Naturally, These French Cabinet Designers Have the Most Clever Bookcase in All the Land
Look closely to spot the entryway shoe cubby.
Published Oct 14, 2022 1:35 PM
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“You tell me where to put something and I’ll install it,” Romain Faget told his wife, Loanah, when they finally purchased the Angoulême, France, home they had been renting for five years. Loanah took Romain at his word: The birch plywood cabinets that now border the couple’s bathroom vanity, the interior glass window in the entryway, and the cherrywood kitchen cupboard fronts were just the beginning of her plans. For the Fagets, renovating this home was as much about making it more functional for their family of four as it was showcasing their work.
Together, the pair run Blomkål, a local company that designs and manufactures bespoke cabinetry and furniture, so decking out the space in unique millwork was a must. At the same time, they wanted to give themselves and their two boys, Jules (11) and Cesar (4), more room to roam. Once the ink on the contract was dry, they set out to double the size of the place by transforming the unused attic into a proper second floor with four bedrooms, and enclosing the pergola and turning it into a kitchen—a suggestion that came from their architect, Nathalie Manicot. “It was the best way to optimize this narrow, long space,” notes Romain.
A sculptural wall divider now separates the new dining nook from the main living space, while still providing plenty of transparency through its curvy birch slats. The Art Deco–esque partition, dubbed the Claustra Augustin, is a Blomkål specialty (the couple sells the piece through their shop in multiple finishes). They even went as far as designing the cutting board that sits out proudly on the countertop, while the pendant lights that dot the ceiling are a mix of IKEA and finds from shops in Angoulême. The pair did most of the work themselves with the help of Romain’s brother, who played a big role in the construction of the stone-lined swimming pool. One of the few jobs they hired out was the painting on the main floor toward the end of the project “simply because we couldn’t take it anymore,” shares Loanah.
These days, Loanah dreams up their next projects from the comfort of the alcove bench in the living room. (Framed by oak veneer bookcases, the cocoon is also a favorite reading spot for the family.) “We wanted to be able to have a space where we feel outside [even though we’re] inside,” she says of their decision to add an extra-large square window. When the sun gets too strong in the summertime, someone can pop outside and unwind the exterior raffia shade (during the winter months, Loanah brings the window treatment indoors to keep it in good condition). Nearby, there’s a much smaller bench that’s meant for moments on the go: The arched nook is the perfect place to sit and put shoes on before heading out the door, and there are two shallow cabinets on either side to store everyday footwear.
Upstairs, you’d never know Jules’s and Cesar’s bedrooms were once part of the attic thanks to the freshly added skylights. With its tropical wallpaper, Jules’s space looks more like it came straight out of the Amazon. The bespoke wardrobes in his space are freestanding versions of the custom bathroom cabinets, which were designed to fit perfectly underneath the sloped ceilings to maximize room for spare toothbrushes and bath toys.
When guests come over, the self-proclaimed bon vivants retreat outdoors to the supersize outdoor dining table that they made in their workshop specifically for the patio. The outdoor grill came in handy when their kitchen was still under construction (it was their only place to cook during those months). “On Sundays, we like getting together with friends around the swimming pool with oysters and white wine,” says Loanah. The five years renting was worth the wait.