Every now and then I come across a home that hits like a jolt. So it was encountering the 18th-century Brittany farmhouse of Atelier Vime founders Benoit Rauzy and Anthony Watson. Airy and relaxed, the pair's renovated country home seems to me a vision of perfect retreat. With thick stucco walls, exposed lintels and deeply worn hardwood floors, the home's substantial bones make a perfect setting for the rustic whimsy Atelier Vime has come to be known for. Tying together centuries-old architecture with Modernist and contemporary pieces, the pair have created a look that's grounded in history, yet forward-looking.
Perhaps this stems from the duo's deep love for the ancient craft and art of wickerware. Their creations are celebrated for adopting traditional processes while transforming and expanding upon wickerware's classical design rhetoric. Atelier Vime is, after all, a play on the Latin vimen, a noun which means both slender woody shoot and basket, and examples of their passion can be seen all throughout the home. From wicker lampshades to wicker curtain cornice boxes, the pair's appreciation for this versatile and ecological material has led to a number of unlikely applications. Treating wicker as one would a fabric, for example, or a bit of wire, the pair finds seemingly never-ending ways of imagining wicker afresh. I believe it is this spirit of the fanciful that gives their visions such appeal--like true artists, they both honor their craft and reinvent its foundations, expertly weaving together past with present.
One thing that particularly struck me was the home's devotion to natural light. The abundant deep-set French windows invite nature's beauty in, flooding each room with a breezy sense of spaciousness and warmth. Perhaps an extension of the pair's appreciation for the natural world, the way each room is energetically anchored around its window seems a constant reminder of the scenic beauty all around. I love the way the old wood beams have been painted white, heightening the ceiling and giving it a greater feeling of levity, while the French windows are accentuated with a pop of cheery blue.
Embracing items with a raw or natural patina, the pair infuses their home with a charming singularity. Each item feels personal, lived-with, and cherished. The selection is at once spare and eclectic; Rauzy and Watson curate and design with an admirable lightness of touch. One might even call them today's masters of sprezzatura; their flair for color and sense of utility allows them to create environments defined by a feeling of unstudied rustic ease. Deeply informed by their Provençal roots, the pair draws on the creative wellspring of inspiration the region has to offer, beyond just its legacy of exceptional wickerwork. From Vallauris ceramics to paintings by Breton artists Max Jacob and Michel Jamar, the pair effortlessly blend styles and periods by sticking with a regional focus. Indeed, in achieving that layered, lived-in mix, it might be a strategy worth considering...
Photo: Joanna Maclennan for The World of Interiors