Maison Gerard Transforms a Brooklyn Townhouse with Mid-Century Furniture from France
Design dealer Benoist Drut animates the multi-level home with choice pieces by Guillerme et Chambron
Leave it to Benoist Drut of Maison Gerard to know that French mid-century furniture was exactly what a Brooklyn townhouse needed to come alive. The expert design dealer collaborated with real estate developers the Brooklyn Home Company to transform a newly built Carroll Gardens multi-level home into a dazzling showcase for works by the French design duo Guillerme et Chambron, whose company Votre Maison produced unique wooden pieces out of a former gun factory after World War II. They were connected for the project through Guillaume Coutheillas of real estate branding firm FrenchCalifornia.
Originally designed for families to live with in a comfortable and easy way, the pieces were part of the collections of two different French apartments. “To show it in one house allows us the ability to convey the feeling of what it could have been at the time even if we took liberty,” explains Drut of the collection he’s assembled. “It’s not fragile, but it’s still very refined.”
The unique and surprising elements of the cabinets and tables include secret drawers, whimsically painted tiles, and transforming parts that capture the imagination. But Drut, who started collecting Guillerme et Chambron about five years ago, wasn’t always such a fan. “At first, I didn’t understand their work, it was not interesting to me, but more recently discovering the nest of tables made me change my mind. I like the way the smaller fits into it bigger one and how you can carry them all together. Then, I discovered the dining table that you open from the top, and it sunk in how inventive they were.”
This property, which features four bedrooms and six-and-a-half bathrooms, gets much of its character from wood details such as custom fireplaces, banisters, and a statement pillar on the main floor, which coincidentally resembles some of the inspiring Votre Maison exhibition pieces. Bill Caleo, founder of the Brooklyn Home Company says, “The majority of the unique woodwork created in all of the homes by the Brooklyn Home Company is by our artist-in-residence and sculptor Fitzhugh Karol. We have incorporated his special touch in all of our projects since 2007.”
The pieces create a harmonious and warm feel on every level of the Brooklyn house, and the connection with the appreciation of wood as an artisanal craft really connects. Drut describes the furniture as “Playful, comfortable, and easy to live with. It’s chic without being ostentatious.” But he may as well be speaking for the entire Brooklyn house as well.
The house is open to visit by appointment through January 21.