Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Belgian Pearls made it to the Shortlist of the Amara Interior Blog Awards


I am so pleased to tell you that my blog Belgian Pearls made it to the shortlist of the Amara Interior Blog Awards, in the category of ‘Best European Interiors Blog’.

I was thrilled and honoured to receive an email with congratulations from the Amara team, last week. It really was a surprise !  Thank you Amara !  It is an honour to receive this recognition by your prestigious brand.

And of course, I would like to sincerely thank each of you for your support and for voting for Belgian Pearls ! Without you, I wouldn’t have had the chance to be included in the Amara Award list and wouldn’t have made it to the shortlist. I am so grateful.

A sincere thank you to all of you my readers!


To see the shortlisted blogs of all categories, please click here.


Yesterday I received my personal invitation to the Amara Award Ceremony that will take place in London on Wednesday, October 28.

InvitationMy personal invitation. I love the glamorous look of the black envelope and the gold invitation template.


I can’t wait to meet my colleague shortlisted bloggers. I do hope they will attend the awards ceremony !


I am pleased to introduce you to these talented bloggers :

Gudy from Barcelona - Spain, author of the blog Eclectic Trends

Simone from Basel - Switzerland, author of the blog Global Inspirations Design

Alessandra from Milan - Italy, author of the blog Gucki

Niki from Malmö - Sweden, author of the blog My Scandinavian Home


Of course each one of us would love to be honoured with this award, but having made it to the shortlist, means that we all have won yet!


I wish all four of them good luck !

Amara Award Shortlisted Blogs


To be continued…



Thursday, September 24, 2015

The stables of Castello di Thiene - Italy


Castello di Thiene is located in the heart of Thiene, a city in the province of Vicenza, in northern Italy, located approximately 75 kilometres west of Venice and 200 kilometres east of Milan.

This enchanting gothic style building dates back to the XV century. It was built as a private residence for the Porto family and combines all the characteristics of a Venetian palazzo with a medieval castle.

Although the castle counts several beautiful spaces, today I would love to talk about the castle’s stables, the most distinctive area and worth seeing space in the monumental complex.

The stables of the Castello di Thiene were designed by Italian architect Francesco Muttoni (1669 - 1747) and are a perfect example of the early 18th century equestrian architecture. The stables are housed in a structure that was erected next to the villa, during the 18th century.

The Porto family, one of the richest in the province, had a passion for all things equestrian and built these stables to house the horses to be trained. They were built to impress potential horse buyers.


Marble, stone, wood, beamed ceiling, patterned floor.

15Image source here

The stables are divided into quarters, with eight stalls in each section.


Main entrance to the stables, with its rounded-arch doorway, is to see to the left of the gothic archway.

19Image source here


Inside, putti-topped marble columns, are framing each entrance to the stables. The sculpted putti are made of Vicenza stone by Italian Baroque sculptor Orazio Marinali. The columns are in red Asiago marble. The wrought-iron hooks on the marble columns served to hold tack and bridles.

1Image source Castello di Thiene


The indentations in the extraordinary chain patterned floor - that is made of white and pink stone - gave grip to horses and men.

The first stable on the right has a hatch from which water was drawn at the top end of the stone duct, sloped to drain the muck into the ditch beneath.

2Image source Castello di Thiene


The beautiful carved wooden hay stalls hold rings to which horses could be tied and at the top are pegs for attaching each horse’s name.

5Image source Castello di Thiene


The opposite entrance to the stables.

16Image source here   Photo credit Tim Beddow for The World of Interiors – issue September 2013


The stables (together with other areas of the castle) are to hire for all your festivities. To know more about it, please click here or here.

Georgeous festivity settings at the stables.

17Image source Castello di Thiene


14Image source Castello di Thiene


Imagine a stable festivity at night! To die for!

11Image source here


Visiting the castle’s stables, you should absolutely go to see the horse gallery on the ‘piano nobile’ of the castle, that is housing a fascinating collection of equestrian portraits : four paintings of different breeds of horse with riders, painted in the 17th century and four paintings with horse and groom.

13Image source here


One of the gallery’s paintings is of a gentleman portrayed in the act of making a precise movement that shows his skill at command and the nature and firmness of his training. This painting is attributed to Francesco Balante (Thiene, c.1663-1729), pupil of Italian Baroque painter Pietro Liberi.

4Image source here

Photographer and writer Tim Beddow mentioned in an article he wrote about the Thiene stables, for the Magazine World of Interiors (September issue 2013) : “The stables at Thiene are a vivid reminder of the times when the noblest of creatures stood at the centre of Western culture, and their abode was the living expression of its importance.” (Article WOI)


To see more about the Castello di Thiene and its stables, please visit the castle’s website here :

The façade of the Castello di Thiene.Castello di ThieneImage source Castello di Thiene


Would I have preferred to have been a horse or a groom, back in time of the 18th century Thiene stables ??

I am wondering if my Mango’s ‘Oldenburg’ horse pedigree would have matched the impressive 18th stables’ architecture ?

I have to find out !


Mango Summer 2015Mango




Monday, September 14, 2015

Traditional dining rooms


Do you love traditional style dining rooms?

Well then, here are some of my favorites.


2Dining room of Hotel Verhaegen, a uniquely well preserved 18th century hotel and private mansion, located in the city center of Ghent - Belgium. This dinging room is decorated by Marc Vergauwe & Johan Rosseel of Neoo Selon Neo   Image source here


8Dining room decorated by Belgian designer Pieter Porters.   Image source Pinterest


4The image of this gorgeous dining room I found on the Instagram page of Fox & Chatto. Unfortunately I haven’t found yet who the designer might be.


10Dining room at the Château du Champ de Bataille, a 17th century estate in Normandy, owned and decorated by French designer Jacques Garcia.   Image source here


14Dining room in a private Belgian castle, decorated by me for Lefèvre Interiors.   Photo credit Koen Snauwaert


9Dining room decorated by one of my favorite UK designers John Stefanidis.   Image source here


11Dining room at the private residence of Belgian antiques dealer Brigitte Garnier.   Image source here


13Dining room decorated by me for Lefèvre Interiors.   Photo credit Montse Garriga


1Dining room decorated by Zara Home.


16Charming dining room, designed by Dublin based interior designer Miriam Peters of Minnie Peters Interiors.   Image source here


5Beautiful paneled dining room, featured in The World of Interiors – October 2011 issue   Photo credit Tim Beddow


6A fabulous dining room of another of my favorite UK designers, Nicky Haslam. I love the idea of having dinner, surrounded by books.   Image source here


15Who wouldn’t love to be invited to this gogeous table at the Chateau du Grand-Lucé of Timothy Corrigan, one of my TOP 10 favorite American designers !   Image source here


3Image source unknown


7Venetian inspired dining room in a Las Vegas home, decorated by Michael and Alexandra Misczynski of Atelier AM   Image source here   Photo credit Pieter Estersohn


12Perfectly classic, terra cotta painted, dining room in a Tuscan home, decorated by one of America’s preeminent interior decorators, the late Mark Hampton.   Image source here   Photo credit Michael Mundy


Are you ready for dinner ?