Saturday, October 10, 2015

Pompeian Red


When Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were discovered in the 18th century, ‘Pompeian red’ became the favoured colour for dining rooms, even remaining today.

It is hard to define ‘Pompeian’ red. When you google ‘Pompeian red’, you will discover a variety of reds.

The Pompeians derived their reds from the earth, using red ochre, iron ore, hematite, madder root,…, all quite brown in its raw state. The Pompeian paint made of the mineral cinnabar, was a more brighter colour.

According to research done in 2011, conducted by Italy's National Institute of Optics, much of the red colour that characterizes the walls of the villas of Herculaneum and Pompeii originally was in fact a yellow ochre, turned red by the gases emitted from Vesuvius as it erupted in AD 79. To read more about this research, click here.


I love the warm atmosphere of red painted rooms, especially at this time of the year.


Study room at Crabbenburg Castle (Ghent, Belgium), decorated by interior designer Marie-Louise van Overdijk-Reek.

1  Photo credit Jean-Pierre Gabriel    Source AD Russia




Ancient Roman frescoes depicting the cult of Dionysus in the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii. The most famous set of red frescoes from Pompeii.
Villa dei Misteri PompeiiSource here




Dining room in a Tuscan home, decorated by the late Mark Hampton.

3  Photo credit Michael Mundy   Source here




The discovery of the house ruins in Pompeii and Herculaneum had an enormous effect on the history of taste in Britain. Gentlemen were influenced by visiting Italy on the Grand Tour, not least the architect Sir John Soane. "Pompeian red was his favourite colour", according to Tim Knox, director of Sir John Soane's Museum.

2Pompeian red painted dining room at Sir John Soane’s Museum, London.   Source here




Nice combination of Pompeian red with the stained shelving in a Brussels’ home by architects Nicolas de Liedekerke and Daniel Culot of Volume Architecture.

4Volume Architecture Brussels   Source here




Warm atmosphere in an interior by Scottish stylist Rosie Brown.

Interior by stylist and art director Rosie Brown   Source here 




  A classically styled pool house which is lined with Pompeian red walls. Bathhouse in the Cotswolds by Craig Hamilton of Craig Hamilton Architects.

6Craig Hamilton Architects   Photo credit Paul Highnam   Source here




‘La stanza da letto di una donna pompeiana’, 1870 (oil on canvas)by Maldarelli Federico (1826-1893)

Pompeian woman sitting in a bedroom

7Photo credit Foto Scala, Firenze/Fotografica Foglia   Source here


Wishing you all a wonderful Fall Weekend !



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