Deeply deco

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...

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