For as long as I can remember, I had wanted to visit Maison Autrique. But as it usually goes with my museum plans, too many such plans lead to certain museums being pushed down the line. Such was the case with Maison Autrique 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.

Maison Autrique
Maison Autrique

For some historical background, this is another one of Art Nouveau houses that are scattered 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 town house built in the Art Nouveau style. In 1893, his friend Eugène Autrique engaged Horta to design a simple family house.

Maison Autrique

Maison Autrique

Since the commission asked for an austere but comfortable home, Horta’s preferred Art Nouveau motifs are present but in a more subtle manner. I started my visit in the basement, where you can find the kitchen and washing room. From there, I wandered through all five floors of this stunning building and couldn’t believe my luck. It almost felt like a private museum visit!

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. Needless to say, every corner of this house had me daydreaming about the beginning of the 20th century. Wondering how it must have felt to wake up inside that house and spend one’s days there.

Maison Autrique
Maison Autrique

Further up the stairs, I found an office room with a sizeable table and carved wooden chairs. The attention to details 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.

Maison Autrique
Maison Autrique

The main bedroom is linked to the bathroom and overflowing with 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 motifs. It overlooks the small garden situated behind the house, which isn’t accessible during your museum visit.

Maison Autrique
Maison Autrique

One of my favorite rooms was the chart-room, dedicated to 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!

Maison Autrique
Maison Autrique

The history of the Autrique house was versatile as it went through 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 seems to have been used by an extravagant Belgian inventor Axel Wappendorf. Badly lit and cramped with his random possessions, the attic looks pretty creepy. Not to mention scattered human-size statues that I kept noticing behind me. To be honest, the attic gave me goosebumps!


Maison Autrique

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

Maison Autrique
Maison Autrique

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