(All photos courtesy of Rizzoli)In the October issue of Lonny, designer Timothy Corrigan gave us insight into the renovation of his European home away from home—an experience I will likely never have. After all, it's not everyday you find an opulent Neoclassical estate languishing in the French countryside and decide to do something about it. But in his new book, An Invitation to Château du Grand-Lucé, interior designer Timothy Corrigan shares how he did just that, illuminating the process of bringing a forgotten Gallic treasure back to life.
"People who buy promising fixer-uppers often have the desire to create homes that preserve the best of what was already there but are also perfectly tailored to one’s needs, and I was no exception," Corrigan says. "Because the château was totally uninhabitable when I bought it—lacking bathrooms, any electricity, or even a kitchen—it seemed like I had plenty of creative latitude." However, he would soon find that French government wouldn't make it so easy for him.
"At one point, I wanted to add a row of evergreen pines along a wall to create more privacy between the château and the village, and I took out a row of linden trees dating from the 1990s to make room for them," he remembers. "Before I could get the new ones in the ground, however, the gendarmes showed up and shut down the entire job: I’d been denounced for removing trees from a listed site, even though they weren’t original and my desire for greater screening was in the spirit of the government’s guidelines. It took three months of negotiations to get the work going again, and I had to inventory—and number—every single tree on the entire estate."
In the end, though, it all came together beautifully. The interiors effortlessly blend the breezy West Coast feel of a California native's home (Corrigan is from L.A.) and the classical French luxury in keeping with an iconic countryside estate. We couldn't be more inspired by the result.