before and after: la maisonette du coteau


i’ve been living in paris for just over three weeks now, and after lots of bureaucracy and running around in circles, all i have to say is i have the utmost respect and admiration for today’s before and after meets sneak peek from stephanie of stephmodo. last year (american) stephanie and her husband (along with three young children) got the idea to renovate a house in france. they absolutely fell in love with this 400 year old stone cottage in beynac-et-cazenac in the dordogne region of southern france. i mean who wouldn’t fall in love with this jaw droppingly gorgeous place (see it here!), especially made famous for serving as the backdrop for everafter and chocolat? stephanie has been chronicling all the adventures and heartache on her blog, and today we’re thrilled to be unveiling the finished “la maisonette du coteau.” i know i’m already planning my own getaway to stay in la maisonette! there are many more pictures and rooms here and stephanie will surely will be updating her site with many more to come. {thanks, stephanie!!} -anne

[above: Kitchen + Main Level: What you see in this “before” image is how the kitchen looked when the real estate agent took us to La Maisonnette.  We couldn’t believe it…no staging here folks!  Needless to say gutting the kitchen and starting from scratch was definitely in order.  First we knocked down the plaster walls cutting off the kitchen from the rest of the living space on the main level.  This turned out to be more of a project than initially planned on since many of the walls were made of reinforced concrete and rebar.  They don’t make ‘em like that in the US! ]

Wrapped around the large table (which is made of one plank of wood!) are three Tolix chairs (anyone who knows me knows I am a major fan of all things Tolix) and an antique pew from a local church in the area.  I loved mixing both old and new and felt these two looks complimented each other nicely.  We created a sitting area next to the Medieval sink and early 18th century buffet.  The beautiful stone work throughout this level is due to the extensive sandblasting my husband did over about 10 solid days.  He used a few tons of sand throughout the cottage as he restored all of the stone to it’s original condition.  The results are incredible as you can see from the images.  You can see some fun pictures from the sandblasting portion of the renovation here.


Master Suite (Attic):  This is my husband’s favorite part of La Maisonnette and while I truly love it all, this space is very tranquil and it does boast some incredible views.  When we bought the home there was excessive wood paneling throughout the attic.  The ceiling hung low, hiding that adorable top window from view) and felt very claustrophobic.  Thankfully we had a vision and knew it could actually be the perfect place for a master suite.  We added new plumbing and created a full bathroom [below], complete with a claw foot tub overlooking the village and the valley.  Because the master suite is on the third level and the beams and slanted walls do not allow for an armoire, we found an attractive portable rack for hanging clothing at Habitat [more images here].  On the opposite side of the suite is the sleeping area complete with a large, comfortable bed (somewhere between a Queen and King–beds measure differently in Europe), two nightstands + pillows from BHV in Paris, lights from But, and an antique etching that is about one hundred years old.  The little window overlooks another grove of trees and on some nights you can hear the local owls hooting to each other…it’s so magical to fall asleep in such a beautiful place.

CLICK HERE for the rest of the before & after images after the jump!

We gutted the entire kitchen down to its bare bones before calling in local professionals to redo all the electricity in the home and the plumbing.  We wanted everything up-to-date and the mantra, “do it once, do it right” became the focus of the renovation of La Maisonnette du Coteau.  Having a blank slate was a lot of fun and slowly creating what is now an amazing kitchen was very rewarding.


Since the cottage used to house the town’s oven, we created room in our budget for a high-end stove.  We liked the look of the La Canche better than the La Cornue so we opted for a mocha-colored stove with nickel hardware.  It is exquisite!  We also equipped the kitchen with a dishwasher, subzero freezer and refrigerator drawers–all considered luxuries in Europe.  After a day at the market it is a lot of fun to come home and utilize the kitchen to create a nice meal.





We added new plumbing and created a full bathroom, complete with a clawfoot tub overlooking the village and the valley.  This is a real highlight of the master suite and we can’t get over the killer views from the tub.

