Matali Crasset Renovates Monory Farmhouse
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In 2005, Michèle Monory, who runs a collaborative jewelry-design studio in Paris, inherited what was formerly an abandoned farmhouse from her father. Set deep in the heart of a forest near France’s Chinon region, not far from the Loire Valley and its chateaux, the structure has no specific style and is, therefore, difficult to date—Monory supposes it, along with the two barns on the property, could be 200 years old.

Michèle Monory’s Chinon farmhouse is an idyllic getaway from her home basein Paris. After she inherited the property and centuries-old structure from her father, she hired Matali Crasset, who runs a cutting-edge architecture and design firm, to update the living spaces.

Michèle Monory’s Chinon farmhouse is an idyllic getaway from her home basein Paris. After she inherited the property and centuries-old structure from her father, she hired Matali Crasset, who runs a cutting-edge architecture and design firm, to update the living spaces.

When she took possession of the property, only the farmhouse roof and the original tuffeau stone walls were in good condition. After 30 years of living in a “bourgeois” house full of antiques, she wanted a warm, smooth living space with simple materials—nothing valuable or fragile. She dreamed of a weekend house that would be a source of happiness for both her and her friends, a house without curtains or blinds where she could live in perfect harmony with nature, even at night.

In the farmhouse’s color-drenched living room, ottomans by Matali Crasset for Domodinamica—originally designed for a hotel in Nice, France—are mixed with a white Pipistrello floor lamp by Gae Aulenti for Martinelli. The red table is a vintage find.

In the farmhouse’s color-drenched living room, ottomans by Matali Crasset for Domodinamica—originally designed for a hotel in Nice, France—are mixed with a white Pipistrello floor lamp by Gae Aulenti for Martinelli. The red table is a vintage find.

To restore the place, Monory’s choice was Matali Crasset, a Paris-based architect and designer. “I’ve known Matali since 1998. We both have country roots,” she explains. “I like the simplicity of her work and her talent for mixing tradition with contemporary design.”

In the newly created box-shaped balcony, which hovers above the double-height living room, oak built-ins complement the home’s original timber beams (above).

In the newly created box-shaped balcony, which hovers above the double-height living room, oak built-ins complement the home’s original timber beams (above).

Crasset’s first objective was to unify the structures. “We reinvented the logic of the living space by uniting the two barns to make one huge space with a mezzanine and a beautifully high ceiling. The bedrooms lead off of this central living area,” she says. The frame- work and walls were in dangerously bad shape, but instead of replacing the original timber, Crasset installed a cube-shaped belvedere—which reinforced the building and created an office alcove that has views of the forest yet is still part of the house. “It’s an ideal place for observation and reflection,” she says.

The main living area functions as an easygoing lounge, ideal for entertaining, with a vintage billiards table and low-slung sofas from Ikea. The concrete flooring is durable and easy to clean—a rebuttal to precious French parquet.

The main living area functions as an easygoing lounge, ideal for entertaining, with a vintage billiards table and low-slung sofas from Ikea. The concrete flooring is durable and easy to clean—a rebuttal to precious French parquet.

On the other side of this 2,152-square-foot living space is an oak mezzanine that is totally flexible; it can be changed into a lounge or guest room, a playroom for children, or even a reading corner. The blend of colors on the concrete floor is the result of a technical error: Originally painted a vibrant orange, it started to blister after just one week, so Monory removed the hue. This extraction created an unexpected yet pleasing finish, which the resident decided she really liked.

In the master bathroom, the floor’s subtle resin treatment was initially painted on the concrete as full-on orange, but started peeling immediately. Monory scrubbed it off until only a wash of the hue was visible. The bench is from Ikea.

In the master bathroom, the floor’s subtle resin treatment was initially painted on the concrete as full-on orange, but started peeling immediately. Monory scrubbed it off until only a wash of the hue was visible. The bench is from Ikea.

There are five 260-square-foot guest bedrooms, each with an en suite bathroom. Much of the furniture is made of oak, sourced from the forest behind the house, where Monory’s father used to hunt. “I commissioned local carpenters,” says Crasset. “I loved the idea of giving a new challenge to artisans who are more used to producing kitchens and fitted wardrobes.”

In the kitchen, a custom composite dining table is paired with bright plastic Ikea chairs. Crasset’s Evolute pendant lights for Danese Milano, with origami-esque folded shades in maple veneer, hang above.

In the kitchen, a custom composite dining table is paired with bright plastic Ikea chairs. Crasset’s Evolute pendant lights for Danese Milano, with origami-esque folded shades in maple veneer, hang above.

The original buildings had few windows, so Crasset broke up the walls and inserted French doors, opening up the rooms to the courtyard and pool on the south side and the forest to the north. With utmost simplicity, the house presents the paradox of living together and living independently, depending on the occupants’ wishes. “This house reflects my personality completely, with masses of light and color—but it was Matali who designed it and chose the furniture and colors,” Monory says. “When you’re lucky enough to have someone with so much talent, you have to give them freedom to express themselves.”

Monory’s friends, the Leclercs, join her for an alfresco meal on the patio. They’re seated at a custom-made table on Fermob’s Luxembourg chairs.

Monory’s friends, the Leclercs, join her for an alfresco meal on the patio. They’re seated at a custom-made table on Fermob’s Luxembourg chairs.

The second-floor office is housed inside a rounded rectangle of concrete that the architect inserted on top of the old farmhouse.

The second-floor office is housed inside a rounded rectangle of concrete that the architect inserted on top of the old farmhouse.

Outfitted with Pollock desk chairs and a marble-topped conference table by Knoll, the office in Monory’s French farmhouse pays homage to international design. The Tizio task lamp is by Richard Sapper for Artemide, and the leaning John Ild bookshelf was designed by Philippe Starck for Disform in 1977.

Outfitted with Pollock desk chairs and a marble-topped conference table by Knoll, the office in Monory’s French farmhouse pays homage to international design. The Tizio task lamp is by Richard Sapper for Artemide, and the leaning John Ild bookshelf was designed by Philippe Starck for Disform in 1977.

All of the beds in the house are playful custom one-off designs by Crasset, including the marionette-themed master bed, which a local carpenter fabricated from oak felled in the surrounding forest. The stone fireplace is original.

All of the beds in the house are playful custom one-off designs by Crasset, including the marionette-themed master bed, which a local carpenter fabricated from oak felled in the surrounding forest. The stone fireplace is original.

The children’s rooms, which are reserved for family and an extended network of friends, feature more custom Crasset-designed beds set against a vivid blue backdrop, courtesy of the French paint brand Zolpan.

The children’s rooms, which are reserved for family and an extended network of friends, feature more custom Crasset-designed beds set against a vivid blue backdrop, courtesy of the French paint brand Zolpan.

The pencil-themed desk and stool are by Pierre Sala.

The pencil-themed desk and stool are by Pierre Sala.

Details
Project: Monory Farmhouse
Designer: Matali Crasset
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