Home Tour: A French Château With An Incredible Sense of Style
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.
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 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.”
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.
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)
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.”
This story was adapted from Singapore Tatler Homes June-July 2018