Everything else proceeded without any problems, because I followed everything very closely," laughs Mr Wyffels.

With their two grown-up children married with homes of their own, the Wyffels also wanted a place that they could relax and indulge in the things they enjoy, such as wining and dining. Naturally, the dining room and kitchen are the busiest areas in the home, with the missus of the house whipping up a wide range of delectable dishes. According to her husband, Mrs Wyffels is an excellent cook, not surprising since she was previously from the hospitality industry. Which is why when it came to picking out their kitchen appliances, they decided upon De Dietrich for the brand's good quality and modern aesthetics. "We like the generous space on the induction hob, especially the good distance between the many cooking zones and also the beautiful designs," the Wyffels say. The clean lines and aesthetics of the De Dietrich appliances also went particularly well with the modern theme of their kitchen and dining areas, which have colours like white, cream and accents of brown and black dominating the furnishings. Flanked by full-length glass sliding doors on one side, and simple white walls in the interior, the open-kitchen and dining area is vast.

Over in the living room - one of the couple's favourite spaces - the same open concept is carried through, with no wall or door separating the living room from the dining area. The result is a relaxed functionality, with a fluid mix of activity and rest, within a spacious ground floor. To ease the transition from the more angular forms of the kitchen to the softer outlines of a living room, the dining table - which serves as the in-between point - is oval-shaped and draped in a fabric tablecloth, as are the dining chairs. The combination of curves and fabric create a cosy atmosphere to wine and dine in.

With the right mix of rustic ease and modern practicality, it's no wonder that the Wyffels find it hard to describe how much they love living in their hilltop home. Mr Wyffels sums it up best, "Every time I come back from work and step into my home, I feel like I am on holiday!"