I found this loft on Notre Loft – where there is an interview with the owners (originally in French) – here follows the translation:
Where is your loft?
The Monastery is located 15 km north of Paris , four in the Val d’Oise. The place is nested in the valley of Montmorency, near the forest of the same name, 5 km from Enghien-les-Bains is famous for its spas and its Lake Casino. Groslay is a small town of 8,000 inhabitants.
What was the previous function of the place?
Our loft is part of the ancient castle of Groslay, which was mentioned for the first time in 1650 as the property of Philippe Gervais, alderman of Paris. The property passed from hand to hand following numerous sales and inheritances. In 1779, Claude de Beauharnais, Count acquires Roches. His nephew, Alexander, first husband of Josephine Tascher La Pagerie inherits it. Josephine significantly revised and expanded the originally modest country house and creates a music room and danceÂ on the west side of the house.
In 1933, the Sisters Servants of Mary inherit the place and turn it into a clinic well-known in the region and decided to use the old dance hall as a convent.Â We now live in this part of the castle – the old music hall and convent.
Living in a loft was a dream for you or have you given in tothe spell of the place?
There is absolutely no chance in the discovery of this place, it is not our first loft, as we love unusual places.
We are travelling constantly to such places as old garages ceasing their activities, old buildings sold for demolition … In fact, it is a passion that dwells within us!
How and when did you find your loft?
In June 2009, it has been six years since we live in our old factory space, having completed the work of restoration and interior design, we were “bored”.Â Thus we started to look for a new place that we could throw our heart in and to which we can restore.
After several months looking at the various sites specializing in lofts, we found a strange place rather poorly put forward with a vague description, so we decided to go there for a visit.Â During the visit we immediately fell in love with this place rich in history, perfectly located with a privileged environment.
In what state was your loft when buying?
The place was under construction for quite some time when we had visited. Plumbing and electricity was already finished.Â During our many visits before signing the contract at the notary, we experienced the anguish of flood, wet spots and so on.
Nevertheless we stayed the course, imagining what we could do instead. We took down old walls, restored the entire roof (we did rely on architects since it is a protected place), installed a kitchen that did not exist previously, breaking all the bitumen to create a garden of 100 sq.m.
I then started planning, did sketches and moodboards to show to my friends and give a working basis to craftsmen.
How you did you took to do the work?
With zero level of DIY, it was easy for me! So we took the time to look good craftsmen to do the full renovations.Â Recommended by friends we quickly found a roofer, for outdoor works and walls we knew a very good craftsman with whom we have already worked in the past.
Regarding the kitchen, a native and lover of northern France, we went to an exhibition that was held in Lille, where we found our future kitchen.
And of course, we received help from friends and family during the weekends.
How long did the work take?
The work took about a year non stop, we had to live permanently with the scaffolding and Â the dust. But it was worth it because I had seen the prospects of transformation that this place offered from the beginning.
What is the area and the ceiling height of the loft?
Today the convent offers 230 sqm of living space with a garden of 100 sqm and a courtyard of 40 sqm. The site is located in a small building of 8 houses (7 apartments in the old chapel) + our convent.
We have 1 hectare in the old castle park all within a gated and secure area.
The ceilings are around 6 meters high: we have chosen to retain as much as possible stucco have them live with the metal and contemporary furniture.Â The Convent has 3 bedrooms a, bathroom of 30 mÂ², shower room of 15 sqm, a living room opens onto the mezzanine, 3 toilets and main hall of 130 mÂ².
The whole place is heated by two wood pellet stoves, which is our only means of heating! In fact we had to find the most economicalÂ heating system given the volumes.
What spirit do you want your loft in the landscaping?
Part of my job, – I work in the advertising business – is to look for patterns and trends.
This motivates us the most, in our approach “give new life to ruin,” is to leave traces the history of the place, which characterizes the place but also the subtlety of times by juxtaposing contemporaryÂ elements.
The goal is to enhance each space by playing with the architecture: the dark side of a corridor is accented by a gray wall but embellished with a large mirror with silver trim to enhance the perspective, or give even more headroom and highlight the moldings with high walls painted a strong color.
What does living in a loft for you?
This choice was made in the beginning: when I was 20 I bought my first apartment, a duplex with a living room with cathedral ceiling 5 meters high.
This feeling of space, freedom of movement draws us above all. Living in a place rich in history, knowing that Napoleon’s wife Josephine lived there, all this is that a standard house does not suit us!Â This has nothing to do with snobbery, it’s really a way of living, thinking.
Because of our relationship, we don’t Â go into the “standards”, this type of property allows us to let our imagination fly and create a vibrant place that we like, but attaching different!
Nicolas & Mick offer their loft rented for filming and photography. Below you can find an example of shooting done for ICD Concrete.
And to learn more about The Convent, visit lecouvent-loft.sitew.com
via Notre Loft