The spirit of the Provence
Sabrina and Kris transformed an old farmhouse into a cosy home and B&B, fitted out with accessories and furniture from the Scapa Home collection.
Those travelling to Rolleken 24 will first pass typical Flemish land divisions, until the area opens up and the landscape becomes greener. A quaint cobblestone street leads to the B&B, situated on a stretch of nature which, in good weather, is reminiscent of Provence. It was Sabrina's idea to name the B&B Rolleken 24. 'People tend to remember it the first time they hear it. Kris discovered in an old Atlas Ferraris map that the area used to be called Rolequin, so we wanted to do something with that name at first; but we thought the different spellings might confuse people, so we settled on Rolleken 24.'
'I've sold Scapa products in my clothing shop for ten years now, so the decision was an easy one.'
Farmhouse for sale
Sabrina and Kris used to live in Oostmalle, but wanted to move to a greener area. 'We thought it would be nice for the children and we also wanted room to keep animals; we're real animal lovers at heart,' explains Sabrina. 'We hoped to find a home near De Lilse Bergen,' adds Kris. They decided to take a fun and hands-on approach and started touring Lille and the surrounding area by bicycle and by Vespa in search of their new home. During these evening excursions, they saw what appeared to be a vacant farmhouse, but it wasn't for sale. It was thanks to Sabrina's sister, who knew the owners of the farmhouse, that they eventually got the call to ask if they were interested in buying the place. The decision was easily made.
Paving the way
Despite living in a modern house before they moved to Lille, Sabrina and Kris consciously opted for a more rustic style. 'Sleek and modern isn't very child-friendly.' Before the renovation, the couple enlisted the help of architect Stéphane Boens from Sint-Martens-Latem, who specializes in rustic new-builds and renovations. He suggested moving the road so that visitors could travel down a cobblestone track instead to reach the entrance. The old drive, also paved with cobblestones, was kept intact and now serves as a patio. The road is flanked with beautiful old trees that provide a shady spot in which to sit in summer. Stéphane added large windows to the farmhouse so the family could take in the stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The B&B is connected to the main house and features a spacious living room, where guests can enjoy a delicious breakfast. The two bedrooms are located above the living room.
Sabrina and Kris opted for a muted colour palette of soft earth tones ranging from bluish-grey to reddish-brown. The lime-washed walls are the work of painter Wim Aerts from Westerlo. The B&B was largely decorated and furnished with items from the Scapa Home collection. Sabrina manages Globe clothing shop in Vosselaar, where she has sold Scapa clothes for years. 'The link was quickly made. The advantage is that we can swap out accessories each season while maintaining the same overall style.'
Sabrina and Kris had been thinking about transforming their home into a B&B for some time. 'We even put in an offer for an existing B&B years ago.' This was a long-cherished dream, despite the fact that neither of them had stayed in a B&B before. 'We always go to the same hotel in Greece,' Kris says with a smile. Sabrina had worked in the hospitality sector for ten years, running a brasserie that also served breakfasts and brunches.
'We recently had guests who happened to be hotel owners and they said ours was the best breakfast they'd ever had.' Sabrina was clearly delighted at this complement, but modestly adds: 'It's not that hard. We cook up some eggs from our chickens and add some fried bacon, mushrooms, lots of fresh fruit, and rolls and croissants from Muller, our local baker. We never use pre-baked bread; everything we serve is fresh.' The family have lived here for a year now and expanded their brood with several long-awaited animal companions: five ponies, some chickens, and, in the near-future, some goats. 'There's never a dull moment here,' says Sabrina with a laugh.
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