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Second Act: A London Design Couple’s Townhouse in a Small French Market Town

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Second Act: A London Design Couple’s Townhouse in a Small French Market Town

April 17, 2020

London-based designers, Lone and Chris McCourt, had long fallen in love with the the small town of Uzès, France, and in fact, had bought a summer house on the outskirts. When a medieval building (built in 1200!) right in the heart of the village came on the market, they realized that while they enjoyed rural life, town life might just have more to offer.

So the couple traded their country retreat for a four-story townhouse and embarked on a six-month restoration that was as sensitive as can be. They bolstered, fixed, and enhanced but “were careful not to alter the structure and detailing,” says Chris, a furniture maker and owner of Isokon Plus, a company specializing in Bauhaus as well as contemporary furniture design.

They did, however, have to add a kitchen (the building was most recently used as a lawyer’s office and as such, lacked one), but even that was a relatively non-invasive procedure, thanks to Vipp‘s modular kitchen units. “It’s the first kitchen I have ever bought,” shares Chris, who had always crafted his own kitchens in his workshop. “But this house needed something else. . . . We fell for the industrial look that stands in sharp contrast to wooden doors and detailed ornaments.”

Now that the townhouse has been restored and decorated (many of the artful furniture pieces are available at Isokon Plus), the couple are reveling in their new life—and new passions. He’s mastering the art of guitar-making and she’s focused on textile design. “Instead of spending the whole day nursing a garden like we used to, we can have our morning coffee in the local cafés or eat out in the downstairs brasserie if we have spent long hours in our studios and are too tired to start cooking. It brings a certain freedom,” says Lone.

Ready for a glimpse of their slowed-down (but not too slow) life?

Photography by Anders Hviid, courtesy of Vipp.

Lone and Chris McCarter with their granddaughter, Lily, on the front step of their home.
Above: Lone and Chris McCarter with their granddaughter, Lily, on the front step of their home.
Three Vipp modules make up the kitchen. The legs can be adjusted, a useful feature when you&#8
Above: Three Vipp modules make up the kitchen. The legs can be adjusted, a useful feature when you’re dealing with an uneven 700-year-old stone floor. The two lights are by Le Corbusier.
A vintage painted hutch offers a warm contrast in the kitchen. Note the -foot-high ceiling.
Above: A vintage painted hutch offers a warm contrast in the kitchen. Note the 13-foot-high ceiling.
“We bought the kitchen in Denmark after having seen it in a magazine. Being half Danish, I do have a predilection for the design traditions and functional philosophy expressed in the Vipp kitchen and other Danish designs,&#8
Above: “We bought the kitchen in Denmark after having seen it in a magazine. Being half Danish, I do have a predilection for the design traditions and functional philosophy expressed in the Vipp kitchen and other Danish designs,” says Lone.
In the dining room, vintage school chairs surround an oak dining table. The  industrial pendant lights are from Chris&#8
Above: In the dining room, vintage school chairs surround an oak dining table. The 1929 industrial pendant lights are from Chris’s Isokon workshop.
The fireplace in the dining area is original to the home, built in data-src=
Above: The fireplace in the dining area is original to the home, built in 1200.
Several of the pieces in the living room are from Isokon Plus, including the Barber & Osgerby Loop Coffee Table and a custom side table.
Above: Several of the pieces in the living room are from Isokon Plus, including the Barber & Osgerby Loop Coffee Table and a custom side table.
The tiled floor is original to the home. The sofa is from Swedese.
Above: The tiled floor is original to the home. The sofa is from Swedese.
A lamp from Knoll by Clay Mitcie sits on a cabinet from Isokon Plus.
Above: A lamp from Knoll by Clay Mitcie sits on a cabinet from Isokon Plus.
A painting by Kate Blee hangs behind Spanish Chairs by Børge Mogensen. Note the other piece of art in the room: a guitar made by Chris.
Above: A painting by Kate Blee hangs behind Spanish Chairs by Børge Mogensen. Note the other piece of art in the room: a guitar made by Chris.
A peek into a quiet corner, anchored by a French garden table, in the office.
Above: A peek into a quiet corner, anchored by a French garden table, in the office.
A peek from the landing into a bedroom.
Above: A peek from the landing into a bedroom.
In another bedroom, a John Lewis bed is dressed with Toast bedding.
Above: In another bedroom, a John Lewis bed is dressed with Toast bedding.
The bathtub is from Jacob Delafon in Paris; the plywood chair is by Barber & Osgerby for Isokon Plus.
Above: The bathtub is from Jacob Delafon in Paris; the plywood chair is by Barber & Osgerby for Isokon Plus.
The couple have side-by-side studios (his for guitar-crafting, hers for textile-making). Pictured is Lone&#8
Above: The couple have side-by-side studios (his for guitar-crafting, hers for textile-making). Pictured is Lone’s workshop.

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