Flea Market Décor
From Gloom to bloom
A couple of artists turn their dark medieval house into a home with quirky colors and creations.
MOVING INTO AN OLD HOME HAS ITS PERKS FOR THE VINTAGE ENTHUSIAST, BUT IT OFTEN REQUIRES A LOT OF WORK UPFRONT. La Maison des Sangliers—which means “the house of the wild boars”—is the name of the home couple Andy and Claire Squire found in 1996, in Noyers-sur-serein, a well-preserved medieval village listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. The half-timbered merchant’s house was built in the 15th century with a shop on the ground floor and living quarters on the first. A large window at the front of the house is now showing the latest designs of these two potters.
Andy was born in England and worked as a sculptor with metal and wood when in 1980 he met Claire, a Parisienne who studied interior design, textiles and ceramics. They lived together in Paris until 1994, when they settled on the Burgundy countryside and set up their first pottery and boutique in Noyers called La Poterie de La Maison des Sangliers.
When their eldest son was born, they moved to their current house. “It is located in the heart of the village,” they say, “between the church and the town hall, so it’s the perfect spot for a boutique. Its courtyard with two small annexes was ideal for installing our atelier and shop.”
Apart from these practical reasons, they loved the look of the medieval house, with its timbered façade rising high above the
old village’s marketplace. But when visiting the house for the first time, they discovered quite a dreary atmosphere, small rooms and an interior damaged by the 1970s: “In that era, lots of authentic elements were removed or destroyed, like the chimneys that used to be in every room of the house.” Some characteristics were preserved: the old oak beams in the salon, the tomettes (traditional terracotta floor tiles) in the kitchen, the wooden parquet on the first floor, the magnificent wooden stairs and, last but not least, the wonderful façade. “The house hadn’t been inhabited for five years; it was dark and gloomy, but it certainly had character and lots of possibility to transform it into a great home.”
La Maison des Sangliers has been turned upside down to become the colorful and cozy family home that it is today. “Everything needed to be done,” Andy and Claire say. “Walls
"This is a house in motion, ALWAYS EVOLVING."
were removed to create larger rooms—like our kitchen/dining room and a spacious master bedroom. A bathroom was created, all electricity was updated and the kitchen was redone. We transformed the abandoned courtyard into a lovely garden and created our boutique and atelier.” Nothing was left of the somber vibe that had ruled the house. Instead, happiness entered the place, thanks to a bright color palette and an eclectic mix and match of flea-market finds, souvenirs from travels abroad, fabrics, objects, arts and crafts and, of course, pottery made by the artists themselves. Wherever the eye goes, it meets antique furniture, joyful textiles and collages composed with all kinds of pretty décor. “We love objects, stamps, frames, plates, wallpaper,” Claire says. “Everything in the house was bought secondhand, given to us as a present or made by ourselves.” These precious odds and ends are seen throughout the house; little tableaus, drawings and other treasures referring to certain travels, celebrations and special days in life. They make you smile and wonder, and add a huge personal and artistic touch to the interior.
Their cultural interests inspire Andy and Claire in their work as well as in their interior decoration. For instance, the color scheme: “The colors in our kitchen were inspired by an Iranian film, in which a bus appeared that was half pink, half blue, and the colors in the living room—very soft
Their cultural interests inspire Andy an Claire in their work AS WELL AS IN THEIR INTERIOR DECORATION.
turquoise and vivid green that are given warmth by coral—were inspired by Oriental salons.” Claire and Andy chose these colors back in 1996 and haven’t changed them since. Yet the interior changes all the time: “This is a house in motion, always evolving.” Objects move around, collages change, new finds are found, and objects are made. Meanwhile, the family enjoys life in this medieval monument, spending time with each other or with friends and gathering around the kitchen table with its view of the garden. It’s a favorite place in the house. Claire says, “It’s very welcoming.”