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Publication Date: 2014-10-15

At Home With Walda

A celebrated Belgian interior designer throws open the doors and windows to her century-old house near Antwerp. The views indoors and out are exceptional.

Walda Pairon folds back the wooden doors of an eighteenth-century cabinet in the living room of her house outside Antwerp, Belgium, to reveal shelves of everyday objects. But the array of cake plates and gelatin molds, muffin tins and bread baskets, all set against a violet natural powder paint background, suddenly take on the import of sculpture.

Within the glass-ceilinged space that the noted Belgian interior designer calls the Orangery ­— the European name for a separate on-site conservatory for plants and fruit trees ­— her decorative objects and furnishings emerge in full relief. Cushions and throws in hues of periwinkle, fuchsia, amber, maroon, and orange-red boldly accent a pair of ottomans. A chair fashioned from a tree trunk and fitted with a lavender, form-fitting cushion becomes both an organic and abstract work of art and an inviting place to sit. A pair of hinged multipaned windows open to the lush garden beyond, created by her son Mikael, an accomplished garden designer. Each terra-cotta urn and ornamental shrub becomes a decorative item.

No room in Pairon’s rambling home seems mannered. As her son Raphaël, who works in her design business, says, “The style of the house is her typical style with all of her projects. She’s influenced by Italian and French and English motifs, and while her basic colors are neutral, she mixes in highly colorful details.” Indeed, Pairon has the uncanny ability to introduce startling pops of color into a room without any one hue taking precedence. And as is her style, too, Pairon will change the colors seasonally, a design dynamic that keeps every room in her home fresh.

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