Alvar Aalto

Maison Louis Carré . Bazoches-sur-Guyonne

Maison Louis Carré . photos: © Gareth Gardner . + Building Design

Maison Louis Carré is a private house of ca 450mq, situated on the garden level. The ground floor is articulated on two levels around the entrance hall and can be divided into three zones: the “public” area (hall, cloakroom, living-room, library, dining room), the “private” area (three bedrooms with one bathroom each and a sauna), and the “service” area (kitchen, pantry, larder, staff’s dining room).

On the first floor there are staff bedrooms and a linen room. The basement includes a boiler, a laundry, a wood stock and a wine cellar.On the outside the villa is covered with local stone from Chartres, lime-washed bricks, copper and wood. The roof is made of blue slate from Normandy. The interior is dominated by a large entrance hall, the free-form ceiling of which is made from red pine from Finland, laid by Finnish craftsmen. Other materials are: red stoneware tiles, oak, ash, teak and marble.
What makes Maison Louis Carré special amongst Alvar Aalto’s private houses is that the whole interior design – including fittings, furniture, lamps and textiles – was designed by Aalto or by his collaborators. The major part of these elements still remains in the house. The furniture – both standard and custom designed pieces – is made of a wide range of wood species, such as birch, ask, teak, pine, beech, synacome and mahogany. The chairs are covered with black or natural leather; the door handles are from bronze and leather. Alvar Aalto paid great attention to both natural and artificial lighting in the house. Several types of specially designed lamps susteain skylights and wide windows. Elissa Aalto designed many of the textiles, such as the big red and white wool carpet in the living room.The house is situated on the top of a hill, originally overlooking an open rural Ile-de-France landscape. Nowadays tall trees hide the views from the house and the small vineyard that used to grow beside the library terrace has disappeared. On the south side, the bedrooms enjoy private terraces that lead to terraced steps descending towards the swimming pool. A small amphitheathre connects with an oak grove, where the Carrés used to hold their annual garden-parties.A home of art - Maison Louis Carré was designed as a permanent residence and to put on display its owner’s fabulous collection of modern art. Paintings by Léger, Bonnard, Picasso, Dufy, Villon, Lanskoy and Klee, sculpture by Henri Laurens, Calder and Alberto Giacometti as well as African art ornated the house. Artists, writers, clients and friends were invited to the villa and the house’s guest books show the quality of the social and cultura life lead in this home.

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