We added new plumbing and created a full bathroom, complete with a clawfoot tub overlooking the village and the valley.  This is a real highlight of the master suite and we can’t get over the killer views from the tub.


OH MY GOSH IT’ SJUST SO AMAZING!!!!!! WOW so beautiful I just love it!!!!! your hard work was worth it!!!


These give me so much joy! Old things being made new, is just fascinating to me! Fantastic joy guys!!


Great job on redesigning this beautiful house! Its keeping it simple with colour but it freshens and brightens the entire place, yet keeps that old cozy country home feeling . LOVE IT!!


WOW! Please excuse me while I pick my jaw up off of the floor. Your home in enchanting! The photos certainly reflect your mantra, “do it once, do it right”.

Mary K

Truly a beautiful home.

However, I would like to add a little perspective: Stephanie writes “We also equipped the kitchen with a dishwasher, subzero freezer and refrigerator drawers–all considered luxuries in Europe.”They are considered luxuries in the United States, too. Anyone who doesn’t realize that travels in rarified circles indeed.



the subzero and drawers, totally. but i’ll have to say- any time i go home to va people are SHOCKED that we don’t have a dishwasher. they think i’m like a college student or something and one day i’ll have a “real” home. ugh.


Lydia, Clueless Crafter

Everything in this reno is top notch! I often think how well I would do if given a similar challenge. My only wish would be more accent items such as pillows, throws that lend pops of color to the space.


Thank you all for the compliments…I appreciate them so much. It was such a difficult project and it is very rewarding to hear so many nice things.

I would like to add that I too think all of the extras in the kitchen are luxuries as well. I’ve never had them myself and only after our 8th move acquired a real dishwasher. I guess what I meant to say was that I was pretty excited about how nice we made the kitchen! We hope many-a-future-guest enjoys cooking there after a fun trip to the market ;)

I’ll be posting additional pictures on my own blog beginning tomorrow!


absolutely stunning…doing something like this is a dream of mine…someday!


I personally had two conditions when we moved 5 years ago– an extra bathroom (one for me, one for my sidekick), and a DISHWASHER. I spent SO MUCH TIME washing dishes before, it was ridiculous. Having NEITHER would have been ABSOLUTE deal breakers for any place we looked at. And my use of capital letters is just to emphasize how much dishwashers are a necessity for me! So much so I have TWO now. HAHAHAHA And they save more water than hand washing…


Really! That table… I had to keep flipping back and forth to keep telling myself that’s the same table! I would not have seen that beauty in it! Beautiful!


The loveliness of it all hurts my heart. I wish I could spend a few months there. Especially love the choice of seating around the kitchen table; looks great!


Stunning, both the renovation and the locale/views. I might need to book a trip to France…


I cannot believe that homes like this still exist, and are in use, today. It’s too beautiful, it’s like a dream. That street that the house is on? The outside of the house? All the vintage stuff inside? It’s all just too amazing for words.


it’s quite chic and cute.
But it doesn’t look French anymore. It’s fun to realize that, when it’s full of French stuff allover the place. :)


I’m heading off right now to illuminate my bathtub from within AND think about landlording abroad…


wow – i’m in love. congratulations on creating such a wonderful place!

Rebecca Mudrick

Steph!!! I’m so so so thrilled for you. The house is absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to see it myself with Dr. D. – hopefully this Spring. Yay!


And the applause just keeps on coming… Oh my goodness, Your place is amazing! I absolutely love it, makes me want to move to France right now! Nice work


Done with the best of taste. Changed, but keeping the good stuff. Hats off to you!!!!

nora harrison

stephanie, you have done such a gorgeous, spectacular job. your husband too. i’ve loved following your adventures via stephmodo, and can’t wait to take my husband to la maisonnette in a year or two… xo


wow, this is beautiful and makes me want to go back to France. i am going to make reservations soon! great job on the renovation, and thank you for putting it out there for us to appreciate!


Wow this home turned out gorgeous. Breathtaking without a doubt and so neat that you rennovated it so perfectly.