Out of Love for the Dordogne
Only love can explain why someone choose to restore a ruined castle,
a run-down manor house or an old farm house.
Contemporary art dealer Willy d'Huysser and interior architect Anne Derasse
became passionate about an authentic castle
in the Charente, just right at the border to the Périgord - only 30 km from were we live,
Whilst awaiting the end of the restoration work,
they also renovated two other buildings on the site:
an orangery and an 18th Century house.
The present castle, with its fully restored roofs,
and the two other buildings were constructed
on the site of a fortress that was destroyed during the Hundred Year's War.
The castle itself dates from 1453 and includes two towers
that were part of the defences of the original fort.
The two buildings, set at right angles to each other,
were apparently built from the stones that made up the original fortified stronghold.
When designing the orangery, Anne Derasse was captivated
by the rhythm of these five existing apertures,
which are separated by columns.
The former false ceilings in this old building were taken out
to reveal the magnificent beam construction.
The beams were retained and now create a loft atmosphere in the orangery.
The interior consists of one large open space with khaki-coloured cubes
The INSA sofas, placed in parallel with the beams above, increase the sense of perspective.
The white lime stone on the floor was quarried locally and rough-cut into 120 x 60 cm slabs.
The pieces of furniture (coffee tables, tables, work surfaces in the kitchen)
all have the same dimensions: 150 cm on each side.
The large bedroom, in red brick shades,
...also has a bathroom wit tub and shower in the same block.
The two en-suite bathrooms are finished in local stone
and built according to the same principle:
with a wall that serves both as the head of the bed and as a partition behind the bathtub.
The slanting wall of the small house...
In order to accentuate the authentic character,
the ceiling beams were left exposed and whitewashed.
The solid wooden door is tall and narrow:
it stands beside the kitchen work surface
and leads from the kitchen into the bedroom area.
Everything in this space was designed by Derasse and made in oak,
with the exception of the ACCADEMIA chairs,
which have been finished in twine to underline the rustic character of the building.
The only bedroom in this house combines the simple character of the stone...
...with a more contemporary storage unit,
made of MDF and painted in pale green.
A harmony of ceramic and natural stone for the washstand.
The sole exception to the locally sourced stone
is the 'Pietra Serena' neutral stone chosen for this space,
which comes from Tuscany.
The interior architect Anne Derasse
has displayed the essence of her skill in this project,
whilst maintaining the integrity of every room:
a sharp feeling for colours and lines
that can be seen in every detail.
Truly a happy 'marriage' when 18th Century meets 21th Century
Happy Weekend !
All images from Beta-Plus
Photographer: Jean-Pierre Gabriel