Normandy manor house in the D-Day drop zone
Restoration of this austere manor house in semi-ruin since the war, with lofts and outbuildings to convert, and new stairways to enable a more complex interior circulation. Landscaping the gardens and creating an apple tree avenue driveway. We created a spacious comfortable family home of approximately 700m2 (7,500 sq ft) as though actually un-restored, following the clients’ instruction « authentic without appearing to be modernised » .
This understated project featured reclaimed architectural salvage materials, and visitors can rarely distinguish « new » from old. Fabulous interior decor and furnishings by Margaret Hue-Williams (RIP).
Restoring a ruined rural Norman farm
This long-term project has seen us transform an isolated centuries-old farm in ruined state into a charming « petite ferme-manoir » with renovated interiors set in scenic landscaped grounds. The restored and extended property now features a medieval-style courtyard garden where once was a slurry pit, a gable-end stone terrace with a reclaimed railway iron, timber and stainless steel deck, a granite stairway with integrated rainwater gullies down to the lake with pathways along the stream, and a swimming pool up in the top meadow.
Cherbourg Peninsular manor house, dating from middle ages
With its iconic defensive tower, this imposing manor was extended and « gentrified » in the 19th century, surrounded by a park. The property was purchased by a youthful retired American couple. This second home now gives great pleasure to their large family, providing them with a truly classic French home.
The project comprised several phases:
Repairing centries-old oak roof timbers, and re-slating the roofs.
Landscaping the park, adding a « noble » stone gateway with antique forged iron gates and fences (reclaimed from a french military barracks).
Renovating the ground floor, adding under-floor heating and Jerusalem limestone floors.
Designing an 18th century panelled library and bedroom furniture, in 18th century style, in solid sculpted oak, and interior decor
Concept drawings help the dream become reality during the design phase !
The collaboration between architect & interior designer, the clients, and in this case the region’s Architecte des Bâtiments de France, defines the pathway to follow. This was the case for extending ( upwards ! ) and restoring a classic 19th century fisherman’s cottage and ex-shop on the quayside of one of the most beautiful villages of France, within the protection zone close to the ancient church classified « Monument Historique ».
Consultation with the region’s Architecte des Bâtiments de France being obligatory, we obtained a rare permission to increase the height of the house, re-roof it, create 6 granite and slate dormer windows, build a granite vaulted garage entrance, and a big gable window to view the fishing port’s entrance. A convincing graphic presentation is vital.
We re-designed the interiors on all three levels, re-distributed to achieve that tricky balance between open-plan and conserving existing features including the elm staircase. The existing structurally weak wood floors were supported by adding antique French oak beams and 6 spectacular 19th century iron columns sourced from Strasbourg’s National Library undergoing interior re-building.
Together we managed to propulse a dilapidated house with it’s previously ugly and anachronous roof-line into one of the village’s most eye-catching charming houses, with an up-market and highly eclectic but modern interior on all floors,AND 21st century mod-cons.
Our vision of the future solution
Key to our profession are innovative design solutions adapted to clients’ needs and thereby providing best results. Here on the first upper level we have re-designed the volumes to provide a spacious living room at a higher level than the busy tourist quayside. It features a sea-view panorama through 4 windows, and is partially open-plan to a master bedroom with adjacent bathroom. Even the bedroom benefits from this view and light.
Antique iron columns supporting the reclaimed oak beamed ceilings were sourced from the « Bibliothèque Nationale de Strasbourg », recently partially re-built.
19th century French Town House restoration
After its turbulent past history, this house will lead a more peaceful life. The complicated restoration is underway of this 19th century town-house and walled garden that had become surprisingly dilapidated overall despite its reassuring appearance (from a distance !).
Built on top of older outbuildings (probably stables) of the much older neighbouring castle, it was used as a hospice between the two wars, then as village commande post by the German Army, liberated on D-Day by US parachutes regiments, then US Army Utah Beach sector commande HQ, then museum. The house was issued a Monument Historique protection order in 2017.
The project is currently in progress.