Visit David Jimenez’s mansion apartment in France


“From the start, I was swept away by this romantic apartment in the countryside,” recalls interior designer David Jiménez. “When I first walked up the driveway to the mansion, with its towers and harmony of classical design, I fell in love with France all over again.”

After moving to Paris six years ago, the New York native began looking for a stylish country home for weekend getaways. The criterion: a residence several generations old with beautiful architecture less than an hour from the city. Beautiful private grounds with fields and forests for long walks accompanied by birdsong were also a must. He searched for two years and triumphed when he found the retreat of his dreams – a sprawling eight-room private apartment in a centuries-old mansion on the grounds of a spectacular 16th-century castle. This glamorous hideaway is located near the charming village of Saintines, an hour north of Paris by train and 30 minutes from Chantilly. The house is surrounded by ancient oak trees, fragrant pines and open fields. Sparrows and larks greet the dawn. There is a certain calm here. The region is surrounded by the medieval forest of Compiègne, where the king and his court hunted and where pilgrims traveled from Paris to the sacred springs of Saintines. The past is indeed inherent, whispering along the river that meanders through the property and in Jimenez’s vision for the bedrooms. “In designing the apartment, I was inspired by classic French decorators,” he says. “I watched Henri Samuel’s work and how he entertained. I studied his floor plans, how he made rooms versatile and stylish. It was my goal. »

Xavier Bejot

The second-floor space features graceful symmetry and parquet floors. One room elegantly leads to the next in a logical and graceful enfilade, a flow that Jimenez emphasized by painting the apartment a warm off-white (egg shell). Once the painting was finished, he moved in and soon began exploring the bustling local art and culinary worlds, discovering excellent antique shops, art galleries and farmers markets. “My intention from the start was to create spaces that feel comfortable but also feel connected to the beauty of France, these villages, to the French joie de vivre.”

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And the countryside is ripe for it. On Saturdays, he sped down secluded roads on his scooter to find art and antique dealers. He found them in the neighboring villages of Verberie and Pierrefonds, in shops “that made my heart beat, where there was not a direction where I could look where there was not something that touched me”, he remembers. In came bronze chandeliers and beveled mirrors spotted in an estate-sale antique shop and a draper’s table and set of cobalt blue leather chairs from a corner shop that sits at the foot of Chateau de Pierrefonds. “The store owners could see my curiosity and they appreciated that, and many of those conversations turned into strong friendships.” The camaraderie of the area also led Jimenez to build relationships with local artisans. A wise antique dealer recommended me an upholsterer; a couture-level curtain maker suggested the best electrician; his tech expert knew an artist who made exquisite gilding.

Step into this French mansion apartment

david jimenez french mansion tower console

The apartment reflects a similar cosiness, especially in the living room, where Jimenez placed a ticking-covered récamier in the center in front of the fire. “I could have easily made two chairs, but the back would be to the fireplace – I love using daybeds as they invite conversation without blocking anything,” says the designer, who dotted the room with stools as seating. extra cocktail. “The pair of Louis XVI style chairs near the tapestry have a strong presence. They can be integrated into any chat group.

From the tall living room windows, Jimenez can gaze out over apple orchards and fern-filled forest glades. He hears the distant sounds of horses in the castle grounds and a beautiful symphony of birds. “He is so well placed in nature,” says Jimenez. “There is a sense of calm, joy and well-being that comes from being here in the country.”

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Find more of Jimenez’s projects in his new book, Parisian by design (Rizzoli, 2022) by Diane Dorrans Saeks.

Featured in our September/October 2022 issue. Interior design by David Jimenez; Photograph by Xavier Béjot; Adapted from the text by Diane Dorrans Saeks.


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