As soon as Michel finished restoring the building and grounds of Le Domaine d’Hugo to its former grandeur, Véronique set to work on the decor, mixing classically lined modern furniture with antiques and linen textiles. Inspired by the old-world charm of the kitchen, she patinated the cupboards and cabinets with a soft green paint and decorated the room with bouquets of dried flowers and tresses of garlic, onions, bay, and other aromatic herbs — hung from the beams and batterie de cuisine, aka kitchen utensils. Above the cupboard next to the fireplace, she displayed dozens of photographs of Hugo as a baby as well as the Hermels’ friends and family, all framed in antique wood, ivory, and porcelain.
The salon’s dining area boasts high woven chairs surrounding a
stunningly beautiful enameled iron dining table with a whitewashed wood lath top. In the room’s sitting area, Véronique chose light, soothing colors — pastel and ecru. “I didn’t want any harsh, bright colors in this room, which is where we love to curl up on the big sofas and relax,” she says.
On the room’s chests and traveling trunks, Véronique continually changes the decor, placing fresh flowers, potted plants, collections, and other items according to mood, season, and light. She brightened the far wall with a touch of eternal spring: a collection of dried flowers, framed in perfect symmetry. “These dried flowers, often from Italy or Provence, offer a range of delicate colors, with their faded yellow-ocher flowers and pale green stalks,” she says.
Véronique created a fragile, surreal feel in the master bedroom with muslin bed hangings that drape romantically from the tall ceiling and sweep delicately across the pale wood floor. She covered the satin-quilted bed with madras cushions over crisp linen sheets that are ideal for rest and relaxation.
In their work as interior designers, the Hermels combine modern comfort with a deep regard for the authenticity and beauty of the past. Le Domaine d’Hugo bears testament to their ample creative skills and passion for renovation. Michel believes there will always be a need for people who are devoted to returning historic buildings to their former splendor. “There is nothing more satisfying,” he says.