#1 the tetris house
A BEAUTIFUL BABY
Welcome to Yves' home, a young, dynamic fifty-something.
Engineer, musician, meditation professor, calligrapher...Yves is a multi-talented individual!
Educated at the prestigious engineering university "Centrale", Yves owns his own engineering company, Sepia Conseil, specialised in the treatment and management of water.
Well-travelled and polyglot (French, English, Japanese, Spanish...), he lived in Japan for 2 years and speaks the language fluently.
And this passion for Japan, you can feel it as soon as you walk through the door. There is a very zen-like atmosphere, and a certain Feng Shui.
But this place wasn't always a temple of calm and serenity - Yves went through an emotional roller-coaster during the 2011 construction project, with some highs and definitely some lows.
As is often the case, the build was certainly an unpredictable minefield.
Neighbours' complaints, his couple in conflict, a builder who fled with a lot of money, Yves learnt a lot from the 8-month experience. Above all patience.
But in spite of the difficult labour, a beautiful baby was born.
A little haven of peace surrounded by greenery with lots of practical solutions dotted around the house.
Let's go inside!
A GAME OF TETRIS
From these photos of the build we can see to what extent Yves' place is truly the "Tetris House".
In the first photo, the space to build in where an old workshop was knocked down, we see a metal structure holding up the
neighbouring buildings, to avoid the worst! Yves' house is however built on an independent structure.
If the buildings on either side fall down, Yves' stays up!
In the 2nd photo we see the filled in gap at the end of the structural work.
In the last photo we see the corridor that had to be tunnelled through the next building
to be able to get from his front door to his lounge.
He won at Tetris! Let's see what it looks like today.
When you arrive at Yves' house (he lives with partner Maco) you walk through a long corridor (the one tunnelled through the neighbour's) and you come into a huge, bright open space. It's a multifunctional area because it's a dining room, a kitchen, a lounge, Maco's workshop (he's a fashion designer) and where Yves holds his meditation and team-building workshops.
At the far end you can see the outside area and visually it elongates the room.
Yves had the smart idea to use the same floor tiles both inside and out so when the doors are open you feel like you're in one big space with no barriers between the two areas.
Before coming into the lounge we come to a pretty staircase leading down to the cellar that Yves had dug out especially
It's a store room, a laundry...
A big fan of plants, "jungle corner" hangs over the staircase just under the skylights
GOOD ENERGY ONLY
To design and build his own house was an objective that Yves had had for a long time.
He hired a project manager for the build but designed the house himself using the software Sketch-up, his training as an engineer coming in handy no doubt.
The project only took 8 months, in spite of all the problems that he had to overcome. At completion, he swore he'd never do it again...but now he's changed his mind.
It really is like giving birth!
"At the end of the project I no longer wanted to live here, the energy wasn't right"
He brought in someone to "cleanse" the house of its bad vibes before moving in, something which is often done in the hills of LA, but I imagine rarely in Montreuil.
But as Yves is very sensitive to his surrounding energies, being involved in self-development and meditation, he believes that energies are extremely important in order to be at peace in your life and in your home.
Throughout the house there are made-to-measure installations and handy, practical tricks.
The central island is made from Corian, an exceptionally resistant material and the base is made from the same stone as the outside walls to create visual harmony.
The pretty staircases in wood and white metal were locally made by the company Boite de Fer and add a lot of character to the home.
The neutral, pale colours create space to breathe and create a calming atmosphere, it's true that when you come into their home you feel immediately chilled out.
The central island is made from Corian
"I wanted to create distinct spaces. Upstairs is very cosy and intimate, down here it's more zen and 'clean', the terrace gives the impression of more space. It's really lovely here, there's a warmth, even with the acoustics.
We feel hidden away here, isolated from the world"
Yves plays me some Chopin, majestically.
A painting from Judith Wolfe, "Marie", hangs in the downstairs space next to Maco's Alpacas! (Maco works with this wool to create his collections)
When you go up to the 1st floor you come into a cosier ambience.
A 2nd reception room leads onto a 2nd terrace but can also be used as a guest bedroom.
The rotating frosted-glass doors were made-to-measure and can be used to separate the space partially or completely.
On the other side of this floor there are 2 made-to-measure desks where Maco and Yves often work side by side.
Everywhere you look there are Japanese prints, musical instruments, objects from around the world -
a multi-cultural home.
A LITTLE ROOFTOP NEST
Going up another staircase you come to the 2nd and final floor where the master bedroom and bathroom are nestled under the roof.
As on every floor there's also a beautiful terrace.
The space is full of light and feels like a luxury hotel suite.
Yves had some fantastically practical drawers built over the stairwell which are open on the side for easy access. They're so deep you can get at least 4 rows of clothes in each one. I need some of those!
How wonderful to be able to wake up and have a cup of tea or coffee on the beautiful terrace or take a bath as you gaze up through the skylight to the stars...
Artwork by Pierre Cauchois
A Morrocan lamp
A smartly-thought out home which uses every one of its 110 square metres intelligently.
A multifunctional space in an oasis of tranquillity.
As well as being their home, Maco makes his clothes here, Yves hosts meditation and personal-growth seminars...
A place of creativity, a meeting ground, quite simply a place of well-being