I have found myself years ago at the gate of this estate looking in with a great curiosity. I loved it so much that I even asked for the owner but he was away. What was I doing in Gnojna? We were on a short road trip with my mother as I visited her in Warsaw. She loved “to explore” new paces especially those with a lot of land!
A few years later I have found an article about this very estate in Weranda and I immediately recognized the place! So my curiosity has been partially appeased: the estate belongs to Jacek Czeczot-Gawrak who restored it himself as besides being an art historian and a conservator he is interior designer and architect and building renovator. He started working in England as a conservator of paintings, including works by Rubens. Then there was cooperation with English Heritage – an influential government organization to care for the monuments belonging to the Crown – and finally finding his great passion: interior design and architecture which-he firmly believes- can reflect each man’s his own particular nature.
He admires the ideas Edwin Lutyens, who knew how to adapt classic architectural styles to modern needs and he tried to act in a similar way.”I do not know what it means ‘modern’, because nobody explained this to me” – he says. “Modern materials can be used, and the building has to be functional, in harmony with the environment which nests it”
When he first visited the property the buildings were in complete ruin: a sprawling mansion and the granary was just a pile of stones. But the place was so beautiful that Jacek could not resist it and bought the land.
He believes that “Stone lives as a man and as a man finally dies. As it crumbles it loses its properties. In addition, if used in one building it is very difficult to fit it in another design. This task is like gluing the broken glass” so when he rebuilt the granary it was with a new stone and the old brick was used only for the flooring. In addition, he did not use cement to combine the stones but a limestone mixture. “Lime is warm, dry and healthy, unlike cement. I appreciate the materials that nature provides directly” – he explains. “This way the house becomes an integral part of nature and never mind that birds borrow some of the lime mix to built their nests as once in a while I patch up the wholes”.
He calls his home “granary” to emphasize its former function. It’s a decent country home that fits into the environment!
His time is divided between Warsaw and Gnojna. But he works mostly in the countryside. – close to his voluminous library and spacious conditions for the design. “You can sit back, turn on Beethoven and work. – The walls of the house with one hand is massive, but so constructed that great in them, listens to music – admits Jacek.
I have partially based my text on the original text by Stanislaw Gieżyński published in Weranda.
Styling: Leszek Birch/Photos: Cuba Pajewski