Connect with us

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.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

The Homes of Zee

The Homes of Zee–Holiday Edition: Christmas House No. 12

Christmas House No. 12 – Heart-felt Holidays at the Hofers’

Check out why this holiday home is on our list of 12 Cebu homes this season. offers a glimpse of Cebu’s holiday homes from far and wide. Please follow our series as we bring you a different home in the next few days!

Nestled in Banilad, Cebu City, the George Hofer residence stands as testament to enduring elegance. Constructed in the late sixties to early seventies, the mansion exudes timeless charm with warm brown molave wood panels and pristine white marble floors.

Stepping into this grand abode during the Christmas season unveils a journey into a beautifully storied past. This season, Molave wooden entance, intricately carved with the Hofer couple’s monogram, are adorned with opulent yuletide garlands. White velvet poinsettias and persimmon peonies alongside mother of pearl camellias are interspersed with pearlescent berries. Archangel Michael showers the guests with  blessings from above, while a macassar ebony wooden effigy of Saint George (slaying the dragon) pays homage to the house owner’s namesake.

Adjacent to a private elevator, a grandiose Christmas tree stands tall, welcoming guests into a sprawling waiting hall. Here, an angel in teal and gold lamé cloth grouped together with exotic blooms gracefully plays the lyre; seemingly entertaining those who await entry.

Further down the hall is an ecru grand piano, where the lady of the house, a skilled pianist, performs Monti’s Czardas, Schubert’s Ständchen, and other rhapsodies on special occasions. A commissioned portrait of George and Dulce hangs on a wall above a console table that separates the hall from the formal dining area.

The Hofer home exudes old-world elegance that is seldom found today, yet its true charm lies in the joyous laughter and warm greetings of the Hofers, who gather annually to share Christmas cheer and delightful yuletide stories in this vibrant space.

Continue Reading

The Homes of Zee

The Homes of Zee–Holiday Edition: Christmas House No. 11

Christmas House No. 11 – Christine Pelaez

Check out why this holiday home is on our list of 12 Cebu homes this season. offers a glimpse of Cebu’s holiday homes from far and wide. Please follow our series as we bring you a different home in the next few days!

Designed by the noted Cebu architect Teng Jacinto, this expansive residence stands as a testament to the artful curation of Jun Pelaez. Over the years, he has meticulously assembled a collection of artworks, transforming the home into a gallery that reflects his discerning taste and appreciation for the aesthetic.

As the holiday season graces the air, the residence undergoes a festive tone under the artful touch of Jun’s wife, Christine. Embracing tradition, she bathes the home in the classic Christmas palette of reds and greens, infusing each corner with warmth and seasonal charm. The interior becomes a canvas for the holiday spirit, adorned with wreaths, ornaments, and the timeless glow of twinkling lights.

However, the true heart of this home lies in its welcoming spirit. There are two dining rooms, with chairs adorned with red bows and festive centerpieces,  where family and friends converge for an equally sumptuous meal.

Continue Reading

The Homes of Zee

The Homes of Zee–Holiday Edition: Christmas House No. 10

Christmas House No. 10 – The Hudsons’ Christmas Chronicles

Check out why this holiday home is on our list of 12 Cebu homes this season. offers a glimpse of Cebu’s holiday homes from far and wide. Please follow our series as we bring you a different home in the next few days!

The Hudson’s household buzzes with enthusiasm each time the holiday season unfolds. The heart of their Tokyo home, the  Hudson Christmas tree, stands tall and proud, adorned with tinsel and cherished trimmings that span the years of their family’s growth. Each ornament tells a story, marking the arrival of a new family member with the annual addition of baubles bearing their names: Mary, George, Victoria and Charles.

Charles, the youngest Hudson at twelve, beams with joy as he proudly places the Christmas star atop the tree. No longer reliant on his father’s shoulders, Charles revels in his newfound height and the welcomed responsibility that comes with it.

In addition to the twinkling blue lights, the festive icons and the white-and-silvery ornaments, another cherished tradition had been completed at the beginning of the joyful season. The Hudson’s much-anticipated Christmas cards, an exciting accountof  the family’s adventures, had been creatively crafted by Rose and Karl. The lively narrative chronicles the milestones and quests of each family member, with Karl’s animated storytelling and Rose’s artistic touch bringing the tales to life.

Rose shares, “by mid-November we print two hundred post cards of the Hudson family chronicles. The entire family, from the oldest to the youngest, gathers around to sign each card. Envelopes are lovingly addressed, and the kids lend a hand in labeling.”

In a heartwarming shift of roles, the Hudson parents, Karl and Rose, prepare to pass the baton. The careful planning and distribution of the Christmas cards are soon to become the responsibility of the eager younger generation. 

With laughter, love, and a touch of adventure, the Hudson family embraces the season, creating and sharing memories that they and their friends treasure for life.

Continue Reading