PRODUCTION AND WORDS Laurence Dougier PHOTOS Nicolas Matheus
In the heart of Le Perche, just an hour outside Paris, interior architect Vincent-Louis Voinchet has boldly renovated two farm buildings to create a unique guesthouse.
Interior architect Vincent-Louis constantly shakes up traditions at his design practice, Studio Nohau. And he made no exception to this rule when renovating his country house in the bohemian countryside region of Le Perche, about an hour away from Paris. The upgrades included a restructuring of spaces – the remains of two rural buildings, which included cramped rooms and abandoned barns – and re-imagining them in a refined way that incorporates both Japanese and German influences. “I’m a great admirer of Charlotte Perriand’s work during her stay in Japan in the 1940s,” says Vincent-Louis, “but also of the Bauhaus style – of the search for an aesthetic that’s all about simplicity, stripped-down elegance and functionalism.”
In the renovation, which involved two buildings and more than 800m2 of floor space, he set out to create a new vision of what a country house should be. “I don’t like shabby-chic, scrap furniture, or old, damp stone that takes three days to heat up,” he says. “I wanted to create a comfortable, elegant, unique atmosphere here, surrounded by nature.”
Over a two-year period, the existing spaces were enlarged and modified to create a better flow. The passageway arches, the fireplace and some of the ceilings were clad in concrete; oak window and door frames were exposed and refurbished; and some of the openings were replaced by larger windows framed in vintage style metalwork. Finally, furniture pieces designed by Vincent-Louis in black
marble and steel were added to the reworked spaces. Careful design and attention to detail were evident throughout the process. “I’m a finishings maniac,” says Vincent-Louis with a smile. “For example, I drew up the plans for the bathrooms so there would be no cuts in the 15x15cm tiles. It’s much nicer and cleaner…”
There’s plenty of black in the elegant interiors. It works to ground and define the spaces, and acts as a framing element for the predominantly 1960s and ’70s furniture and lighting, most of which was sourced by Vincent-Louis for his extensive personal collection. As a result, the interiors are both intimate and ideal for socialising – the kind of spaces where subtle contrasts play out between the beautiful raw materials and radical architectural lines.
The updated home now has eight bedrooms, two lounges, a library, a hammam, two swimming pools (one indoors, one outdoors), a bar and even a cinema room for those long winter evenings. Originally designed as a countryside holiday retreat for family and close friends, Maison Ceronne has enchanted visitors so much that Vincent-Louis and his partner decided to open it up to paying guests,
making it a sort of small, rural hotel for guests wishing to escape Paris. And there’s little doubt that the combination of superb amenities and gorgeous setting will make the venture a huge success.