“It was one of my dreams,” says Blandine Minot as she slowly folds her legs into a pretzel. “The drawings that I did when I was seven or eight years old were full of tree houses.” A modern dancer, Blandine has taken a seat on a tatami mat in the mezzanine that presides over her new home. From this perch, with a close-up view of a plum tree outside the house’s large windows, she seems to have gotten her wish.
In fact, a forest metaphor is a great way to describe the home. On a bustling street in the Parisian suburb Fontenay-sous-Bois, the 1,428-square-foot structure sits on an infill lot behind a masonry wall that once enclosed a farmhouse. It obscures the home’s ground floor, where private spaces—three bedrooms and a bath—are concealed like the understory in the woods. Upstairs, the voluminous second floor contains the home’s more public spaces under a broad gable roof that soars like a tree canopy, with the mezzanine tucked like a bird’s nest under a corner of the roofline.
Jean-Baptiste Barache and Sihem Lamine of architecture firm Arba came up with the design based on the idea of dedans et dehors, a hybrid of indoor and outdoor space that crops up in much of their Paris studio’s work.
Blandine and her partner, Olivier Stora, the director of a dance company, bought the land in 2018, and construction ended in the summer of 2020. The ongoing pandemic has made the connection to the outdoors even more important for the couple and their two children, Elie, now age 14, and Nathan, 8.
See the full story on Dwell.com