Cristina Balducci and Frédéric, <br> Alexandre 5, Louis 4, Colette 1 year old
Famille - Bruxelles

A Family Design Trip.

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Cristina Balducci and Frédéric,
Alexandre 5, Louis 4, Colette 1 year old

An escape from the doldrums of city life for a brief break on the train. Unreachable and disconnected. Like a step back in time. That’s what we’re hoping for when we jump on to the Thalys high-speed train, heading for Brussels and its countless talents. We’re used to tramping the city streets of Brussels, but this time we’re off to the countryside, near Rhode-Saint-Genèse, on a January morning to meet Cristina Balducci and her family. This part-Italian, part-Finnish mother of three set about restoring this house with the help of Frédéric, her husband and an architect friend. Long months of building work that resulted in the creation of this minimalist haven of peace that is a clever blend of family influences and interior design obsessions. The former come to her mainly from her grandparents, who were mad about architecture and designers of two residences with seventies accents in Finland. As for the latter, they are intimately linked to the way Cristina has made this artistic heritage her own. Animal skins, colours, patterns, and tons of very ethnic accessories that provide relief from the black and white colour scheme that shapes the space. Like a nod to travel (the couple’s visceral passion) to the nth degree, with which they have inculcated their children since they were born. They have grown up able to adapt effortlessly to different cultures that are a part of daily life: an outlook that one senses immediately just being around them. When mischief and design mingle. The Socialite Family encounter.

Hall Entrée Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Enfants Hall Entrée Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Maison Hall Entrée Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Chambre Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Salle à manger Chaises Eames Suspension Vertigo Stokke Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Escaliers Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Cristina Balducci and Frédéric, <br> Alexandre 5, Louis 4, Colette 1 year old
Cristina Balducci and Frédéric, <br> Alexandre 5, Louis 4, Colette 1 year old
Cristina Balducci and Frédéric, <br> Alexandre 5, Louis 4, Colette 1 year old

Cristina, could you tell us about yourself? What do you do for a living?

Cristina

I’m 29 years old, and I was born in Helsinki to a Finnish mother and an Italian father. I arrived in Brussels when I was four years old after spending a few years in Milan. As for Fred, he’s a Belgian through and through, an ex-banker who launched his juice bar business in 2006. Today, we work together in the business that he built. We have three children: Alexandre who’s five-and-a-half, Louis (who follows him around everywhere because they’re only a year apart) and our lovely little girl, Colette, who’s one.

What is the story of this house?

Cristina

We used to live in Uccle, which is closer to Brussels. We started to run out of room and the children were sleeping in the same bedroom. Fred was born here, in Rhode-Saint-Genèse, and we naturally started looking around here because our budget would stretch to more space than we would get in Uccle. We had visited heaps of houses, but this is the one that made me fall head over heels. It was a much bigger project than I had expected, but it was impossible to miss out on it. The house was a ruin, but it had an amazing look about it. The plot was incredible. With a few small exceptions, we have kept the size and space in the rooms the same – on the other hand, we opened up everything below and we made the attic habitable, and it’s now one of our favourite rooms.

How did you furnish and decorate the place?

Cristina

Everyone in my Finnish family is an architect. My grandfather finished some unbelievable projects, like our house on the coast, which is a peaceful paradise that’s full of light. In their house in town, my grandparents have an incredible collection of furniture from the 50s, 60s and 70s, which hasn’t aged a day in sixty years. When I go to visit them, I’m always ecstatic about the attention to detail that they had back in the day. Clearly, their style inspired mine. Minimalism, with lots of black and white, and where there is colour, it’s very restrained. Blank spaces to let you breathe and period designer furniture (which we bought bit by bit in auction houses or over eBay).

Grenier Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Grenier Salle de jeux Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Amazon Jupiduu Slide 249,00€
Description

White Jupiduu slide.

Dimensions: 145 x 68 x 43 cm

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Les Enfants du Design Caravan Divan Child’s bed 1 160,00€
Description

Caravan Divan Child’s Bed by Kalon Studios with Yellow bar.

Dimensions: L 146 x l 76 cm

Bedding (in option, not…

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Salon Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Cristina Balducci and Frédéric, <br> Alexandre 5, Louis 4, Colette 1 year old
Cristina Balducci and Frédéric, <br> Alexandre 5, Louis 4, Colette 1 year old

At the very beginning, our house was very black and white. In winter, it gets pretty cold. For that reason, I wanted to add a bit of warmth with more ethnic accessories.

Salon Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Salon Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Jasper Maison Togo Sofa by Michel Ducaroy On demand
Description

Togo sofa designed by Michel Ducaroy for Ligne Roset.

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Maisons du Monde Faux Fur Rug 150,00€
Description

White faux fur rug Oumka.

Dimensions (cm) : x L 140 x PR 200

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Smallable Vertigo Large Suspension 752,00€
Description

Vertigo ceiling light by Petite Friture. Materials : Polyuréthane, glass fiber, steel cable. Cable length : 3 meter….

