Séverine and Olivier Martin haven’t been constrained by the aesthetics of their French art deco villa. Instead, they’ve filled it with designer pieces and created a sense of drama, courtesy of their favourite colour – black
With interiors that draw inspiration from Basque art deco, Séverine and Olivier Martin’s French coastal villa has a chic sense of drama
With its overhanging tiled roof, white walls and huge wooden shutters, Séverine and Olivier Martin’s property in Pyla-surMer, France is typical of the local architecture. Its Basque-inspired art deco style bears the signature of the seaside resort’s founder, Louis Gaume. Between 1920 and 1930 this builder constructed a hundred houses and six high- end hotels in this unspoilt forest at the end of the bay. His immediately recognisable style helped to create Pyla’s beautiful architectural unity. ‘ We left Bordeaux around a decade ago to settle in our second home on the Bay of Arcachon. Living a few metres from the sea, surrounded by pine trees, makes you feel like you are on holiday all year round,’ says Séverine.
When the couple bought the house 15 years ago, nothing had ABOVE The sofa is by Damian Williamson for Zanotta, while the circular ‘Habibi’ side tables are by Philipp Mainzer for E15. A oor lamp by Mariano Fortuny y de Madrazo creates a striking focal point. The 1940s desk and portraits above it were found at Biron market at Saint- Ouen RIGHT The entrance hall sets the tone with its sophisticated decor. The eye- catching ceiling light is ‘Random’ by Bertjan Pot for Moooi. The sofa is ‘Odin’ by Konstantin Grcic for Classicon, while the
oor lamp is from Edizioni Design
been changed since it was built in the early 1930s. ‘ We renovated with the maximum level of respect for its original style. We retained most of its internal areas, just opening up a few to create an airier space, in particular between the kitchen and the living room,’ says Séverine. The smallpaned windows, so characteristic of the era, were recreated in their exact original form, the only concession being the fact that the green carpentry has been replaced with black. ‘From our wardrobe to our cars, our lives have always been full of black. We like the colour’s timeless appeal,’ says Séverine.
It is Olivier who is responsible for buying the furniture for the house. Right down to the en suite, with its Eero Saarinen side table and vintage Mies van der Rohe ‘Barcelona’ chair, the interior is furnished entirely with designer pieces, dating from the 1930s to the modern day. ‘ We like putting designer pieces in places where you would not expect them,’ says Séverine. The couple make
Olivier was initially only interested in modern design but after visiting antiques shops he began to appreciate vintage design too
regular trips to Paris to seek out designer vintage furniture and are particularly fond of the antiques shops in the Biron Market at Saint- Ouen. ‘I take a more practical approach to furniture than Olivier, who prizes aesthetics above all. He is passionate about decoration and design and has his finger on the pulse, as well as being aware of past trends,’ says Séverine.
The couple’s previous home – a contemporary build – was filled with modern pieces but, to fit the style of this house, they added to their collection with 20th- century furniture. ‘Olivier was initially only interested in modern design but from reading design magazines and visiting antiques shops and flea markets, he began to appreciate vintage design too – especially pieces from the 1950s– 60s, such as Achille Castiglioni and Eames,’ says Séverine. Olivier is at ease with his eclectic taste and enjoys placing various eras side by side. The living room reflects this: recent creations by Damian Williamson and Philipp Mainzer stand shoulder to shoulder with 1960s Castiglioni lamps and an art deco desk, while paintings of 19th- century men face a portrait of a woman by contemporary artist Alex Russell Flint. Despite their varied origins, these pieces fit together thanks to the elegance of their lines and refinement of their materials. ‘I sometimes have to rein my husband in – he once wanted to install a lighting feature in the living room with 30 or so candles on the floor – not ideal with dogs!’ says Séverine.
RIGHT As fans of contemporary art, Séverine and Olivier have hung a bold and brightly coloured artwork in the kitchen – Reincarnation by American artist, Troy Henriksen
ABOVE The master bedroom’s en suite bathroom is decorated like a living room with its soft carpet, curtains and vintage Mies van der Rohe ‘Barcelona’ chair for Knoll. The sink is from Laufen and the tap is by Axor BELOW Located above the villa, the swimming pool is hidden amongst established greenery. Its black slate
nish contrasts with the all- white garden furniture, adding to the minimalist chic look