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Homes Home Tour: A French Château With An Incredible Sense of Style

Home Tour: A French Château With An Incredible Sense of Style

Home Tour: A French Château With An Incredible Sense of Style
The walls in the living room have been repainted in light tones to draw attention to its classical design
By Hong Xinying
October 09, 2019
It took seven eventful years to renovate and decorate this stunning historic house
This staircase comprises anoak core that dates from the 17th century
This staircase comprises anoak core that dates from the 17th century

When it comes to the refurbishing of a historic house, there is as much to love as there is to adapt.

Located within the Île-de-France region in France, the chateau was formerly decorated with objets d’art and antique furniture that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries; pieces that however, no longer fit the needs of its current homeowners.

Some parts of the property had also fallen into disrepair, such as the kitchen and some of the bathrooms, which had to be completely redesigned and modernised.

(Related: Home Tour: A House That Pairs Californian Cool With A Rustic Beauty)

French interior designer Didier Benderli of Kerylos Intérieurs
French interior designer Didier Benderli of Kerylos Intérieurs

The homeowner looked to Didier Benderli of Kerylos Intérieurs, to give the home a new lease of life.

“The client desired a house that would be simple to live in but sophisticated in its details, as the existing furniture from the 18th and 19th centuries no longer corresponded to their needs,” shares Benderli, the founder and director of the Paris-based studio. “The main priorities were to preserve what was historic and meaningful, whilst incorporating a contemporary touch to rooms that had not been spared by time.”

The chateau’s refurbishment gradually grew into a passion project that took seven years to complete, with Benderli working closely with the client to ensure the home’s historic details pair beautifully with contemporary design.

(Related: How To Decorate Like The French)

The walls in the living room have been repainted in light tones to draw attention to its classical design
The walls in the living room have been repainted in light tones to draw attention to its classical design

The first task was to restore the original fireplaces, woodwork, parquet flooring and other timeworn features.

“I sought to bring back to the chateau an identity that had faded over time,” explains Benderli.

“Since it is such a historical residence, we needed to ensure that we had the most skilled artisans working with us. We commissioned a cabinet- maker, a stonemason, an iron-craftsman and a painter among many others; all of whom used traditional techniques in their work during the renovation.”

(Related: 8 Tactile Ways To Transform Any Space With Fabric)

The library of this stylish abode
The library of this stylish abode

Where possible, as much of the home’s original stone and tiles were kept. Take for instance the oak staircase, which features an oak core from the 17th century; or the wall mouldings, which have been carefully re- painted in light tones to showcase the details of its classical motifs.

Iconic modern design pieces such as the Egg chair by Arne Jacobsen sit beautifully next to the 17th century stone fireplace
Iconic modern design pieces such as the Egg chair by Arne Jacobsen sit beautifully next to the 17th century stone fireplace

Having also worked on previous projects with the homeowner, Benderli has a keen understanding of the owner’s aesthetic sense. Together, they selected artworks for the home. This growing art collection would gradually influence the interior scheme of each room, with furniture pieces selected to complement the artworks.

“We began sourcing the design and art pieces from antique dealers or art galleries, and it was often a painting or piece of furniture that influenced our future decorative decisions,” shares Benderli. “Each room developed into its own site-specific project in terms of the choice of materials, furniture, art and decorative objects.”

(Related: Tatler How-To: Decorate Your Home With Art)

A marble table by French artist Philippe Anthonioz was custom-made for the dining room
A marble table by French artist Philippe Anthonioz was custom-made for the dining room

The dining room in particular, is Benderli’s favoured space—he had worked closely with French sculptor Philippe Anthonioz to create a bronze and marble table that’s anchored to the floor. Its oval form echoes the spiral shape of the Artichoke chandelier—by Danish architect Poul Henningsen—that floats above the dining space.

(Related: How To Create Spaces That Inspire, According To An Interior Designer)

In the piano room, sculptural details on the furniture pieces and their asymmetric placement form an intriguing counterpoint to the ordered nature of the historic panels.

In the kitchen, the wooden dining table and chairs complementthe marquetryon the wall
In the kitchen, the wooden dining table and chairs complementthe marquetryon the wall

Disused spaces such as the kitchen however, had to be completely redecorated to serve its functional purposes. Benderli fitted the kitchen with Carrara marble, Hainaut limestone as well as custom marquetry and stainless steel to modernise the culinary space.

A solid elm dining table and a set of Gio Ponti-designed chairs were selected to match the French walnut marquetry on the walls, while a pair of hanging lights by Finnish lighting designer Paavo Tynell add a modern accent to the space.

(Related: How To Create The Kitchen Of Your Dreams)

An artwork by Chinese artist Lu Chao inspired the nature theme of this bedroom
An artwork by Chinese artist Lu Chao inspired the nature theme of this bedroom

In one of the bedrooms, a diptych entitled Black Light by Chinese artist Lu Chao inspired the room’s nature theme— this is reflected on the custom rug design by La Manufacture Cogolin as well as the curved forms and branch-like details of pieces such as the floor lamp by French industrial designer Serge Mouille.

The use of serene blues creates an intimate mood in this bedroom
The use of serene blues creates an intimate mood in this bedroom

In another room, American artist Mickalene Thomas’ photographic print inspires its remarkable deep blue palette, which creates a distinctively intimate mood. And yet another room, clad in soft pastels, exhibits a completely different character while celebrating the geometric precision and beauty of the house.

The pool house is a mediative space inspired by the Chinese philosophical concepts of yin and yang
The pool house is a mediative space inspired by the Chinese philosophical concepts of yin and yang

This dedication to details made the project truly a labour of love and a memorable process that Benderli enjoys looking back on: “The client was extremely involved and hands-on; he was present at all meetings onsite and passionate about the building’s construction and even its electrical decisions, and always seeking to find the best solution.”

(Related: Home Tour: A Glamorous House Inspired By Italian Style)


Photography: Didier Delmas

This story was adapted from Singapore Tatler Homes June-July 2018

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Homes interior design luxury homes decor france

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