Our Story

The Verhaegen has to be experienced to be believed. Its magic is utterly infectious. Hosts, Jan and Marc from interior design agency Neoo Selon Neo, enjoy nothing more than sharing their passion for beauty.

— Why did you start B&B The Verhaegen?

Jan: “The property is so beautiful and unique, we simply couldn’t keep it to ourselves,” says Jan laughing. “And nothing gives us greater pleasure than meeting new people who share our appreciation for architecture, culture, conviviality and the finer things in life. We both agreed upon purchasing the property that we wouldn’t split it into rental apartments, but would, instead, lovingly bring it back to life and share it with others.”

“Our aim is to provide guests with a peaceful haven where they can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life,” says Marc. “The B&B’s interior is extravagantly furnished and not a single corner has been left untouched. Yet it still exudes a welcome serenity. We actively invite guests to roam the entire property, to explore every nook and cranny: the lounge, the bathhouse, the garden … to go and discover how a beautiful interior can literally transform your life. Following a stay, some guests even send us an email containing photos of their newly updated home, inspired by their visit to B&B The Verhaegen. That makes us truly happy.”

— Renovating an 18th century property.
Where do you begin?

“By preserving its authenticity, first and foremost,” says Marc. “The building is an architectural gem, largely due to the fact that it has changed little in more than 250 years. Successive generations have forged a special bond with The Verhaegen and the property has clearly been treasured by all who lived there. The original design was so well conceived, and the manor house created with such finesse and veracity, that no one dared tinker with it – not even ourselves. Yet, whilst we have retained the original layout, we also treated the property to a much-needed facelift. It now exudes our inimitable style and boasts all modern comforts.”

 

“We both love ‘maximalist’ design that isn’t overly defined or predictable,” says Jan. And, we thoroughly enjoy searching for unique pieces of furniture for that unexpected finishing touch. Indeed, we often combine antiques with contemporary design and have never been ones to shy away from vibrant colours.”

 

“The French city garden is a listed monument and an added guest attraction. It provides an exceptionally tranquil sanctuary, right in the heart of the city centre,” enthuses Jan. We’ve transformed the ornamental 1930s garden into a comfortable summer living space, with numerous flowering plants and cosy corners in which to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Or each other, of course. For us, nothing beats a leisurely al fresco breakfast under the shade of the apple tree or next to the pretty pond; a perfect summer scene that’s completed with delicate crockery, fine table linen and elegant candlesticks. And Kandinsky, our trusty Labrador, lying contentedly at our feet,” laughs Jan.

— Ghent is an exceptionally charming and hospitable city. What are the must-see attractions? 

“The Ghent Altarpiece by Van Eyck is an artistic highlight and one of the world’s most influential paintings,”says Marc. “Then there’s the Herbert Foundation at the Coupure, the Museum of Fine Arts, the flower market, the book market and, of course, the city’s captivating beguinages. In fact, Ghent has so much to offer, we recommend simply diving in and discovering it for yourself. But don’t forget to look up from time to time. Because, as well as its cool shops and trendy restaurants, Ghent boasts a wealth of architecture.”

— How do you try to make every stay at The Verhaegen truly memorable for your guests?

“We’re both passionate about interior design and enjoy creating beautiful surroundings,” explains Jan. “Every element should contribute to a pleasant ambience, a positive energy. It should be well thought through, yet not excessively sober. Space for spontaneity, the freedom to be creative; that’s what makes us happy. And, sharing that with those with similar sensitivities gives us immense satisfaction. It incentivises us to spoil our guests and make each and every stay truly memorable. Because if you invest enough love in a beautiful place, it becomes even more exquisite and alluring.”

“Each and every step you take in The Verhaegen rewards you with a fresh visual perspective,” says Marc. “For us, that triggers an irresistible urge to go and create something truly special. Every setting and every second of a guest’s stay warrants individual attention. Jan and I also like to move furniture around on a regular basis, creating a constantly changing backdrop. We always follow our gut feeling. Every item in our home is, incidentally, the result of ‘un coup de foudre’. Only afterwards do we assign the newly acquired treasure a special place of its own,” laughs Marc. Beautiful interiors have always appealed to us. Places that entice you to return, because you just know that there’s so much more to discover. We believe that’s the hallmark of a successful interior. And we hope that The Verhaegen provokes a similar reaction in our valued guests.”

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