Sometimes (to misquote Mies van de Rohe) less really is more.  It would be hard to improve on this simple combination of stone, wood and render.  The garden is equally restrained; gravel walks, yew cones, mown grass and neat box hedges.  Last summer the narrow borders were filled with a colourful mix of hardy annuals, bedding plants and vegetables adding an air of slightly eccentric informality within the simple lines.



This is the back entrance and garden of the sixteenth century Hôtel Donon in Paris’ Marais district.   A wet day brings out the colours of the stone and the arched porch offers shelter from the rain.  (Click on any photo to view the gallery).

Built in 1575 for Mederic de Donon, the building suffered the fate of many such hôtels particuliers in later centuries.  Converted to commercial use in the nineteenth century, it accumulated ramshackle extensions and outbuildings.  Restored from a dilapidated state in the 1980s, the building is now home to the eighteenth century art and artifacts collected by Ernest Cognacq, founder of the Samaritaine department store, and his wife Marie-Louise Jaÿ. The decorative items in the collections of Musée Cognacq-Jay are rather less restrained than the building that houses them.

This post is linked to Thursday Doors.  Follow the links to find a collection of ordinary and extraordinary doors around the world.