After spending more than a year looking for a suitable plot on which to build a contemporary house, a young couple without children finally opted for the renovation of a village house, inherited from a grandmother and uninhabited for several years in the village of Saint-Hilaire-du-Rosier, near Saint-Marcellin, Isère.
Located in the centre of the village, along the old highway connecting Grenoble to Valence, the three storey building has a quiet garden to the rear. The street front was composed of two smaller adjoining houses. The project was to create a space that would eliminate the earlier rather chaotic group of rooms and open it out generously to the rear in order to benefit from the sunset and the absence of noise from the street.
The back end was completely reconfigured: the extensions dating from the 1940’s were demolished to retrieve an alignment with the adjoining houses. Slightly proud of the adjoining houses, a new timber framed front with large windows gives the contemporary touch sought by the clients. The use of horizontal timber cladding is a discreet nod to the walnut and tobacco drying sheds typical of this area of south Isère.
Bordered on the right by the former pigsty and on the left with a new boundary wall, the large wooden deck that extends from the living room to the outside is well sheltered from the view of the neighbouring houses. Above the pigsty, which now serves as storage, is a second terrace accessible from the master bedroom, where one can enjoy the last rays of the sun.
The interior volume is organized around a large atrium flanked by a staircase whose cantilever steps are made of brushed steel that has been intentionally left rough.
On the ground floor the living space is completely open. The kitchen is open to the double-height volume and extends all the way along the front of the house. The central island houses the washing area and serves as a bar while the cooking area is extended by deeper storage cabinets incorporating the laundry area.
Upstairs a mezzanine overlooking the central atrium is the link to the sleeping area. The original parquet floor has been preserved here. The owners have deliberately opted for only one spacious bathroom which is directly accessible to the master bedroom from the dressing room and to the guest bedroom from the landing. As for the attic, this has been insulated and work will be continued on it at a later date.
The choice of paint and flooring contributes to the harmony of the whole and varies from a black satin finish in the guest toilet to chocolate and sand in the living spaces. Upstairs, the landing ceiling is ”powder pink”- as the owner says – and enhances the whole as a unifying ribbon.
The heating and insulation work was funded by a zero percent interest eco-loan. This involved the installation of double glazed 4:16:4 larch-wood windows, the insulation of all the outside walls and roofspace and underfloor heating on the ground floor powered by an air source heat pump.