It's so exciting to be sharing an interview with the beautiful Greet Lefevre of Le Fevre Interiors and Belgian Pearls blog. I've been in awe of Greet since we first started blogging. Her talent and passion for design as well as her sweet and generous spirit is well known in the blog world. For our readers who have yet to meet Greet...you are in for a real treat!
Please welcome Greet Lefevre...
" Hello,I am an interior decorator from Belgium. Together with my husband, I run a family owned business of cabinetmakers, for the fourth generation. I started a blog to share my passion for beautiful things and I do hope to express my design ideas from time to time. I like to tell you about things that keep me busy in general life. And of course I would love to tell you about all things Belgian."
Belgian decor has captivated the hearts of America over the past few years. In fact "the look" has become so popular, most people don't even know where it originated.
Image from Beta Plus Publication
Why don't you begin by telling us what inspires you?
"That is a tough question. I am inspired by a lot of people and things. First of all I like to study the work of a few well known architects and designers. I love 18th and 19th century architectural design styles. Belgium is a land of castles and I love to walk around in these beautiful, wonderful creations! Sometimes I am overwhelmed by their beauty and unconsciously I am influenced by these castles in my work."
One of my favorite designers is our Belgian decorator and antiques dealer Axel Vervoordt (he lives in a castle), and I admit I am very influenced by his work.
This is a wonderful book. A great additon to your design library.
"Blogs are a definite source of inspiration for me as well as interior magazines and publications. I love to browse through the wonderful Beta-Plus publication, a wonderful resource to discover Belgian architecture and design."
Greet's own home was featured in a Beta Plus publication, Contemporary Living With Antiques last April.
What a fabulous home!!! Full of light, yet very warm and comfortable.
Image via Beta Plus Publications
Image via Beta Plus Publications
Image via Beta-Plus Publications
Image via Beta-Plus Publications
Since we've all got a touch of Spring Fever, l thought we'd focus on landscape and garden from a Belgian point of view...
A beautiful gated entrance at the back of Greet's property.
From studying your work, it appears that it's important for you to blend or marry the interior of the home to the exterior. What are your thoughts on this concept?
I love to marry the interior with the exterior! That is why I sometimes use different fabrics for my seat slipcovers, according the seasons. Or I put another cushion or plaid in the seats, using a carpet (winter) or not (summer). In summertime I love to use light colors according to the green color of plants and trees. Sometimes it needn't to be that much. Using different colors of candles or flowers can make the difference, you know!
In Belgium we love brick and stone and as you might have seen in my orangery we even put them
inside the house, on the floor. So there is a marriage of the brick stone façade on the inside floor of my orangery.
Do you normally work with the landscape designer (if there is one) from the very beginning of the project? How important do you think it is to consider the landscape from the very beginning?
The landscape is of huge importance from the very beginning on!!! The day we decided to start building our home, we contacted a landscaper to make us a detailed design drawing of the garden. Because we really wanted to know if there were some areas where we had to level the ground or not. In case we ever wanted stairs in the garden or a backyard with fruit trees,or...? It is all of a big importance. And the landscape designer gave us some good tips to think about the color of our façade according to the trees, plants and flowers (and he wanted us to think about the shadows that big trees could give!) we ever wanted to see around the house and in the garden. We haven't finished the garden yet but thanks to this landscape plan, we do know what kind of green and flowers and where we want to have them in future.
Tell us a little about Belgian landscapes and gardens? What makes them unique?
As every country, Belgium has it's specific plants and trees, according to the Belgian climate. The last years I noticed that a lot of gardens are scaped with aged trees!! Old trees that come from other areas. You will notice that a lot of boxwood is used in Belgian gardens. We have to choose plants that survive the Belgian weather conditions. Last year we tried to plant olive trees, but unfortunately they didn't make it. Also the ground is of big importance.
And yes Belgians try to live in their garden, although the weather isn't always fantastic or sunny, even in summertime. So a lot of Belgian people love to install a swimming pool with according poolhouse or an outbuilding, as we have. I might think that just because of the various weather conditions here, we really try to enjoy our garden the best we can. We want to enjoy it every single sunny moment.
There are a lot of landscape designers in Belgium but I really want to introduce you to our famous landscape designer Jacques Wirtz. (website : http://www.wirtznv.be/). His landscaping is GORGEOUS!! His work influenced a lot of Belgian (and international) landscapers! He is a genius. Unfortunately not everyone can afford to let him design the landscape of their garden.
More formal Belgian gardens...
Do you enjoy working in the garden yourself?
The real gardener is my husband Jan. He really has "green fingers". I try to help him where I can. And I love to search for the right specimen and colors of flowers and plants. Let's say that I am more involved with the designing part of it.
Do you like to entertain outdoors? If so, what type of entertaining would that be?
Oh yes I do!! On one condition, if the weather is nice!!! I love to invite friends or family for a summer party in our garden. But I do have to say that since we moved in our home some 3 years ago, we haven't had the nicest weather at all! I do hope we will this summer!!! The outbuilding is really meant to gather with friends around the barbecue! Unfortunately last summer when the outbuilding was finished, we have had maybe only 1 week of nice sunny weather. Other days it was too chilly. But even then we had dinner with friends some evenings when the fire of the barbecue kept us warm.
Tell us about your "outbuilding"? Are these typical in Belgium? What elements make it special? Is it complete or a work in progress?
Our outbuilding is completed since last summer.
Yes these kinds of outbuildings are typical for Belgium. They are very often executed in oak? We do have a preference for European oak, especially French oak. Our ancestors used oak, so we use it and our children and grand children will probably use it! Don't aks me why?! It is a tradition.
What would be your single most important piece of advice you would share when it comes to Spring and transforming your home for this special season?
Well, I do have to say that to be ready for Spring this year means for me, to have a feeling of wanting something to change and maybe this year it is translated in the redo of my orangery! I wanted it more sunny,' more alive and kicking'. I don't know how to explain but every one should have the feeling to need something to change, at least one particular room or corner in the house , announcing SPRING! To me it is the most important season of the year! FRESH, NEW, ENERGY,RE-BIRTH ! And we all have to be ready for all things coming up, crossing our way the next months of the year! Spring gives us tons of energy and a wonderful promising feeling. Aren't you agree with me?!
I certainly do agree with Greet. It's just a matter of priorities. I have so many plans for the garden this Spring, I'm not sure where to start.
From the bottom of my heart a huge thanks to Greet ! Click here to see the changes she's making in her Orangery. It's going to be so beautiful.
Are you inspired? Did you enjoy this as much as I did?
It's your turn . Let's talk!