I’ve talked about the Landmark Trust in England a few times on Pigtown*Design. They take properties in the UK, renovate them and then rent them out. We stayed in a pair of knitter’s cottages one summer in the Cotswold hills. The Landmark Trust is working with Conservatoire du Littoral, the protectorate of the French coastline, to renovate and preserve a number of buildings along the coast, but they’re starting with an inland building, Le Moulin de la Tuilerie in Gif-sur-Yvette, the one time home to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, also known as The Mill.Just 35 km from Paris, this was the only house that the Duke and Duchess ever owned, and they lived there from 1952 until the late 1960’s. Most weekends, they would drive from their house in Paris to this little property where the Duke could potter about the garden and create his own little corner of England. In the book, Windsor Style, by Susie Menkes, an entire chapter is devoted to life at Le Moulin de la Tuilerie. In the book, she talks about Billy Baldwin’s visit to the house. He had this to say about the taste of his fellow Baltimorean: Most of the mill was awfully tacky but that's what Wallis had – tacky southern taste, much too overdone, much too elaborate and no real charm.The interiors were stripped by the Lebanese millionaire who last owned the property , but one of the few remaining pieces of the Windsor-era interior is a mural which the Duchess had painted. It’s a commentary on how she felt she was treated by the press – especially the UK press. Or, from Landmark’s description: The Duchess’s jeu d’esprit, created for her by decorator Stéphane Boudin, still presides from the wall of the large first floor living room – ‘I'm not the miller’s daughter, but I have been through the mill.’
Landmark has not attempted to recreate the Windsors’ bright and eclectic furnishings and décor, but has furnished the house with an echo of Englishness and with much to recall their happy times here.
For more information about this property, please click here.