21 May 2009

Chateau Domingue

 

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Imagine you are going home after a quick bike ride to gather some fresh flowers – you stop to open the gates to the drive.  The gates aren’t just any ordinary gates though,  instead they came from someplace across the Atlantic – brought here just for you and your house.   Holding up the gates are posts made of gorgeous, ancient limestone, again not from this country – but from somewhere far way.  To light your way – you have placed antique lanterns – from France – on the gateposts.    Why would you use new lanterns when these work perfectly fine?   And adding just that little extra touch – two urns filled with stone, better than greenery that needs watering.    You pause to admire the view.   Coming home is a visual treat that fools your eye into thinking that you aren’t really where you are – instead you’ve been whisked to a olive grove in Provence, your summer house, perhaps.

 

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You push your bike inside the gates, the tires crunching against the gravel, but you don’t notice this – instead your ears are tickled by the sound of rushing water coming from the limestone fountain.   You stop and sit down and cool your hands in the bowl. 

 

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A Grecian boy catches your gaze, his head heavy with his filled bowl.  How many years has he carried it, you wonder.  

 

 

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There are sounds of laughter coming from the back – your children are splashing and frolicking about.    You tell them to come in and get ready for dinner.

 

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You turn, it’s time to go inside.  The scent of evergreens is heady in the air.  The lanterns are on now – it’s going to be dark soon.  You go through the portal – again – and think of all who once walked under this arch.  Were they as happy as you?   Were they as content?

 

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You walk inside, thankful for the cool stones against your feet.  It’s quiet  – the children are  now down the hall, their gleeful noise muffled by the heavy wood door. 

 

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You stop in the kitchen to fix the arrangement of flowers you’ve picked.   The pale, faded yellow of the bowls is the perfect foil for the lilac and green hues.  

 

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As you climb the stone steps to your bedroom, you stop and light the votives, getting ready for the night.

 

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You walk into your sitting room to gather your thoughts and sink down into the soft downy linen.   It’s peaceful in here – the thick stone walls and floor hold any outside noise at bay.  You dress for the night in the hush. 

 

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Before the evening meal, you all gather here and have wine and talk about the day – the things you saw, the thoughts you had.  You will both linger in here, longer than planned, enjoying your time together.

 

 

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The children all gather, perched on the stool, tummies hungry from swimming – you can’t put the meal off any longer.

 

 

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You quickly put dinner together, a simple meal of salad and cheese and bread.   You bring more wine for the two of you, and water for the children.

 

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The children gather the dishes, a simple collection of white ironstone, for the evening meal. 

 

 

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Everyone gathers in the dining room – in front of the stone fireplace.   You clear the pots off the table and wonder if it has cooled down enough to light a fire.

 

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You assemble all the chairs around – enough for everyone to sit together.   You ask about the fire – yes, light it, they say.

 

 

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And so you do.  And then you light another one too, in the drawing room – ever so slightly different from each other.   You bring the flowers to brighten the room.

 

 

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The children sit around and regale you with tales of their day.  And you smile.  You feel blessed

 

All images are from Chateau Domingue’s beautiful new web site, launched just this week.  Located in Houston, Chateau Dominque specializes in reclaimed building materials imported from France and other parts of Europe. 

 

Chateau Domingue was founded in 2002 by Ruth Gay, a beautiful, chic woman – whose slight appearance belies the strength of character and stamina it takes to successfully operate a business such as this.   The product is stone and wood, huge fireplaces and ancient doorways, floors, walls, fountains, and gates – Gay scouts out the back roads of Europe several times each year to find the unique and beautiful materials for her shop.   She started out in a large warehouse, hidden from the street.  Today, her space is over 15,000 sq. feet – not counting the outside grounds, filled with her treasures.  Besides the antique floors – stone, tile, marble, and wood – today Chateau Domingue carries a specially created line of aged materials which are virtually impossible to distinguish from the original.   Though the shop is located in Houston, Chateau Domingue has a national reputation – frequently shipping their products cross country.   The pictures shown here are just a small showing from the web site – which explain in detail all the products available.  The photographers responsible for the images are Kennon Evett, Tria Giovan, John Hall and Terry Vine.  And the interior designers whose work is shown are Eleanor Cummings, Shelley Melody and Pam Pierce.    

 

Below are more images from the Chateau Domingue  web site – enjoy!

 

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Chateau Domingue specializes in reclaimed building materials such as these stones used for the walls and flooring.   Besides original materials, Chateau Domingue produces their own line of aged products such as stone and wood for floors.

 

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An example of Chateau Domingue’s reclaimed terra cotta flooring.   The lantern is one of the antique lighting fixtures in the inventory.

 

 

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Limestone walls and limestone floors – what could be more beautiful?

 

 

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This is an example of Chateau Domingue’s ancient oak wood floor.  There is also ancient pine flooring available.  Some of the collection dates back to the 17th century!    Additionally, there is a line of aged French oak wood flooring in different stains and widths.

 

 

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They carry a wonderful collection of 19th century encaustic tile from Europe – once all the rage and today experiencing a revival.

 

 

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More aged tiles available in wonderful neutral colors. 

 

 

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And of course, antique white marble floor tiles are available.

 

 

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Here is an antique fountain found on the grounds of a Houston house.   The beauty of the reclaimed materials  ies in the simplicity of lines, the muted colors,  the imperfections that come with age and use.

 

 

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An outdoor staircase made of two different products – large stone treads and smaller stones.  Stunning.

 

 

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An example showing a variety of Chateau Domingue product used to produce a beautiful and unique kitchen. 

 

 

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A powder room using reclaimed tile, ancient stone for the walls and sink, antique doors and hardware – together it seems hard to believe this is a newer house in Houston, rather than a maison in Provence.

 

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A stone sink is the focal point of another powder room using Chateau Domingue materials.

 

 

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Another example of an antique stone vessel repurposed as a sink.   On the left is an antique door – an item carried at Chateau Domingue.

 

 

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A set of beautiful antique painted doors with aged hardware.   Besides building materials, Chateau Domingue carries a variety of hand-picked furniture, lighting, shutters, windows, gates, columns, and smalls.

 

 

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Items for the garden are plentiful.

 

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A pot sits atop a stone ledge – all materials from Chateau Domingue.

 

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An absolutely gorgeous antique lantern – shown against a stone ceiling with aged doors inset into the stone walls.   Beautiful!!!!!

 

 

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And, another example of antique lighting that Chateau Domingue carries.

 

 

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This much sought out type of large glass apothecary jar is especially hard to find. 

 

 

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A Houston house built with reclaimed items from Chateau  Domingue – the windows, shutters, stone walls, and floors.

 

 

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For more information on products shown here today, please visit Chateau Domingue’s recently launched web site here.  And to see beautiful images from their former web site, please see a very early Cote de Texas article here.  Revisit “The Provence House,” with many of its building materials sourced from Chateau Domingue here.