House Hunting in Belgium: A Restored Rectory on a Canal

This four-bedroom, four-bath dwelling sits on a canal in the historic middle of Bruges, the capital and largest metropolis in the province of West Flanders, in northwestern Belgium. The higher flooring look out on the Church of Our Lady, a medieval cathedral recognized for its distinctive art work, together with Michelangelo’s “Madonna and Child” sculpture.

Built in 1911 on about a tenth of an acre, the 5,790-square-foot connected brick home was initially a rectory. The present homeowners labored with an inside designer to redo the interiors, mentioned Joke De Spiegelaere, a director-partner at Engel & Völkers Bruges, which has the itemizing.

“It’s not renovated like all the other houses in Bruges, with wooden floors, white walls, very heavy curtains,” she mentioned. “Here, they used unusual colors and tiles, and they proportioned the spaces very well.”

The arched fundamental entrance opens into a hallway with inlaid wooden flooring and wall sconce lighting. To the left are adjoining eating and dwelling rooms with parquet flooring, fuel fireplaces and 11-foot ceilings. At the far finish of the lounge is a bay window overlooking the rear backyard and the Bakkersrei canal. Floor-to-ceiling storage cupboards dangle on two partitions.

The eating room partitions and ceiling are painted a shiny darkish blue, set off to dramatic impact with recessed lighting. Floor-to-ceiling cabinets with backlighting body both aspect of the doorway to the lounge.

The kitchen has black cabinetry, a marble-topped middle island, a built-in grilling hearth and a walk-in fridge. Glass doorways alongside one wall open to a coated terrace with seating areas that steps right down to the backyard.

Two bedrooms and bogs, together with the main bedroom, are on the ground above. The grasp has a massive dressing room with black cabinetry just like that in the kitchen and a leather-tile flooring. The bathtub has marble flooring, a soaking tub and a tunnellike walk-in bathe tiled in shades of inexperienced and blue. A window on one wall of the bathe appears out on the cathedral, Ms. De Spiegelaere mentioned.

Two extra bedrooms and baths are on the attic stage. The decrease stage is embellished as a Mexican-style bar, with stucco-like wall finishes, lounge seating, a hearth and alcoves for storing wine and spirits.

The property doesn’t embrace parking areas past what is out there on the road, Ms. De Spiegelaere mentioned.

The Flemish port metropolis of Bruges, with about 120,000 residents, is beloved by vacationers as a well-preserved instance of a medieval metropolis, recognized for its Gothic structure, market squares and community of canals. Its historic middle is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This property is in a popular tourist area, around the corner from a bus stop and about a 15-minute walk from Station Brugge, the city’s main railway station, Ms. De Spiegelaere said. A stone footbridge next to the property leads to a public park with several museums, including the Groeninge Museum, which has an extensive collection of Flemish and Belgian painting. Ostend-Bruges International Airport is about a 20-minute drive.

Strict preservation rules prevent much in the way of new construction in Bruges, so most apartments are in old buildings that have been renovated, said Dries Craeye, an agent with Engel & Völkers. A newly renovated apartment of around 1,500 square feet goes for 500,000 to 600,000 euros ($540,000 to $645,000), he said. At the high end are renovated apartments twice that size with water views, which command closer to 2 million euros ($2.15 million), he said.

Properties along the canals tend to be the most expensive, although some buyers avoid the waterways, which serve as routes for tourist boats. “The tour guides don’t talk through a microphone now — the passengers all have headphones on — but you still hear the motors of the boats,” Ms. De Spiegelaere said.

Foreigners make up about 10 to 15 percent of buyers in Bruges, Ms. De Spiegelaere said. Most are from the Netherlands and France.

Mr. Francois said he has also worked with buyers from Luxembourg and Britain.

Mr. Van Opstal noted that in Belgium, owning a home is much more popular than renting; the homeownership rate is around 75 percent.

There are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in Belgium.

One notary typically handles the transaction for both buyer and seller, acting as a neutral party, Mr. Van Opstal said, but buyers and sellers may use their own notaries if they prefer.

The seller is responsible for paying the agent’s commission of 3 percent.

Dutch, French, German; euro (1 euro = $1.07)

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