How to Transform a French Château with Oriental Rugs: 28 Photos

AD100 interior designer Timothy Corrigan bought a neoclassical Loire Valley château from the French government in 2005 and after years of painstaking effort has transformed it into a home that is not only stylishly aristocratic but also surprisingly warm and livable. “It would have been very easy to design the room in true 18th-century style, with little spindly gold chairs and not a lot of places to sit,” Corrigan told Architectural Digest. Instead Corrigan used oriental rugs and comfortable furniture to create intimate spaces throughout the château. Corrigans rooms show us how to create warm and livable environments in any size home regardless of its style or setting.

 Timothy Corrigan, Loire Valley château, Château du Grand-Lucé

The Louis XV style Château du Grand-Lucé was completed in 1764 and has hosted such Enlightenment luminaries as Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot and Goethe.

 Timothy Corrigan, Loire Valley château, Château du Grand-Lucé

Timothy Corrigan bought the Château du Grand-Lucé in 2005 from the French government.

Corrigan recently completed a $10 million restoration that has brought American comfort to a grand French château. 

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The grand salon with 22-foot ceilings, limestone floors, carved boiserie and fluted pilasters has magnificent garden views.

Corrigan chose a navy and red oriental rug to bring a feeling of warmth and intimacy to the two seating areas.

“Almost all of the château was originally painted in what we now consider Trianon gray, a light dove-gray,” Corrigan told Architectural Digest. “But I wanted it to be light and bright.”

But before Corrigan could use the sunny yellows and greens in the grand salon, he had to apply for permission from the French historical authorities for which he enlisted the help of Paris’s Museum Carnavalet to make his case before the government.

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Corrigan chose comfortable cream upholstery and added warmth with a navy and red oriental rug and jewel toned tapestry pillows. “When you’re in that room, it’s really about hanging out with friends,” Corrigan told AD, “It’s not one of those living rooms everyone looks at but doesn’t go into.”

 Timothy Corrigan, Loire Valley château, Château du Grand-Lucé

The Chateau has 26 acres of formal gardens.

“The French government told me that each tree needed to be inventoried on the property,” Corrigan said to Architectural Digest. “To this day, there’s a metal tag that counts every one on the property.” Moreover, before a new tree could be planted it had to be approved to make sure it was of a type that would have been found in the region in the 1760s.

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A mirror behind the sofa expands the feeling of space while a Claude Monet painting on the side table connects us with the château’s gardens.   

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Corrigan created a feeling of intimacy in the grand salon by designing separate sitting areas and connecting them with one large oriental rug.

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A navy and red oriental rug defines the entry and creates contrast with the green walls.

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The Salon de Chinois is one of only three surviving rooms by Jean-Baptiste Pillement, one of Marie Antoinette’s official painters. The walls depict an 18th century European’s fantasy view of life in China.

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 The Chinoiserie wall painting in the Salon de Chinois inspired the red and blue color palette of the upholstery and oriental rug. “We used materials, fabrics, and finishes that allow you to live comfortably in the space,” Corrigan told AD. “If you can’t, it’s not successful.”

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In the main dining room, rosy-terra-cotta wall paneling and drapery and a 19th-century English dining table are anchored by a navy oriental rug.

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In a smaller, more intimate dining room, a blue antique Chinese oriental rug brings out the beauty of the sunny yellow walls.

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Corrigan transformed a boudoir into a handsome modern kitchen with a parquet de Versailles floor.

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A red oriental rug and orange accents bring out the beauty of green wall paneling in the Green library.

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A red oriental rug anchors a cozy seating area in the Green library. Red and yellow leather-bound volumes create pop against the green of the bookcases.

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In the master bedroom a red and blue oriental rug brings out the sunny yellows of the walls and resonates with the Italian Renaissance style painted headboard and 18th-century capriccio painting by Giovanni Paolo Panini.

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A Louis XV armchair with original needlepoint upholstery is anchored by an oriental rug that defines the sitting area of the master bedroom.

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Corrigan used two different oriental rugs to define the sitting and sleeping areas of the master bedroom. Tall windows open into the château’s main gardens.

 Timothy Corrigan, Loire Valley château, Château du Grand-Lucé

A teak bench offers rest amidst climbing roses and pear trees set among winding gravel paths surrounded by hedges.

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Another view of the master bedroom sitting area.

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A neoclassical mirror expands the feeling of space in the master bedroom.

Corrigan gave each of the château’s fourteen guest rooms a distinct personality so they feel more like a home.

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The Chambre de Lucé is a guest room with magnificent second floor garden views. The rooms’s blue and white color scheme is inspired by a 19th-century Portuguese needlepoint rug.

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The needlepoint rug brings energy and movement to the Chambre de Lucé while a Swedish Biedermeier fall-front desk adds warm wood tones that balance the cool blues.

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White linens and a white upholstered chair add crisp contrast to the blues in the Chambre de Lucé.

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The adjoining bath continues the blue and white color scheme of the Chambre de Lucé.

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A guest room with a green canopy bed and green floral wallpaper is warmed by a 19th-century Aubusson rug.

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Another blue and white bedroom has a distinctly bold personality.

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Sunny yellow walls and blue and red oriental rugs add warmth and energy to a hallway.

 

Images courtesy of Architectural Digest and Timothy Corrigan.

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