water cleaning station loft Cote d'Azur

110826-Loft-Tondeur

Antique water pumping gear from the century-old water cleaning station became an unlikely focal point of the interior design. Belgian designer Bernadette Jacques used comfy, contemporary, and decidedly masculine furniture to soften the heavy-metal equipment and create a livable environment.

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110826-Loft-Tondeur

110826-Loft-Tondeur

Philippe Tondeur’s Cote d’Azur home features a custom kitchen built by ECHR, African wenge wood floors, Boffi bathrooms, 40 speakers installed in the walls (not to mention top-shelf Wilson Audio Alexandria speakers), and his collection of more than 100 hundred military jet pilot helmets.

110826-Loft-Tondeur

110826-Loft-Tondeur

110826-Loft-Tondeur

110826-Loft-Tondeur

110826-Loft-Tondeur

110826-Loft-Tondeur

110826-Loft-Tondeur

110927-CF3828-Ozone-Tondeur-CJ

Conversion | Water Works

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

All photos © 3mille.com

Philippe Tondeur loves New York City lofts, but a building suited to that urban style is not something you find very often on the Cote d’Azur. So when an abandoned century-old water cleaning station came up for auction, he decided to improvise. “The first time I saw it I realized this water factory was just perfect for my project,” Tondeur says. After buying the decrepit building, Tondeur, who used to fly military helicopters and now works as a private pilot, realized its meticulous transformation into a loft-like living space would take some time. “I had to accept that sometimes I was not really sure that I would finish it,” he says. “I had a feeling like I was painting a cargo ship with a little brush.” 

But he finished it. It just took 16 years.

Looking over the results, it was time (and money) well spent. For the interior design, Tondeur enlisted Belgian designer Bernadette Jacques. “I was personally responsible for the work but the design was completely done by Bernadette,” he says. “I told her what I was looking for but gave her the freedom to decide how to do it. She designed everything in this loft.” From the kitchen built by ECHR (the French company behind superstar chef Alain Ducasse’s kitchens) to the bulletproof windows, custom was the word. But the star, of course, is the antique water pumping equipment left over from the home’s past life.

“It’s true that if I have to compare the quality of this restoration with the few lofts that I have visited in New York, this one is amazing.” Tondeur says. “I have no talent—I just did it because I didn’t know that it was impossible, and once I started it was too late to stop!” 

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