Before and after: A house in Brittany that hasn’t been renovated in 20 years

The house built in the 1970s hasn’t been renovated for 20 years and has been abandoned by the owners. A man bought it and transformed beyond recognition. Now it is a chic mansion.

It took 10 months to renovate, furnish and decorate this house, which hasn’t been occupied for 20 years and yet it looks like it has been in the family for years. “The quality of the project depends on the clients,” says Sebastian Ginut, the designer who oversaw the renovation. He believes the project was a great success largely due to the speed with which his clients made decisions.
“We had three one-day meetings for the entire fit-out. This is very small for a house with an area of ​​170 sq.m.,” says the designer.
When Sebastien first visited the house, he immediately told the clients that the stone walls were strong, the structure of the house was in good condition, but the layout would have to be reconsidered. A large hallway crossed the ground floor, the kitchen was isolated in a corner and the layout did not take full advantage of the sea views. As for the second floor, it was an attic without any decoration.

The designer was at first hesitant to tell them about another idea that came to his mind during a visit to the house and required more serious work.

BEFORE. The house has three large windows facing the beach, above them there are three more attic windows facing the sea. The other side of the house faces the beach, but the bay was not visible there, since the building ended in a blank wall.

“What if we open this wall completely?” Sebastien told clients mid-meeting.

Encouraged, the owners suggested that Sebastien stay until the next day to meet with the architect from the Bâtiments de France organization and find out whether such a reconstruction was feasible. “By opening the pediment with glazing, we received consent in principle to implement this project,” continues the designer.
The owner, who was meticulous about the quality of things, quickly opted for a complete reconstruction of the house. The roof was removed, some of the stone walls and their brick cladding were dismantled, the French windows were widened and the triangular windows were replaced with Velux roof windows. The house was insulated with rock wool, the walls were reassembled and the slate roof was replaced.
The culmination of this stage was the opening of the facade wall towards the sea. The architect and the owners were interested to know what kind of view would open from the windows as a result of this transformation. Now the entire bay is visible from the windows.
Inside, demolition work continued. “The brief was to create a family holiday home where each bedroom has its own bathroom. The family wanted five bedrooms, although initially there were only three,” continues Sebastien.
BEFORE. The living room benefits from opening up the front wall thanks to two large windows towards the sea.
AFTER. The living room is organized around three sofas. The walls were painted in a blue-green shade from the Aplat collection by Jefco, designed by the architectural agency Michel Wilmotte.
The owner wanted to install a fireplace in the living room. Initially, he intended to install a stone model in this area, but on the advice of the designer, he chose a modern solution  a hanging fireplace, which fit better into the new decor.
BEFORE. From the entrance and the old staircase leading to the second floor, openings were made in the supporting structure to expand the space. The old staircase was removed to increase space in the living room.
AFTER. The living room can now be accessed directly from the entrance through an open doorway.
BEFORE. This photograph was taken during the family’s first visit, when the old staircase to the second attic floor still existed.
AFTER. The designer removed an unnecessary turn in the staircase to provide easier access to the second floor and save space in the living room.
Architecturally, the first steps are arranged as an 80 cm high piece of oak furniture. The design of the steps allows for a frontal or side approach. The side of the staircase is extended in the form of a console where you can place a lamp or books.
BEFORE. The ground floor was remodeled to eliminate the corridor crossing it and create large volumes of rooms, especially on the sea side.
AFTER. The small kitchen, originally located at the back of the stairs, has taken its place in the center of the house and merged with the dining room to create a modern living space.
The kitchen furniture is made in Italy: “Our architectural bureau has its own store selling kitchen and bathroom furniture, as well as lighting. We source many items from Italy or make them to order according to the project,” explains Sébastien.
Below the island, the kitchen area is delimited by a porcelain tile carpet with a pattern similar to cement tiles.
The kitchen facades are chosen in pearl gray lacquer, highlighting them with black countertops made of Zimbabwean granite.
On the other side of the large living room is the dining table. At the back, a large cabinet that alternates between closed and open elements brings rhythm to the only solid wall in the room.
Custom made in Italy for Octant design, this wardrobe hides a little secret: “Because we removed the hallway to increase the volume and light of the rooms, the passage to the bedroom had to be through the dining room, in this case through this wall. So I hid the bedroom door in one of the massive pieces of shelving.”
A door, invisible from the dining room, gives access to the master bedroom on the first floor.
BEFORE. This large bedroom was created by combining two old rooms.
AFTER. Bedroom area 26 sq.m. designed with double views – to the sea and to the garden in the courtyard.
The beam on the ceiling indicates the location of the old partition between the rooms on the ceiling. Sebastien used this feature as a visual divider, placing the double bed in the center of the room, facing the sea.

Behind the headboard is a bathroom with a solo bathtub and large walk-in shower. “The idea was that you could see the sea no matter where you were in the room, in bed or in the bathroom,” says the designer.

Sebastien combined wallpaper with floral patterns and patchwork tiles.
This bedroom overlooks the garden. There is a private shower room hidden behind a dark partition. The double bed faces the window, which offers views of the garden and the pine forest beyond.
A Foscarini lamp hanging above the mirror breaks the symmetry. “There was no goal to achieve symmetry – it’s so original and unexpected,” explains the professional.
The third bedroom on the ground floor is located on the site of the old kitchen and also overlooks the garden. It has its own bathroom.
For the bedroom we chose dark shades that should be soothing: “The room’s windows face west and north. We were careful to paint the openings anthracite and keep the ceiling and walls of direct light white, which reflect the light coming in,” says Sebastien.
“Initially it was an attic. There was a billiard table there, and we saved it,” says the designer. Now on the second floor there are two bedrooms with bathrooms and a small living room where the family usually watches TV.
BEFORE. As in the living room on the first floor, the main feature of this space is the large windows that reveal views towards the bay.
AFTER. This bedroom has a low ceiling, but two floor-to-ceiling windows give it charm. To maximize the sea view, the bed base is installed directly on the floor. In front of the windows, separated by a fireplace chimney, there is a sitting area with a soft carpet and pillows to dream while lying in front of this sea view.
In the adjacent bathroom, ultramarine and white colors are reminiscent of the marine atmosphere and white tones .
BEFORE. Here the attic was partitioned off.
AFTER. The central part of the attic has been converted into a living room-library with a corner sofa.
There is another bedroom on the second floor. The bed here is located in the center of the room, and the shower is located behind the headboard.

The bed is complemented by a podium: “We created this podium from wood so that you can see the sea through the window directly from the bed.”

Behind the bed there is access to an open bathroom and dressing area. Two black marble sinks sit at the head of the bed.
The walk-through shower is covered with porcelain tiles that imitate natural stone.
There was a swimming pool in the yard of the house, built back in the 1970s. It was completely refurbished, with a new pump and a retractable roof, so you can swim at any time of the year.

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