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Calm and Luxe: An American Designer Reinterprets a Cannes Villa

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Calm and Luxe: An American Designer Reinterprets a Cannes Villa

February 20, 2017

Elliott Barnes is an American designer in Paris with impeccable creds: He has a master’s in architecture and urbanism from Cornell, collaborated with the great Andrée Putman for 16 years, and now runs his own firm, Elliott Barnes Interiors (EBI). His projects include the Ritz Carleton in Wolfsburg, Germany, scenery for a Benjamin Millepied ballet, a combination private gallery and spa, and Daniel Rose’s new Paris restaurant. He’s known for his refined, sotto voce renditions of the good life. The version that recently caught our attention? A 19th-century Provençal-style seaside villa in Cannes that Barnes was enlisted to usher into the 21st century.

Photography by Francis Amiand courtesy of EBI, except where noted.

The three-story house belongs to a European family who use it as a vacation retreat. Barnes notes that they had owned it for  years before he arrived, and says he was careful to &#8
Above: The three-story house belongs to a European family who use it as a vacation retreat. Barnes notes that they had owned it for 25 years before he arrived, and says he was careful to “soak up the spirit of the place—and to not replicate a faux Provençal, but rather to embody its authenticity.”

As an all-over refresh in keeping with the villa’s roots, he applied lime plaster to the walls and curved ceilings. “Lime plaster wasn’t in the house as I found it,” Barnes tells us, “but it’s a traditional technique used locally on plaster-rendered walls.” Shown here, a sitting area with a new wood fireplace and EBI armchairs in a polished cotton gabardine (known as the Toi & Moi Armchair; they’re available from Ecart International, which Putman founded in 1978).

Taking inspiration from the house&#8
Above: Taking inspiration from the house’s single arched doorway, Barnes “parsimoniously injected other arches.” He took a luxe-minimalist approach to the furnishings. The living room’s two-toned sofa and outsized low coffee table are both by Christian Liaigre. 
Envisioning the vacationing owners and their friends gathering in the kitchen, Barnes created a refined-rustic look by inserting solid oak beams and a paneled oak ceiling.
Above: Envisioning the vacationing owners and their friends gathering in the kitchen, Barnes created a refined-rustic look by inserting solid oak beams and a paneled oak ceiling.

The cabinets are cerused oak and the counters are lava stone from Pyrolave—”the stone itself comes from the Auvergne region of France; the finish is hand-applied and then baked in a kiln,” explains Barnes. Learn its pros and cons in Remodeling 101: Lava Stone Countertops.

The windows throughout are new. Here the windows over the sink look onto the dining room terrace, and the opposite bank of windows have light-filtering translucent shades made from a rubber-fiber textile with an irregular weave from Luc Druez Fabrics.

The kitchen has a minimalist table and benches that are signature EBI designs made in France. The wall of built-in storage incorporates the fridge and freezer and the door to the laundry. The floor is a mottled gray stone from Cascais, Portugal.
Above: The kitchen has a minimalist table and benches that are signature EBI designs made in France. The wall of built-in storage incorporates the fridge and freezer and the door to the laundry. The floor is a mottled gray stone from Cascais, Portugal.
The adjoining dining area features EBI&#8
Above: The adjoining dining area features EBI’s Table Octave, made in France and available from Ecart International. The French doors open to a back terrace.
Bar storage is conveniently right off the dining room in a built-in china cupboard. The floor is wide-plank oak.
Above: Bar storage is conveniently right off the dining room in a built-in china cupboard. The floor is wide-plank oak.
The lines of the arched doorways and stair walls are highlighted by the lime plaster, which adds nuance and depth to the walls. Read about a DIY version in our posts Limewashed Walls for Modern Times and Build-It-for-Less Materials.
Above: The lines of the arched doorways and stair walls are highlighted by the lime plaster, which adds nuance and depth to the walls. Read about a DIY version in our posts Limewashed Walls for Modern Times and Build-It-for-Less Materials.
The master suite has a sitting area with a meridiènne, a low sofa that stands against a stained oak wardrobe.
Above: The master suite has a sitting area with a meridiènne, a low sofa that stands against a stained oak wardrobe.
In another bedroom, a freestanding stained oak wardrobe is set in a wall niche.
Above: In another bedroom, a freestanding stained oak wardrobe is set in a wall niche.
On the bedside tables, we were happy to spot a Remodelista favorite, the BTC Hector Medium Dome Table Lamp with a bone-china shade. (See the Remodelista book, page 7, and High/Low: The Classic English Table Lamp from Original BTC.)
Above: On the bedside tables, we were happy to spot a Remodelista favorite, the BTC Hector Medium Dome Table Lamp with a bone-china shade. (See the Remodelista book, page 297, and High/Low: The Classic English Table Lamp from Original BTC.)
The master bathroom features a freestanding oval bathtub from Bette and double sinks with mirrors that echo the arched windows. The metal radiator is from Alphamétal, a French company that specializes in renovating (and also reissuing) classic cast-iron radiators.
Above: The master bathroom features a freestanding oval bathtub from Bette and double sinks with mirrors that echo the arched windows. The metal radiator is from Alphamétal, a French company that specializes in renovating (and also reissuing) classic cast-iron radiators.
The guest room has an en suite bath divided by an archway and folding screen. The painted pine double headboard, Barnes tells us, was &#8
Above: The guest room has an en suite bath divided by an archway and folding screen. The painted pine double headboard, Barnes tells us, was “inspired by boarding school headboards that I ran across in a convent in Provence.” The floor is Marbre Boulonnais, a marble from northern France.
Barnes has been based in France since 87, just two years out of architecture school, when Putman summoned him to come work in her Paris office. He grew up in California and has projects all over the world, including a house addition in San Francisco. Photograph by Michaël Crotto.
Above: Barnes has been based in France since 1987, just two years out of architecture school, when Putman summoned him to come work in her Paris office. He grew up in California and has projects all over the world, including a house addition in San Francisco. Photograph by Michaël Crotto.
A glimpse of the stucco house, fronted by a tower that overlooks the Mediterranean.
Above: A glimpse of the stucco house, fronted by a tower that overlooks the Mediterranean.
The existing tree-framed pool was preserved.
Above: The existing tree-framed pool was preserved.
The grounds are dotted with sitting areas, plantings, and olive trees.
Above: The grounds are dotted with sitting areas, plantings, and olive trees.

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