An Invitation to CHÂTEAU DU GRAND-LUCÉ

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For all of you who dream of owning a chateau in the French country side….this gorgeous book is for you.

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An Invitation to Château du Grand-Lucé is the story of a passionate love affair between a man, award-winning Los Angeles based interior designer Timothy Corrigan—and a gorgeous wreck of a house, set in the magnificent French countryside. The chateau,  a monument historique in France’s Pays-de-la-Loire, was a gently crumbling shell of its former 18th century beautiful self when Timothy first saw it in 2002. The designer fell head over heels in love, and petitioned the French government for a year and a half for the right to buy the house and return it to its original use as a private residence. Against all odds, the Commission decided in favor of his plan which would keep the château intact, and, in 2004, Timothy Corrigan became the new owner of Château du Grand-Lucé.

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Duke Jacques Pineau de Viennay, Baron de  Lucé, who oversaw eastern France under Louis XV, had the château constructed in 1760. It was created by engineer Mathieu de Bayeux, and was completed in 1764. The King’s housewarming gifts were seven sculptures that were exact replicas of ones in Versailles.  During its early days, the château welcomed Voltaire, Diderot and other luminaries of the Enlightenment.  The owner’s influence was able to prevent damage to the château during the French Revolution as were subsequent owners during two World Wars, sparing it the destruction suffered by so many historic buildings. About 30 acres of formal gardens and 42 acres of forest surround the château. A small village lies beyond the property’s greenery.

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What I love most about the chateau {besides the obvious} is that while each room is superbly detailed, elegant and highly individual, it is neither stuffy nor too formal.  The interior is the perfect combination of decorating with heirloom quality antiques, but each room, the whole of the chateau, looks as if it has been this way for centuries, livable, comfortable. The designer has created an environment where people can really feel  at home. A place where children and dogs are welcomed, where family and friends can gather, and laughter fills the rooms. 

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The initial major restoration took approximately five years, with meticulous and ambitious work from the ground up, as you can imagine!  Timothy was able to accomplish the perfect combination of authentic Gallic flavor with the relaxed elegance he favors, Continental elegance with California comfort. The end result is stunning, to say the least.

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The Grand Salon overlooks the château’s gardens, which were restored by the French government and are open to the public six times a year. Timothy mixes antiques with large scale sofas and chairs, for comfort, so that the rooms are perfect for today and the way we live. Somewhat more casual and less “precious” than what one would normally expect to find in a chateau that has been called one of the finest examples of neo classical architecture in France.

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In the grand salon,  knole sofas anchor the sitting area, the table lamps next to the sofa are repurposed 19th-century gilt-wood colonnettes, and the cocktail tables are vintage Jansen.

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Above, a detail showcasing a  delightful mix of darks and lights, angular and more organic forms, and a touch of fun.

Timothy Corrigan says his favorite room is the Salon Chinois {the Chinese room} where Jean Baptiste Pillement, the King and Marie Antoinette’s own master painter, carried out work. Corrigan says: “There are only three rooms existing in the world today that were painted by this man – this is one of them. All the paintings are what they imagined life to be like in China.” A terra-cotta bust of Louis XV’s mistress Madame du Barry is the focal point of the marble mantel, mounted ostrich eggs ornament a side table, and a 19th-century tole tray transforms the velvet ottoman into a cocktail table.

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In the photo below, an 18th Century German marquetry cabinet sits below a gilt Napoleon III mirror. Reflected in the mirror are the hand painted murals surrounding the room by Jean-Baptiste Pillement.

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Each room is filled with glorious treasures, and with beautiful light. Below, antique Creil earthenware plates are displayed above the kitchen’s marble mantel. I love the antique copper pots on each side, this surely is a magical space to create haute cuisine, or a simple omelet in the morning.

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The publisher, Rizolli Books describes this gem of  a design book as: “A tale of architectural adventure and interior decoration, with a soupçon of French history, and finally, a gratitude-filled celebration of country living in the pastoral beauty of rural France. An Invitation to Château du Grand-Lucé offers a window into living in an historic home in a modern way, and will be the must-have book for all Francophiles and design enthusiasts.”
An Invitation to CHÂTEAU DU GRAND-LUCÉ
By Timothy Corrigan
With photography by Eric Piasecki
contributor Marc Kristal
Hardcover / 9” x 12” / 240 pages / 250 color photographs

Available at book stores and here.

All images: copyright protected: Eric Piasecki

Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and uniquely yours.Visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.

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12 Comments

  1. John Paul
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much, this is absolutely fabulous. Although on a much, much grander scale than our American Victorian farmhouse, we too love to decorate with antiques for today’s life. {as you well know, since many of our most treasured pieces have come from FrenchGardenHouse} Ordered a few copies of this for gifts, too. JohnPaul & Emory

  2. Rebecca von Trubell
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Amazing story of bringing a historic treasure back to life for future generations. Lidy, thank you for always sharing from your heart, even the book reviews you do carry that unmistakable enthusiasm you have for antiques, and the stories that come with them.

  3. Sandi
    Posted April 10, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Wow, fantastic book. I will look for this today at the bookstore. I can always use a gorgeous design book, who can’t? Thanks for the lovely sterling pot, it arrived safely and is a treat.

  4. Posted April 10, 2014 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Ooooohhhhh……be still my heart! I could move in tomorrow!
    What a beautiful, beautiful home….and vision!!!
    Thanks for sharing, Lidy!
    I’m believing I will have a home like this in eternity! ;-)

  5. Lorraine
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 1:08 am | Permalink

    thank you Lidy OMG Im going to have good dreams tonight…….
    stunning…….xo lorraine

  6. Lidy
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    Lorraine, thanks for visiting. I KNOW…so beautiful. The book is absolutely dreamy, but also very well written and very informative, it is one of my all time favorites.

  7. Gabrielle Choo
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    MAJOR FABULOUS !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    What a BEAUTIFUL place to live !!!!

  8. Posted April 11, 2014 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Hi Lidy, Happy to find your blog, sent to me by a friend, and loved seeing this breathtaking project. Living in France, I know how hard it was to get that done!

  9. Posted April 11, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Hi Lidy, Happy to find your blog, sent to me by a friend, and loved seeing this breathtaking project. Living in France, I know how hard it was to get that done! Hope you’ll hop over to my blog for a visit. I’m an antique lover as well, but more in the brocante category!

  10. Lidy
    Posted April 11, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Lynn….I am honored to have you read my blog and thanks so much for leaving a comment. Living in France….how wonderful!

  11. Lidy
    Posted April 14, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lynn, thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to write a comment. I will love your blog, I’m sure! xo

  12. Pam
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Just stunning!

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    Lidy is the owner of FrenchGardenHouse, a company that sells luxurious antiques, furniture, decorative accesories for home and garden and gifts. FrenchGardenHouse is based in southern California.

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