Dream Houses

The country house of a descendant of Balzac

Elise installed her living room in the former nave of the chapel.

Luisa Brimble

It bears a famous name and embodies the good taste of France in Australia. Elise Pioch Balzac welcomes us in her family house located in a rural setting near Sydney.

"Do you know this girl, a descendant of Balzac, who put everything down to live in a chapel in Australia?" The question runs from dinners to evenings. If, in France, only the initiates know it, among the Australians, it has a little notoriety: its funny house of family regularly illustrates the pages deco of the feminine magazines. The world of fashion and the press, Elise knows them by heart. A long time press secretary for the Hermès house in Paris, she ended up going to the other end of the world. "One summer evening, I sat on the floor and I closed my eyes, I could hear the water streaming, it reminded me of this small river near which I lived as a child. was the sound of the sewers, I understood how much I lacked nature, I did not belong to this city. "

Luisa Brimble

She flies to Melbourne. "I put my bags at the house of a friend of my brother, the only person I knew, and I immediately felt at home." The young woman is then 27 years old and goes on odd jobs before following her boyfriend of the time in Sydney. There, she landed a golden job: a fashion buyer, an exciting job for which she traveled a lot for five years, before creating her brand of candles. Maison Balzac, a skillfully inlaid name and her surname, because Elise is a worthy representative of Balzac's family. "In reality, Honoré de Balzac has never had a child, I am the descendant of one of his brothers." Of the life of the author of Eugenie Grandet it has only few details. "What I know of my relationship with him is thanks to a letter we found, which informed the death of Honoré in 1850 and asked the family to be known for the inheritance."

An hour and a half from Sydney, the road leading to Elise Pioch Balzac is endless. There is nothing else out of sight than this Australian vegetation, a lush mix of Western and exoticism. Finally, you can see the end of the roof of this old, immaculate wooden chapel dating from the nineteenth century, still surmounted by a cross. "It was an Anglican church," she explains later, "and I even have a sign with the name of Saint John Church." Elise greets us on the doorstep, her little girl, Loulou, now 2 years old, in her arms. Barefoot and fully dressed in black, it has an androgynous look and this undeniable French chic, comparable to that of Inès de la Fressange.

Besides, the resemblance is beyond doubt. "Welcome" she starts, all smiles; his accent is tinged with French sounds and a hint of sunshine, typical of southern France. "My family comes from Béziers, that's where I grew up." She is the ambassador of French good taste in the country of healthy food, where the look leggings-brassiere-sneakers-connected watch has become the official outfit. And what better than a member of the famed writer's family to embody France? "I grew up as Elise Pioch without this name having any influence on my life, but when my grandfather passed away, I wanted to make it resurface." In Australia, the name is not known, only a few people questioned me about my origins. "

Here, time seems to have stopped. In her garden, Elise stretches a sheet to languish. It smells like fresh grass. From the bottom of the property come noises of metal and jail. "My husband, Pablo Chapel, is an industrial designer, and right now, he's getting an old Jensen Interceptor back," she says. An English car brand - competing with the Aston Martin - that no longer exists.

In the afternoon, British tourists who have heard of his house knock on his door. In good housewife, she knows how to receive. "I could charge for visits!" she starts before starting the owner's turn. "This chapel was sold by the Anglican church to someone who had to leave it, nobody had been doing it for thirty years, I fell in love with it. works, the idea was to safeguard the traditional and religious spirit of the place, we even kept the original windows, besides, there are no radiators, we get heated by a wood fire. " His decor is a mix of chic and jug. In the Balzac-Chapel family, (it's not invented!) All objects have a story. "I found this paddle on the coral reef and I had the idea to recycle it into a doorknob, every time I put my hand on it, my memories go back." She has never tried to recreate a home-style "deco magazine", nothing is really calculated, not even this beautiful wooden canoe hanging over our heads. "We were looking for a boat, because there is a river close to the house, so we found this boat.After the acquisition of our motorboat, I did not want to part with it."

Bathed in light, the dining room is the centerpiece of the house.

Luisa Brimble

The kitchen is the brightest room with its large windows overlooking the garden, which illuminate this long raw wood table around which it agitates while preparing the meal. "I'm lucky, my neighbor is a retired starred chef who has an amazing kitchen garden and supplies me with organic fruit and vegetables." In the background, the bathroom is open to the kitchen, leaving little room for privacy. Elise does not care. Just like the superfluous, whose room is devoid. She sleeps on the mezzanine and her wardrobe has only the minimum. "I refuse quantity, clothing has to make sense, like my candles, I want them to survive for a very long time."

His rose candle, one of his best-seller.

Luisa Brimble

She begins by making her neophyte candles, before associating with a craftsman. In its range, it already has nine, sold online on its website (maisonbalzac.com) and in the largest concept stores around the world. "I try to recreate scents that remind me of emotions.The Rose reminds me of my grandmother, it was her favorite flower, she was drying the petals and kept them in a glass vase.I would like to diversify and propose linen or cosmetics ... "Moreover, she has just launched" cream of the cream ", a skincare with extracts of beeswax and calendula, aloe vera, d apricot and camellia oil.

For the rest, she remains elusive. "Ideas swarm in my head." One thing is certain, Elise has the sacred fire.

Maisonbalzac.com

Elise installed her living room in the former nave of the chapel.

Luisa Brimble

Deco: its three cult addresses in Sidney, New York and Paris

Koskela, Rosebery (Australia) "It's our thanks to us! Minimal, design, artistic and tribal, the shop showcases Aboriginal and Australian products by partnering with charitable organizations. deco class, popularizing the beautiful made in Australia! "
1/85 Dunning Avenue, NSW 2018,
www.koskela.com.au

John Derian, New York (United States) "His shop is a mix of antiques and modern pieces of rare elegance, my favorite object is a small pocket mirror, one side of which is illustrated by the close-up 'a human eye, it is part of John Derian's own collection and is, in my eyes, the perfect gift.'
6th Street, NY 10003,
www.johnderian.com

Mona Market, Paris (France) "Mona has a sense of innate style, which really matches what I love: natural materials, fairy details, comfort with a chic spirit, and her selection of children's fashion is fantastic."
4, rue Commines, Paris (3rd),
www.monamarket.com

The room of his daughter, Loulou.

Luisa Brimble

.

Luisa Brimble

Luisa Brimble

Elise has the art of receiving down to the smallest detail.

Luisa Brimble

Elise and her daughter, Loulou, in their house, an old Anglican chapel.

Luisa Brimble