La Vieille Ferme by Rysia Suchecka: 2019 Best of Year Winner for Residential Restoration
It was a friend and fellow architect who introduced Interior Design Hall of Fame member and NBBJ consulting partner Rysia Suchecka to the province of Gers in the South of France. Smitten by the region’s ancient stone farmhouses, she and her environmental engineer husband, John Warburton, decided to purchase a farm there with Pyrenees views. Populating the acreage were a series of 17th-century limestone structures in various states of disrepair, having sat unoccupied for 50 years.
The couple restored the property, where they live part-time, over the course of two decades, starting with the maison de maître; phase two was to transform the pigeonnier, or pigeon-roosting tower, into Suchecka’s design studio. More recently, the pair rebirthed the old farmhouse as a venue for chamber music concerts and the cow barn as an art-teaching center and exhibition space.
All elements throughout the 8,700-square-foot interiors were designed by Suchecka and made within 10 miles of the property, and every subcontractor—from the mason who re-rendered the stone walls to the metalworker who fabricated the steel stairs and furnishings—was local. “Supporting the surrounding community,” Suchecka notes, “was a driving force.”