An architect and a designer come together to create a timeless French home design
A home with history is a rare buy. And the Belle Epoque villa in Vence, France, certainly has a colourful past. It was the former home of two English artists and one-time residence of the Dowager Duchess of St Albans, so it was important the design brief revolved around a healthy balance of preservation and renovation.
Initially undertaken as a solo project by interior designer Nina Laty, she soon called on the help of David Price Design due to the major interior architectural works that were required. Featuring three storeys, the home contains six bedrooms and is perched in the hills between Nice and Antibes. To better reflect the residence’s stunning location, the brief revolved around gutting the home and creating a seamless new configuration. “The existing house had a lovely overall feel, but the atmosphere inside was a little heavy and stifling,” says Nina. “The client requested a light and fresh feel and there was to be an overall emphasis on ease of maintenance.”
Although the facade of the villa remained untouched, David and his team increased the size of the kitchen and installed glass folding doors and a side window to maximise light and showcase the landscaped garden. The bottom half of the staircase was remodelled and downstairs rooms reorganised, with a new circulation route through the space. “On the first floor, the size of the master bedroom was increased, as was one of the guest bedrooms,” says David. “The second-floor attic, previously a painting studio, has been reimagined as a five-bed dorm for the kids to host sleepovers.”
A hub of relaxation, a bespoke stone fireplace was installed in the living space. Adorned by a gold mirror, the room’s pastel colour palette is calming and soothing to the eye, encouraging the family to kick back and relax. “Colour is introduced into the space with the bookshelves painted blue, and classic blue wood panelling around the lower part of the walls,” says David. “An elegant French window at the far end of the space is framed with light, cream-coloured curtains, with a final pop of colour coming from the cushions.” A subtle touch of glamour is introduced into the space with a glass pendant chandelier, which was selected by Nina and the clients.
The dining and kitchen area is located just steps away from the living space, and continues the blue colour palette reflected in the custom-designed joinery from David Price. Calling on inspiration from the picturesque landscape, a rustic light oak table provides space for six. Revolving around a stone island bench, the open-plan kitchen boasts ample room for the whole family to participate in cooking.
Separating the common areas from the private ones, the first floor is home to the bedrooms and bathrooms and the second floor boasts the dormitory room. To address space issues, one bathroom was removed from the first floor, which led to an increase in size for the four bathrooms. The children’s getaway is ideal for weekend sleepovers and is a unique space just for kids. “Although the children are quite young, it was important the room would be suitable for a number of years, so the paper and decoration respect that,” says Nina.
Generous in size, the master suite takes up the full width of the house and boasts high ceilings and a moody aesthetic. The four-poster bed is the perfect addition to the room. Dark oak flooring adds warmth to the space and is the perfect companion for the timber furnishings.
A complete departure from the original interior, the new space brims with character and colour. This European villa ticks all the boxes and provides ample space for the family to come together or take some time out.
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Written by Annabelle Cloros
Originally in Home Design magazine, Volume 20 Issue 5