History + Design

One of my guilty pleasures this summer has been the British television show Restoration Home. Several episodes are on YouTube (I'd recommend starting with the Cassillis House episode--the restoration of this castle is truly spectacular), and the premise is that the show follows people who are restoring historic houses, while exploring the history of those houses and the people who once called them home. It's absolutely addicting to see the houses go from near-ruins in some cases to homes for a new generation of inhabitants.
Reading about the restoration of the Château du Grand-Lucé (which well deserves its name, judging by the first picture) in the October issue of Architectural Digest was right up my alley, then--the article traces the history of the château from a sweet legend of how it avoided destruction in the French Revolution through its military use in the Second World War to its present salvation. The château has been wonderfully restored and important aspects of the house (such as seventeenth-century murals) have been preserved, but the decor and use has been modernised (a dressing room transformed into the kitchen, for example) in a way that meshes wonderfully with the old bones of the house. While I doubt a château in the Loire Valley will ever been in the cards for me, I would love to restore a house of my own some day--learning about the history of all the people who have inhabited a space before me would be absolutely fabulous, and plays very nicely with my love of history in general.

see more images here
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