Architect Patrick Mets has always loved old industrial buildings, especially water towers. As a young boy growing up in Belgium, he imagined what it would be like to live inside one of the utilitarian towers that dot the countryside. Years later, Patrick got to live out that fantasy, and the resulting home he created is absolutely jaw-dropping.
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Patrick and his partner, ValÃ©rie Lecherf, had searched the Belgian countryside for a year and a half, looking for the perfect water tower to convert into a unique home for their future family. They finally came across a run-down, abandoned tower just outside of Brussels, and he knew it was “the one” the instant he saw it.
Abandoned for 10-15 years, the structure was sound on the outside, but inside a lot of the cement and metal had corroded. Patrick bought the place for about $43,000, but before he could start converting it, he ran into a snag with getting the proper permits from the city.
It took seven full years to get permission to start building, then another five to complete the renovations. Patrick was determined to keep as much of the original structure as possible.
The renovations took about $2.1 million to complete. Once it was finished in 2009, Patrick dubbed the place “Chateau d’eau,” which means “water castle.”
Patrick worked with designer Mauro Brigham (NC & Bham), to create a sleek, modern aesthetic with a water theme. They left the actual cement water tank completely intact, they just painted it black.
He wanted to preserve the water tower aspect of the building. All of the various pipes and holding tanks were left as-is; they simply painted those elements black to signify that they are original to the building.
The original tank now serves as a semi-wall in parts of the home, and guests have taken to writing little notes in chalk on the tank when they visit.
The water tower was designed with windows, which is very unusual for a tower. These windows allow for a breathtaking 360-degree view of the quaint European countryside below.
The living area is actually inside the original water tank, but you’d never know it from looking at it!
Here’s an example of the kind of original fixture that Patrick left behind as a reminder to the Chateau’s first purpose:
The bathroom takes up an entire floor of the tower. Have you ever seen a toilet with such an incredible view?
And the bathtub to end all bathtubs! Imagine lounging here in a bubble bath with a good book and a glass of wine…
One of Patrick’s favorite elements of the renovation is the massive rainforest shower he designed.
There’s even a rooftop patio, complete with yet another water pipe used for cooling down after sunbathing.
At 90 feet high, the tower is a beloved monument in the village.
Patrick and ValÃ©rie lived in the Chateau for about four years, before moving to be closer to their daughters’ school. Now, they rent out the tower for corporate events and other special occasions.
Take the full tour by watching the video below, and don’t forget to share!
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