Jean-Eric Gnuva has traveled as much as a worn passport. For years, the French businessman has traveled the world in his role as an upscale residential real estate developer, learning about Paris, Monaco, New York, and more. So when he decided to renovate his seaside home in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France, Gnuva’s first request for the interior designer struck him as appropriate: “He wanted the space is luxurious, almost as if it were an ultra high end hotel. », Explains Jean-Charles Tomas, founder of his eponymous design company and designer asked to lead the project.
“Jean-Eric had lived in the house for over a decade and decided it was time for a change,” says Tomas. After spotting the designer’s talent in various magazines, the owner reached out to Instagram. And yet, being the savvy businessman that he was, Gnuva decided to start small. “Initially, the task was simply to renovate the kitchen,” explains Tomas. Nonetheless, Gnuva was impressed with the work, so much so that he wanted more. “Once the kitchen was finished,” continues Tomas, “he asked me to redesign the rest of his interiors.
The renovation, which was completed last March, took two years and was made all the more complicated by the fact that the owner remained in the house throughout the process due to a global pandemic. “It was interesting because COVID-19 made everyone rethink their relationship with their own home,” says Tomas. “Jean-Eric had just renovated his [house] during this moment of reflection.
Like so many others, Gnuva has felt the constraints of working from home. And he didn’t like limitations. “The pandemic prompted us to remove one of the guest rooms and turn it into a home office,” says Tomas. “No one knows how we will live once the pandemic is over, but Jean-Eric wanted to make sure he was well settled to continue working from home.”
The renovations were difficult for a multitude of reasons, but one of the main reasons was that the structural elements of the house could not be touched. Some might see this as an obstacle, but Tomas is not one of them. “In the master bedroom, there was a structural column which, if left untouched, made everything in the room asymmetrical,” says Tomas. The new design took this visual interruption and exploited it to a new advantage. “We put in a false column, which created three little nooks and crannies. It really opened up the space and made it more functional with a bespoke desk, a small wardrobe and a sitting area for reading.