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Salon Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique Salle de bain Carrelage noir Miroir ronds Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique Chambre d'enfant Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique Salle de bain Robinetterie noire Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Chambre d'enfant Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Chambre d'enfant Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique

And the space, how is it organised, given that you have three children?

Cristina

At home, the bedrooms are strictly for sleeping only! We don’t spend a lot of time upstairs and the children don’t have any toys there. We spend most of our time in the kitchen or the games room. In the summer, everything is wide open and we make the most of our garden wherever we can (even though, in Belgium, the weather is far from a sure thing).

Do you have a favourite era or a designer whom you’re particularly fond of?

Cristina

We switch between the 50s and 60s, and the 70s. We don’t have a favourite designer but we do sometimes get fixated one designer or another. For the moment, we dream of finding a bar table by Willy Rizzo.

What kind of decoration are you into at the moment?

Cristina

At the very beginning, our house was very black and white. In winter, it gets pretty cold. For that reason, I wanted to add a bit of warmth with fabrics, carpets, cushions, and crockery that’s a bit more ethnic. That’s definitely my obsession of the moment.

Is interior design compatible with a family life?

Cristina

In our house, when you want something enough, you can do it! So, if we want to make sure that the decoration is compatible with the children, it will be. They know that there are some things that they can’t touch and they’ve learned to be careful. There are accidents from time to time, but I like to remind them that they are just things and it never matters all that much.

Chambre d'enfant Maison Photo de famille Cristina Balducci Belgique
Portrait Cristina Balducci Salon Maison Belgique
Chambre d'enfant Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Jouets et sacs Merci Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Chambre d'enfant Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Chambre d'enfant Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Chambre d'enfant Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Chambre d'enfant Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Chambre à coucher parentale Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique

You travel a lot (at least two or three trips since we first got in contact). What is your favourite family destination? What would you recommend?

Cristina

I love to travel. When I was little, we spent our holidays in Finland and Italy. It was brilliant and I wouldn’t change that for the world. Sometimes, people ask me why we drag our kids all over the world “when they won’t remember a thing.” To my mind, it’s absurd to think like that. Travel is what builds our character – every time they travel, they grow, learn to adapt, discover new things, and taste new food. They’re used to that busy pace, they love it, and it’s good for them! Our favourite destination is still Finland. Our house by the seaside is my version of perfection. Everything is stunning when you go there. In summer, the light is incredible, and fortunately, my husband has fallen in love with the country as well. By going there, you learn to get a taste for the simple things in life, with the feeling that you’re the only ones in the world in this silent environment. There are no restrictions on what we can do and the concept of time doesn’t matter. It’s a trip that I would recommend to anyone. Helsinki is a great city, and the people in Finland are completely lovely. It’s super kid-friendly and there are brilliant trips that you can take by boat to Stockholm or Tallinn.

Are there any places you would recommend visiting in Belgium or anywhere else?

Cristina

We recently spent a weekend in Ghent and we loved it! There are some lovely restaurants, quite elaborately decorated the way I like, everywhere you go. I hadn’t been there since I was fifteen and I really fell for the place. Otherwise, in Brussels, I recently discovered the Sanzaru restaurant, a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine. It was incredible.

What are your plans for the coming year?

Cristina

This year, Fred will be opening a new store. These are always major projects because the fit-out needs several months of work. We are super-excited. As for me, I’m turning 30. I wanted to celebrate with a big trip, so we’re going to South Africa to celebrate as a family in April, just after a short five-day break in Copenhagen. We would also like to decorate two rooms, finish a few details in the house, and perhaps put a gym in the garden. I’m dreaming of a fourth baby as well, but we’ll see about that.

Chambre à coucher Parentale Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Photos de famille Enfants Cristina Balducci Belgique
Chambre d'enfant tapis renard Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Cristina Balducci and Frédéric, <br> Alexandre 5, Louis 4, Colette 1 year old
Salle de bain Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Chambre d'enfant Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Cristina Balducci and Frédéric, <br> Alexandre 5, Louis 4, Colette 1 year old
Cristina Balducci and Frédéric, <br> Alexandre 5, Louis 4, Colette 1 year old
Hall Entrée Appliques blanches Maison Cristina Balducci Belgique
Cristina Balducci and Frédéric, <br> Alexandre 5, Louis 4, Colette 1 year old

Deco inspiration...

Kelly Claessens and Benoît Deneufbourg, <br> Leon 4 years old

Kelly Claessens and Benoît Deneufbourg,
Leon 4 years old

On rue Antoine Dansaet, in Brussels, Kelly Claessens’ decoration boutique needs no introduction. A great architecture and interiors enthusiast, this lady has been offering selections of everyday objects, lighting and outdoor furniture for the...

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2 comments

May I inquire, is a dress or pant/jump suit? Is beautiful print.
Gorgeous post!

Caroline BALVAY, 2 February 2018

Hi Meghan,
The jump suit is from H&M :-)
Thanks again for your words.
Have a wonderful weekend,
The Socialite Family’s Team

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