An 18th-century French townhouse rendered in painterly tones by the founders of Antoinette Poisson

Together, Jean-Baptiste Martin and Vincent Farelly of paper company Antoinette Poisson have sensitively restored this historic house in a French seaside town to its former glory
An 18thcentury French townhouse rendered in painterly tones by the founders of Antoinette Poisson
Ruth Ribeaucourt

Beyond the main house, there was a small outbuilding that had been used for garden storage for several years. ‘In the 18th century, it would have been the kitchen. There was a beautiful stone sink and fireplace in there that we knew we wanted to use.’ Together, Jean-Baptiste and Vincent restored the redundant space into a liveable one, creating a bedroom and little library with a fireplace: just two ‘very cosy’ rooms. The bedroom has been rendered in soft cream and ochre tones, pulled from the original ‘verdure' tapestry that inspired Antoinette Poisson’s ‘Joli Bois’.

The sea chapel is painted in a brilliant blue hue and decorated with collected objects and family photos.

Ruth Ribeaucourt

One of the most special areas in the house is the ‘sea chapel’, a space no more than one square metre. It's just a tiny room, tucked behind the main entrance with a door leading down to the basement, but Jean-Baptiste and Vincent have created a theatrical backdrop. ‘It’s very common to find sea chapels in Brittany, all the old houses had places for families to go and pray for the safe return of the fishermen,' the pair explain. It's clear that the sea has influenced more than just the decoration, as Jean-Baptiste and Vincent have become enamoured by the coastal lifestyle too. ‘You can see the sea from the second floor of the house, and it’s just one street away from our front door. We now have friends with a boat, and are trying to learn more about fishing.'

Whilst the duo and design firm are still based in Paris, Port Louis has infiltrated every aspect of their lives. Earlier this year, the Antoinette Poisson team opened a second studio and workshop just a few moments away from Maison Lescop. ‘It’s an 18th-century space, but with quite a bit of work done in the 20th century,' they note. With a guest room, tea room and interiors shop, Port Liberté is the perfect destination for design lovers.

Originally intended as a weekend house, Maison Lescop calls to them like a siren, and they find themselves drawn to the Port Louis house for longer periods of time. ‘We are staying in Brittany more often. Now, some of the Antoinette Poisson team are even thinking about moving here full time,' laughs Jean-Baptiste.

Pictures extracted from ‘A Year in The French Style: Interiors & Entertaining by Antoinette Poisson’, published by Flammarion, available now.