An Architect’s Weekend Home Along the French Riviera Borrows Stones From Ancient Ruins

By Stephen Zacks / Published by Dwell
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Inside an old restaurant erected using pieces of the Trophy of Augustus, architect Jeremy Biermann layers in more locally sourced materials to create a family retreat.

In spite of much of the world grinding to a halt during the pandemic, work didn’t slow down for Jeremy Biermann, founder of bear architectes. Transitioning away from his offices in the Principality of Monaco, he continued his practice out of his family’s weekend home a few miles away in La Turbie, a commune that overlooks the French Riviera. Like much of the village, the stone walls of Biermann’s home come from the ruins of a circa-6 B.C. Roman monument, the Trophy of Augustus, which was erected to commemorate the emperor’s conquest of local tribes. 

The sliding glass-walled dining room links the kitchen and living room with the bedrooms.

Photo by Studio Phenix

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The old restaurant in which the home stands had already been reimagined as a residence, but Biermann took the design a few steps further. Inside the stone structure of the two-level, 970-square-foot dwelling, he implemented locally sourced materials like wood, glass, and resin. The hexagonal, terracotta floor tiles that run throughout, though originally from Burgundy, were sourced nearby.

Between the bedrooms and the kitchen and living areas, sliding glass doors create a vitrine-esque dining room that opens onto a courtyard, which used to be the restaurant’s farmyard. The dining table, a century-old relic preserved from the restaurant, recalls the original space. Though the building posed structural constraints, Biermann was able to achieve a renovation that deftly maintains its charm and authenticity. "It's sincere, in a rustic, chic style," says Biermann. 

Bierman designed the custom wood and resin kitchen cabinetry with a carpenter.

Photo by Studio Phenix

The restaurant has already been converted for domestic use, but he rearranged the layout, placing the master bedroom on the ground floor.

Photo by Studio Phenix

The bathroom cabinetry is also custom-designed by Béar Architects.

Photo by Studio Phenix

The furniture comes from antique shops and flea markets.

Photo by Studio Phenix

A new curling staircase accommodates the new layout. Formerly the staircase had been near the front entrance.

Photo by Studio Phenix

Bierman's two kids each have a bedroom to themselves on the second floor.

Photo by Studio Phenix

Photo by Studio Phenix

Both kids' bedrooms also have en suite bathrooms.

Photo by Studio Phenix


Photo courtesy of Bear Architectes

Related Reading:

16 Amazing Adaptive Reuse Projects That Will Make You Look Twice

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: bear architectes / @BEARarchitecture

Lighting: L'Atelier 55, Deltalight, Astro, and DAEM NRA

Cabinetry: Atelier Paul Zoppi & Fils

Photography: Studio Phenix / @studio_phenix_photography 

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