Finding the perfect new venue for the BCT at Chaussee de Waterloo in Ixelles – with two large rooms, a window display area and a very long, walled garden, just for us to use, it is such a great space! – was only part of the story.
Now we needed to design the interior to work for all our members for years to come… here’s how we went about it. Of course, we couldn’t have completed this project without a great group of volunteers and Board members, who gave up their summer to help out. Thank you!
First of all, a name for our new venue had to be found. We came up with a few ideas for the Board to vote on and The Clubhouse won! We think it’s absolutely perfect!
The Clubhouse: A space to embrace the BCT community, that is welcoming and can transform to accommodate all our BCT needs from playgroups to courses and events.
Emily is a graphic designer and Louise has a diploma in Interior design so we decided to put all our ideas together. The goal was to create a welcoming, warm and inspiring space by reusing and recycling existing features of the venue as well as furniture and toys from Imagine as much as possible. We created a visual Pinterest ‘wish list’, full of photos that people had taken for craft rooms or playrooms, then we started working out how we could incorporate these collected ideas in our designs.
We started with the back room, affectionately known as the Garden Room, where we had some fantastic volunteers to help us paint, and we ended up painting a lot (and in the heatwave)! Thanks to Keiana, Shelley, Andrea and Ingvild!
The biggest project in the Garden Room was to create a wall mural of some large multicoloured houses. This was great fun to design and also to see the houses come to life on the wall (check out the time lapse video on our Instagram page #bctbelgium).
As storage solutions for the birthing balls we came across purpose made hoops. The idea was to make them look like hot air balloons. To help distribute the weight of the hoops on the wall we repurposed a damaged wardrobe door into the shape of clouds. Shelley completed our birthing ball hot air balloons “flying over the houses” with a small basket and a teddy inside hanging underneath them.
Members Martijn and Justy came in for several days not only to build and paint the beautiful white radiator covers but also very kindly gifted them to the BCT thanks for everything the BCT has done for them and their family over the past few years. Thank you so much Martijn and Justy!
The wardrobes and bookshelves were brought over from Imagine and we just replaced two red doors for white ones for a clean look with the new colour scheme. Thanks to the amazing dads who rebuilt the wardrobes, Rob, Andy and Julien.
Jules, Sandra, Kirsten, Kyra and Alison helped to clean all the toys we brought from Imagine before putting them into the cupboards. Thank you!
A community venue to come together and make friends. A home away from home.
The front room came along with a few features that we all totally loved – and some that became quite a challenge.
As the room already had alcoves, we decided to use them and create little areas for a play kitchen with cupboard, a dressing up area and a large desk for crafts. Thanks to Jules and Gus for helping to give the Imagine play kitchen and cupboard a makeover.
The little wooden chairs from Imagine became part of the new craft area and, with the help of Roz and Beatriz, who did the sanding, painting and spraying, they now have a fresh new look!
The doll’s house from Imagine got a new lease of life with some paint and wallpaper inside and we attached it to the wall so little ones can reach and enjoy moving the furniture around.
The colourful bunting, the cosy bean bags with handles (they even include a lining and zips so we can wash them) and the fabric bags were all sewn by Emily. She also recycled curtain fabric from Imagine to make cute little aprons for the play kitchen area.
Louise made her first ever busy board and we are so happy that so many BCT children enjoy it!
The small, functional and customised kitchen that the previous tenant had made was so stylish that we decided to use the BCT savings to pay for it. With a few additional touches of colour, we are sure you’ll agree it is just perfect.
A rather bigger project became the large window display area. We wanted it to become part of the room. A dramatic change was necessary to create an area that would be secure and welcoming but also interactive and fun and a cosy reading space, too.
We used mood board sketches to visualise the idea of a picket fence and little garden area, with big leaves as the walls and added interactive elements such as hanging balls and keyrings, which can be changed according to the seasons and festivities!
There’s a time lapse video of us giving the leaves the first coat of paint! Check out the BCT Instagram page. Thanks to Jules for helping with the extra coats of paint and thanks to Elizabeth for dropping by with pizzas. It was a great boost to keep up our strength to keep going!
The picket fence we realised with the help of our skilful handy-man Ken by re-purposing the red wardrobe doors from Imagine. With some paint and gloss we managed to get the finished look we wanted.
Jenny very kindly donated the foam pads underneath the green carpet to make the floor soft enough for your little ones to lie on during quiet playtime or story time.
The shoe storage unit from Imagine has also become part of the stage design, so next to the entrance there is a place for you and your little ones to sit and take off your shoes.
We’re still working out our garden design, with the help of Elizabeth, who’s started running the children’s gardening sessions at the Clubhouse. Thanks to Britta, Sandra, Emily, Kyra and Alison for clearing up the garden so we can see and play in it.
Our private walled garden: A Calm, tranquillity place to come and breathe in the fresh air.
It’s not perfect (yet). We still have some ideas to realise but most of the finishing touches have been added, the letters to the cupboards, the flowers on the plant stands. We’re so delighted with how it all turned out, especially as the project came together with so many BCT helpers and Board members joining in to make this a very special venue for BCT families to use for many years to come.
Somewhere to head to out of the hustle and bustle of the city – when you’re in need of company and space to enjoy, relax and make friends.
This article first appeared in the November/December 2020 edition of the BCT Small Talk magazine.