Vanessa, an interior decorator, and her carpenter husband love wood. For their forested land in the Belgian Ardennes, they opted for a 350 m2 wooden home of Kontio’s log. Two years later, the couple are more convinced than ever of the virtues of building with solid wood.
How did your project came about?
Our first solid wooden home was destroyed in a fire in 2009. We wanted to build a new, second home to replace it on our property, both to enjoy during our holidays and to rent out. We had experience in drawing up the plans for our first wooden home, so we had plenty to start with. We just wanted to enlarge it and change some details.
Why did you decide to rebuild with solid wood?
The aesthetics and warmth of wood are simply unique. We always had in mind the image of a beautiful mountain log house that endures gracefully from generation to generation. On our plot of land, surrounded by fir trees, building with log was practically self-evident. The solid wood construction draws its charm from its surroundings.
What convinced you to choose Kontio?
We found no offers in Belgium that met our needs, so we went to meet French builders at an exhibition in Épinal, in northeastern France. Kontio’s local reseller there was specialised in the design and construction of houses using Kontio ArcticPine™. After the exhibition we had two companies to choose between, but Kontio’s reseller Aukio won out on account of the seriousness, speed and quality of their proposals for our project. We immediately got the impression that we were in good hands and that everything would go swimmingly.
And you were right?
Most definitely! Once the decision was made, we sent our plans to Aukio’s managing director, Nicolas Gillard, and then everything went very quickly. He came to see the land, even though he had to make an almost five-hour trip! Getting the building permit delayed us a little, but after that all the work on the site was done quickly and efficiently. Everyone was very professional and friendly, and always took our views into account. We came several times to check on the progress, and everything was always fine. The building work began in February, and the house was handed over to us in April. Considering the first-class quality, that was really impressive.
Did you do the finishing yourselves?
Yes, we wanted to do that part because we like to add our personal touch to our projects, using raw materials. It took about three months to complete the interior design and decoration. We put wood everywhere! It works well with natural stone, slate, linen, faux fur. We found some mountain objects as a bargain: ice skates and wooden skis, boar, deer and elk heads, and the like. We also wanted to add a touch of luxury in the large wooden terrace, with beautiful exterior lighting, a wooden sauna, and a modern spa.
Are you satisfied with your Kontio home today?
We couldn’t be happier! We have a very warm winter house, both authentic and modern. We especially like the living room area with the huge and very cosy fireplace in the centre, comfortable sofas and an original wooden coffee table. When we come here on holiday, we feel well straight away, it is very relaxing. Even in the summer heat it is very comfortable.
We also rent the house out regularly. It is very popular on Instagram and Facebook. It can accommodate up to fourteen people, with eight bedrooms and Italian bathrooms. Wood has very good noise-damping properties, and the interior layout provides plenty of privacy for everyone. People appreciate this and they always feel at home here. We get tenants from many countries who appreciate the charms of solid wood.
Would you recommend Kontio?
Absolutely, without any hesitation. I had never done much construction work before this, but if I had to do it again I’d do the exact same thing because we are very pleased with it. In fact, we have a property nearby where we would like to build a wooden home. We’ll certainly be using their services again!