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The mill houses are houses of charm and character located mainly in Ile-de-France (Val-d'Oise, Yvelines, Val-de-Marne, Hauts de Seine...). They were built between 1880 and 1930 and derive their "millstone" name from the quarries from which this reddish stone was extracted. Main houses or secondary houses, millstone houses are now popular with Parisians.

The mill houses

The mill houses

The millstone

This siliceous rock was drawn from quarries and deposits located in the Paris basin. The millstone was used to make millstones until around 1880. The blocks of stone were then used for the construction of houses. This stone has a cavernous appearance: the surface has holes and cavities that give this material an insulating power.

There are two types of millstones:
1. millstone of Brie
2. millstone of Montmorency

What is a millstone house recognized for?

A millstone house is a grand stately home which is easily recognizable by its reddish-stone blocks which have a cavernous and rough appearance. The plaster is apparent and the turn of the doors and windows consists of bricks that enhance the color of the facade.

Houses built in the 30s have distinctive signs of Art Nouveau such as:

  • grouting joints
  • awnings and canopies to protect the doors
  • balconies and railings in wrought iron finely chiseled that is akin to a real work of artists for some bourgeois houses
  • ceramic and earthenware tiles with floral or geometric motifs

The typical interior of a millstone house

Mill houses are often made up successive pieces and small size. In the mansions, the entry is masterful with a beautiful mosaic floor and an internal staircase serving parts of the 1st floor. In the other rooms there is a classic oak parquet. The decorations are rich and represented by moldings, rosettes, a large mirror above the fireplace and beautiful volumes under ceiling. The kitchen is isolated from the other rooms because it was the room of service and work of the cooks and the servants.

The outdoor area is also an asset important charm. It has a walled garden behind the house with a veranda or conservatory, away from the prying eyes of the street.

The renovations of the millstones

Today, houses are modernized. The spaces are redistributed in a more contemporary and optimized way: remove the partitions and we open the rooms to look for natural light. The kitchen area opens to the outside with access to the veranda, or even a pool.

Patio doors are replaced by large bay windows to save space and the attic is refitted with insulating materials and roof windows. Industrial design blends harmoniously with the style of a millstone house.

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