For as long as I can remember, I had wanted to visit Maison Autrique. But as usual, wanting to visit so many museums, some of them always get postponed. This happened with the Maison Autrique museum but once I finally found the time to visit it, I got extremely lucky. I visited on a random Wednesday last December and I got the entire house all to myself. Not a single other visitor arrived during my one-hour-long visit.

The front face of Maison Autrique
Maison Autrique

For some historical background, this is one of many Art Nouveau houses you can find all over Brussels. I already wrote about some of those buildings, which you can read about here. This one was in fact, Victor Horta’s first townhouse built in the Art Nouveau style. In 1893, his friend Eugène Autrique engaged Horta to design a simple family house.

The front window of Maison Autrique looking onto the street
Main bedroom at Maison Autrique

The commission asked for an austere but comfortable home so Horta’s preferred Art Nouveau motifs are present but in a more subtle manner. Starting my visit in the basement, I marveled at the cozy kitchen and washing room. From there, I wandered through all five floors of this stunning building and couldn’t believe my luck. There were no other visitors in any of the rooms. In fact, it felt like I had been granted a private museum visit to Maison Autrique!

Maison Autrique
Maison Autrique

The first floor consists of a big open space with high ceilings where I could just picture various social gatherings happening. It’s rather obvious that every corner of this house had me daydreaming about the beginning of the 20th century. I would picture how it must have felt to wake up inside that house and spend one’s days there.

Antique fireplace and two velvet armchairs at Maison Autrique
Rooms at Maison Autrique

Further up the stairs, I found an office room with a sizeable table and carved wooden chairs. The attention to detail was very typical of Horta but seeing it today, I still can’t help but marvel at it. From there I wandered into the main bedroom and the child’s room.

Big table in the office room at Maison Autrique

The main bedroom is linked to the bathroom and it overflows with natural light. Generally speaking, I adore tall windows that let in all possible daylight. And the room was full of plants, subtly complementing Art Nouveau’s favorite motifs. It overlooks the small garden situated behind the house, which isn’t accessible during your museum visit.

One of my favorite rooms has got to be the chart room, which emphasizes Autrique’s passion for cartography. The color tones in this room strongly evoke Art Nouveau! And I know such file cupboards always look impractical with these dozens of drawers but I absolutely love them! I daydream of finding one at a flea market one day!

Chart room at Maison Autrique

The history of the Autrique house was versatile, being handed over to a few different owners. One of them was a furniture maker which meant rooms had to be converted to conform to new functions. Additionally, the attic was the atelier of an extravagant Belgian inventor Axel Wappendorf. Badly lit and cramped with his random possessions, it looks pretty creepy. Not to mention the scattered human-size statues that I kept noticing behind me. In truth, the attic gave me goosebumps!

Attic at the top of Maison Autrique

On the whole, visiting the museum Maison Autrique felt absolutely dreamlike. The recent museum restorations managed to faithfully restore it to its Art Nouveau glory. I felt genuinely transported to a townhouse from the turn of the century. And I found every nook and cranny of this place to be incredibly inspiring!

Office room at Maison Autrique

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