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The Homes of Zee

Little House, Big Ideas

La Maïon’s history is given a modern touch with its conversion into creative offices and a getaway that is as stylish a destination as the French Riviera where it’s located.

by Andrea Aldeguer

With its mixture of year-round sunshine, art deco facades and old world lavishness, Nice captures the glamour and lifestyle of the French Riviera perfectly. For Jacques Chahine’s pied à terre on the Riviera, he wanted a house with personality and style, and just the right size. The project was created to house their offices in the area, but mainly Jacques envisioned it as a hideaway where he could be alone with his creativity. Finding this La Maïon on the way to the airport was “love at first sight. This house for me is like a nice antique chest of drawers that belonged to my grandma.”

La Maïon has four levels: the two upper floors are for Jacques’ personal use—which peers over the port of Nice—and the offices occupy the lower levels, which opens to a garden and a small yard. He chose yellow, ochre and white hues to catch and reflect the light, the Côte d’ Azur way. To keep the French Riviera effect all the way to the attic, he installed a glass floor. “This way, nothing could obscure the space,” he explains. Black touches to the pale interiors bring rhythm and make the eyes dance, adding a modern character to a house with so much history.

La Maïon is considerably a historic place. “Originally, it was the toll house for the park of Saint Aignan, which is no longer in existence,” he shares. Of this age, he kept the 19th century stained glass window, which had been restored. The furniture was chosen for its natural facet, a juxtaposition between Provençal simplicity and oriental characteristics. Old prints, antiques, and a light and fertile ambiance reflect Jacques himself.

When you walk up to the door, the doorknocker reminds you of the original vocation of the house as a tollhouse and gatekeeper’s lodge. The stark architecture and character of the house is immediately noticed. When you step inside, the white palette allows the sun to peek through the windows and lends a soft touch of light through the whole space. In the main room are old architectural prints covering majority of the wall, while archeological elements and the Becara chandelier hang above the glass slab supported by old wrought-iron trestles. The spaces are furnished with Moucharaby chairs, little elements brought all the way from Beirut and painted white for a second life.

Using strong visual motifs allows structuring of the space, like the black stripes in a pale room that creates an eye-catching geometrical effect. The windows around the main room were originally 19th century stained glass windows, but refurbished by l’Atelier St. Didier. “The effects of symmetry have always captivated me, as much as the contrast of black and white,” says Joseph Karam, the designer behind the firm Jacques works with.

The system cabinet is tucked under the staircase, inspired by craft furniture, and hides the sink and other electrical elements under its sliding top. It’s a kitchen, then, that becomes invisible. From a functional standpoint, a concealed mixer tap on the system cabinet is practical for washing dishes while looking through the window. The splashes of yellow in the room, like the flowers and the fruits, tie the contrast of black and white elements together.

Once you go up the fourth floor, the double exposure from either side of the ceiling has sunshine radiating right above the bed, offering a stunning view of the port. The sun’s rays shine from the ground floor as well, having the Côte d’ Azur feel extend its way to the fourth floor. Seating in the attic are Louis XV-style armchairs, raw stripped with laced natural linen seating. Lastly, a marble shower reflects the luminosity of the attic in the bathroom.

The La Maïon is a house of character that transcends timeless elegance through its history. It’s given new life as Jacques Chanine’s perfect haven as a creative outlet, or simply a place to get away from the big city.

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Design

Trendy Renovation Ideas for the Home or Condo. Part 4

by Christa M. Cañizares IDr.

Part 4:  Upgrade your Choices

A.  Create different moods with lighting. The use of warm colored indirect lighting such as lamps, colored LED back lights, or even string lights can create a cozy and relaxing vibe after a day’s work.

 

Beautiful lighting can transform a small modern apartment.

 

B.)  Convert to smart home systems. From door locks, CCTV cameras, you’ll also be able to control and turn on lights, appliances even if you’re away from home. All you need is a wifi connection and the applications on your mobile phone.

Smart phone apps can also control lights and home appliances.

C.) Hire a professional interior designer. We always get an impression that hiring a professional would be expensive, but they actually help you make the best choices and save you from making bad purchases.

Go over design options and your color palette with a professional interior designer to get better results and save more.

 

IDr. Christa M. Cañizares, piid
Founding Member, Philippine Institute of Interior Designers – Cebu Chapter
Principal Designer, CMC Interior Design
Specializes in residential and commercial design.
A homebody and renovation aficionado.

 

 

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Design

Trendy Renovation Ideas for the Home or Condo. Part 3

Trendy Home & Condo Renovation Tips. Part 3

by Christa M. Cañizares IDr.

Part 3: Maximize Impact of Small Spaces

A.)  Storage spaces. You can go with concealed storage systems such as built-in cabinets on walls, under the bed or seating. Keep the items that you use often more reachable than the occasional ones. Choose what works best for your space and for your convenience.

There are many affordable storage options to de-clutter your room.

B.)  Showcase your collection of interesting conversation pieces, like items you acquire from past travels, an artwork, an heirloom, coffee table books or a collector’s item. Make sure to save a special place for them in your home.

Your personal collections can be nice decorative pieces.

C.)  Move things around to attract renewed energy into your space. May it be moving a sofa to the adjacent wall, creating a dining nook near a window, shuffling your accessories on to a different shelf? Little efforts go a long way.

Update your living/family areas with bright color accents that complement the dining area.

 

IDr. Christa M. Cañizares, piid
Founding Member, Philippine Institute of Interior Designers – Cebu Chapter
Principal Designer, CMC Interior Design
Specializes in residential and commercial design.
A homebody and renovation aficionado.

 

Continue Reading

Design

Trendy Renovation Ideas for the Home or Condo. Part 2

by Christa M. Cañizares IDr.

Part 2:  Create Visual Interest

A.)  Update your space with a fresh coat of paint. Some would love the white / minimalist theme, but one must also not be afraid to make a bold statement and have an accent wall, or even a wall mural.

A new coat of paint can add that bold accent to your kitchen or room.

B.)  Mix materials and textures to create depth and contrast. Wallpaper is an amazing decorative material that you can use for an instant upgrade. Another inexpensive approach is to use patterns and texture on soft furnishings such as curtains, pillows and sheets.

A right mix of fabrics and textures gives an earthy color palette that sophisticated feel.

C.)  Setting up a coffee station, bar carts, vinyl corner, or workstation seems to be a trend to the young professionals nowadays.  Add functional pieces that serve as décor at the same time.

Your personal work space can show off your favorite items and will be your inspiration to be productive.

 

IDr. Christa M. Cañizares, piid
Founding Member, Philippine Institute of Interior Designers – Cebu Chapter
Principal Designer, CMC Interior Design
Specializes in residential and commercial design.
A homebody and renovation aficionado.

Continue Reading

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