Thomas Ostyn, third-generation owner of kitchen and interior design studio Obumex, takes us inside his light-filled, multi-functional Belgian sanctuary designed by Nicolas Schuybroek Architects.
On the outskirts of Brussels, a patch of land surrounded by dense woodlands presented a new opportunity for Thomas, his wife Julie and their three children. He appointed Belgian architect Nicolas Schuybroek, who debuted his first kitchen interpretation for Obumex at Milan Design Week this year, to design his first family home.
“Floor-to-ceiling windows invite nature and light inside, while our spacious internal areas allow us to roam about as if we were immersed in the landscape itself,” Thomas says. Of working alongside Nicolas, he says, “our partnership was incredibly positive. Nicolas’ vision was aligned with my Obumex way of thinking from decisions regarding space and light, right through to material choices.”
Aesthetics and practicality work in tandem inside the home. “Our large entrance doors on all sides of the home ensure the children can enter and exit the garden from several vantage points,” he says. “There are almost no internal doors – all rooms are connected.”
Essentially, one can view family activity in the living zone, the terrace, or even in the office – all while standing in the kitchen.” True to the Obumex ideology of ‘sustainable happiness beginning at home’, Thomas’ home features raw and natural materials such as limestone, aged oak timber and metal. “Even though substitute artificial alternatives are plentiful nowadays, no compromise was ever considered,” he says.
Timber ceiling beams and sandblasted aged-oak timber wall panels concealing storage add warmth to the dining space. Stone tiles flow beneath a custom dining table by Nicolas Schuybroek. Walnut chairs from the BassamFellows Chair Factory surround the table dressed with vintage Louis Weisdorf pendant lights.
Naturally, the kitchen is the hero of the home – and a showcase for one of Thomas’ proudest collaborations; French architect Joseph Dirand’s signature cantilevered kitchen for Obumex. The home’s finishes reflect the quiet composure he desired for his family. “A house should provide tranquillity, which is why we opted for honest, noble, natural tones,” he says.
Importantly, practicality is a non-negotiable for Thomas. “A home may be aesthetically pleasing, but it must also be functional,” he says. “Every space within our home serves a purpose, if not several.” He believes unused areas can make a house feel uninviting. “To me, there is no such thing as a dining room. Rather a space that can be utilised as a dining room, a desk, a bar, or even a children’s drawing nook. Ninety per cent of our home is used ninety per cent of the time.”
In the bedroom, a minimalist-inspired artwork by Jessica Sanders is featured above a suede headboard. Vintage Bidone wall lamps by Luigi Caccia Dominioni dress the custom-designed bedside table alongside a clear water jug and glass set from When Objects Work.
Light pierces through the indoor pool area, accentuated by the wall and floor stone tiling.
Externally, OV House features light grey limestone blocks among bespoke steel-framed windows. On the terrace, limestone tiles are carried underfoot. Charlotte Perriand chairs, a custom sofa in Belgian linen and a bespoke Nicolas Schuybroek coffee table all feature as part of the outdoor setting.