A 16th-Century French Château Updated With A Mid-Century Twist ⇒ Interior designer Didier Benderli transforms a historic countryside retreat with modern furnishings, giving it a contemporary style with a mid-century twist. When Didier Benderli arrived at the charming 16th-century château in the Parisian countryside, he was expecting a quick intervention. However, the renovations took seven long years.
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Though a 19th-century renovation lovingly preserved its intricate boiserie, the property had fallen into disrepair—the château’s lifetime has spanned several ownership changes, religious wars, and the French Revolution—and Benderli found the house and its surrounding outbuildings in need of an update that married their history and his client’s contemporary lifestyle. “I wanted to restore the original identity of the château, which had faded with time, and consequently create a connection between the original architecture and new interior design,” he says.
Over the next seven years, he gutted the place, introducing new heating, ventilation, plumbing, and electrical systems and applying era-appropriate cosmetic fixes across the board: He restored fireplaces, installed antique parquet floors, and replaced windows and roofing tiles. He maintained the gilded accents that appear throughout the home—“We commissioned a cabinetmaker, stonemason, iron craftsman, and painter, among others, all of whom used traditional techniques in their work during the renovation,” the designer says—but in the kitchen, he removed partitions to create an airy Calacatta marble-and-steel gathering space for entertaining family-style in the 21st century.
Benderli’s genre-bending aesthetic naturally extends to the furnishings and accessories, a mix of antique-store finds and modern-design classics. “We started by choosing pieces that matched our respective tastes but also possessed the elegance that would match the environment,” he says. “The Danish design of Finn Juhl, Kaare Klint, and Alvar Aalto, and lighting by Angelo Lelli seemed to fit well.” That contemporary current is also highlighted by the artwork, a collection that ranges from a colourful Gaston Chaissac in the living room to a stark Lu Chao diptych in the master bedroom. The result is a home that will no doubt stand the test of time for another five centuries.
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Source: Architectural Digest