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Swiss Avenue & Chateau de Gudanes: an Experience in Restoration

Do not be fooled by the names on the title - one cannot own history.

No. One can merely be its “keeper”; an apt turn of phrase that can be credited to Virginia Van Zanten in her Vogue article accounting the renovation of the Chateau de Gudanes, located in the southern French village of Chateau-Verdun.

Constructed in 1745 on the site of a 13th century fortress, it had fallen into grave disrepair over the course of the 40 or so years leading up to the renovation in mention; this once pristine estate, now classified as Class 1 Historical Monumental ruins.  Large portions of the building were condemned, commanding sections of the floor, ceiling, and walls had collapsed, and most rooms had grown stale from water damage.

But amidst this rubble and debris was history.  History that needed to be preserved.

Every scratch, every blemish, every imperfection, was a sort of fingerprint.  A testament to the countless generations that called it home.  To the declaration of war and treaty. To the rise and fall of class and kingdom.  Yes, the condition of its estate was less than ideal.  But its walls, however disheveled, had managed to outlast even Napoleon himself.   

Not only that, they had evolved - their 13th century battlements, willingly dismantled to create a more hospitable environment; one exemplified by the host of children’s holiday camps throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

It was this respect for history and culture that resonated with us at Maestri Studios - that drew us to France to assist in its renovation; to collaborate with a dynamic array of like minds, bringing with them varying perspectives from across the globe.

Most importantly, it allowed us to learn. To grow. To bring the gains of such dynamic perspective into context of your community.

You don't need to travel to a remote French village to appreciate the intimate remnants of past cultures that have long since retired - simply walk down the road and take in the aesthetics of this featured Swiss Avenue school house.

Inspired by their work on the Chateau de Gudanes, our vision for St. Joseph’s Academy - established in 1905 as a hub for the local German speaking community - strikes the perfect balance of scholarly and quaint; a modest memorial to the past, accented by an inviting warmth, devoid of the pretense often associated with all things “French”.  

Note the tenured yet animate quality of its wood floors, original entryways, and patterned archway ceiling - a glimpse of the past, enhanced by the artisan contour of our polished, modern touch; one that echoes with the footsteps of those that graced its halls as students, left as graduates, and ventured out into the world to make their mark.

Your home deserves the same sort of care - that personable, yet modern touch, exclusive to Maestri Studios.  One that catches the eye, maintaining the warmth that makes a house into not just a home, but an estate of the exceptional.