Thursday, January 9, 2014

Le Pavillon de Madame, Verailles

As promised here I bring you another small mansion from the book "The smaller houses and gardens of Versailles", this one simply entitled "Le Pavillon de Madame".  While the address is stated, 63 Avenue de Paris, I can't find any information about the house and according to a googlemap search it has either been torn down since 1926 or the address has changed. If anyone has any information I would appreciate learning more!
The house is a delightful arrangement in the French tradition in that there is no front facade and each of the 4 facades is equally attractive.
The exterior is a light grey painted stucco to mimic limestone with a rusticated base and quoins (corner treatment) on the upper floor. The mansard roof is slate while the beautiful dormers are of lead.
As you can see in the site plan above the house is situated in an enormous garden which hides the surrounding houses. It provides a very formal French garden which is in fact a potager or kitchen garden -where flowers mingle with fruits and vegetables. At the end of a path is the orangery where more exotic fruits and plants could grow.
The tall trees surrounding the garden not only hide the neighbors but other agricultural necessities; a chicken run, a rabbitry, and numerous outbuildings.
The plan is unusual in that it is laid out as a town house. The dining room on the main floor opens to the garden and terrace with kitchens and service spaces surrounding it. Only up the staircase are the other rooms you'd expect to find on the ground level. Even in a small house such as this there is a stair for the master and another for the servants.
The house contains only one bedroom going back to what I talked about in the last post HERE that these houses were private retreats from the palace of Versailles and not meant for entertaining or even families.
The rooms are all small and cozy but feature fine detailing such as this painted boiserie in the entry hall which the article states was painted white.
The stair has interesting faux-marble painted boiserie and patterns that I think show the 18th century interest in the discovery of Herculaneum and Pompeii. Notice the beautiful chevron patterned floors.
Behind the front hall the dining room continues the chevron floors with pale green painted boiserie covering the walls. Notice the painted scenic overdoors.
This is probably the most charming room in the house, don't you think, with French doors opening out to the terrace?
The eclectic array of furniture is very of the 1920s and today for that matter; a very comfortable arrangement.
This seating group by the fireplace is probably where the owner spent a lot of time before and after meals.
Upstairs the boiserie is left natural and unpainted with the carved details picked out in gold leaf.  The chandelier is of course more in the French taste while the assortment of furniture almost feels English to my eye.
No shortage of light or garden views from up here either. I love how the chandelier reflects the light even without the electricity turned on.
It pains me to think this may have been torn down! What do you think -could you live in a mini mansion such as this? Live stylishly in a smaller space is what this house screams to me!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Maison Baguès

I've always been fascinated by the greats of French design such as Maison Bagues, makers of fine French chandeliers, furniture, and metalwork for over 150 years (depending where you read) - most commonly noted for their products being heavily used by Jansen.  This weekend I stopped into my favorite shop, Artisan, and noticed a few fabulous antique Bagues pieces for sale.
 My favorite was just in so not yet on their website so you'll have to deal with my cellphone shot. The iron body with Greek key design, smokey crystals sharing space with gilded iron, rock crystal, and amethyst took my breath away. I really wish I had a spot (and the budget) for it in my apartment!
 If you have a moment, take a peak at this website here which has a lot of vintage photographs of Bagues work. Also be sure to see the detailed blogpost that The Devoted Classicist wrote on the company earlier this year. And they're not just history as Maison Bagues,  is alive and well; you can visit their showroom your next trip to Paris!