An interior designer reimagines a 19th-century Bordeaux home for modern life with her family of seven.

CHEAT SHEET

Who lives here: Ludivine Degas, an interior designer with a showroom in Bordeaux; her husband Stéphane, who owns a metalwork business; and their daughters Léane, 21; Lison, 19; Lola, 18; and Rose-Lou, 9; and son Jules, 15, plus Petit Chat the cat and Bart the dog.

Style of home: A 19th-century home in the French city of Bordeaux. The house has been restructured and extended into a 390-sqm family home with six bedrooms, four bathrooms, a courtyard and pool.

Timeline: The renovation took nine months to complete.

Renowned for its wines, the city of Bordeaux is also home to some of the most graceful streets in France, with many classical buildings offering 18th-century architectural facades. In one of its exclusive suburbs lies the magnificent home of Ludivine Degas and her family.

For Ludivine, an interior designer who specialises in renovation projects, and her husband Stèphane, who runs a steel and metalwork company, converting old run-down houses into stylish and comfortable homes is always a welcome challenge. “An appetite for change and passion for a new renovation project made us decide to embark on a new adventure,” says Ludivine of the family’s quest for a new abode, which began in 2014.

The old house was in a good state but needed a complete restructure to fit the family’s lifestyle. Right from the start, Ludivine had clear objectives. “I wanted each one of us to have our own private space. The house had to be open but also feel personal. I love a house that is fluid with open living spaces that offer some intimacy at the same time,” she says.

The demolition stage was extensive, made easier with the help of their five kids. “My children and their friends always gladly help when it comes to demolishing walls,” says Ludivine. “We’ve only kept the roof and the exterior walls; everything else is new.”

The couple have been renovating and decorating houses for 20 years, so the process ran fairly smoothly. All the metal verandahs and steel frames were made by Stéphane through his company, Atelier de Steel. Ludivine chose a soft palette of muted tones and subtle decorative effects for the home. To complement the concrete and steel, Ludivine selected pieces in natural or raw timber, organic textiles such as linen and added plenty of layers.

“I love to create an atmosphere that’s really chic and warm,”  says Ludivine. “I like to use simple materials and neutral colours; that was my goal for this house.”

A palette of soft grey shades provides the perfect backdrop for Ludivine’s collection of vintage, industrial and contemporary furniture. She loves to mix styles, often taking inspiration for a room from a single object, like a Moroccan bread basket or a vintage mirror, to decorate the rest of the space.

5 great finds:

  1. Oly ‘Fiona’ mirror, $2395, Coco Republic.
  2. Belly basket, from $29, Olli Ella.
  3. Ray Eames ‘RAR’ rocker, $1175, Living Edge.
  4. DCW Editions ‘Gras No217’ wall lamp, $1010, Spence & Lyda.
  5. Yuzuru Yamakawa ‘C110’ chair, $980, Spence & Lyda.

Outside, a minimalistic garden complete with an inviting turquoise swimming pool against a stunning wall of jasmine flowers offers ample space for the children to play, as well as numerous inviting spots for alfresco entertaining.

When asked how she manages to reconcile interior design and life with a large family, Ludivine confesses to a storage obsession. “I installed cupboards and storage units in every room to make sure the mess stays contained,” she says.

Ludivine feels happiest in her living room and kitchen, both the places where she spends most time with her children. As for her favourite piece within her carefully curated blend of styles, she points out the two striking black wooden chairs in the living room. “I got them for a bargain,” she says. “I love to mix new furniture with pieces that have a past.”

Lessons learnt:

“The most difficult part was lowering the ground level at the back”, says Ludivine Degas, homeowner. “This was to create an extra floor [which houses the couple’s youngest daughter’s bedroom] without having to touch the roof. When we started digging, we discovered the soil was all rock and rubble and there were old tunnels, too, which greatly complicated the task.”

To see more of Ludivine’s work, visit lamaisonpoetique.fr.

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