January 16, 2020

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.”

> Read La Vieille Ferme’s feature from the Fall 2019 issue of Interior Design Homes

A former barn, one of three on the property, was converted into a salon used for entertaining and for hosting concerts. A Krzysztof Krzywoblodzki artwork sits on the fireplace mantle. Photography by Eric Laignel.
The custom dark-stained oak dining table in the grand salon spans 16 feet. Photography by Eric Laignel.
As in all the structures, the 30-inch-thick stone walls in the farmhouse corridor were restored and re-rendered using lime-based mortar (which expands more consistently with stone than does typical cement). Photography by Eric Laignel.
The exterior of the main house, which dates to the 17th century. Photography by Eric Laignel.

> See more from the December/January 2020 issue of Interior Design

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