Not far from Lake Ladoga, on the bank of the river Chernaya Rechka (Black River), there was an estate of impressive size, with a farm, a garden and kitchen gardens. The client, who had fallen in love with this untouched place and is very fond of the traditional rural life-style, asked the architect to build a house in a style with light touches of the Provencal rural spirit.

The gentle flowing of the river seen through the picture window in the drawing room gives a feeling of peace and calm.
The apparently undemanding simplicity of the rural life style cannot be stylised in a mechanical way. The personal, family context calls up fond images from the memory; coloured with episodes reflected upon and brought to mind many times. The picturesque rustic style, giving the wooden surfaces a certain degree of ruggedness, arouses pleasant associations, full of romanticism.

The stucco facades of the house have borrowed elements typical of southern Europe. The corbels are made of glue-bonded mahogany.
The low ceilings suggest the influence of a French village. The rural setting has a nostalgic attraction, enchanting in its naivety.

Black River House. Saint-Petersburg. 2008

The ceramic switches go well with the mellow surfaces of the wooden panels. The oak banisters, bookcases and walls, which have taken on a light colouring, create an airy atmosphere in the drawing room. The wooden features, echoing the Normandy style, are covered with a slight patina and inspire sentimental feelings with their ingenuous appearance.

The staircase, a strong artistic feature of the house, is by far the most striking among the images of the rural past. The play of delicate Gothic trefoils, cut through the hard oak in regular lines, begins and ends with massive art nouveau forms.
The stained glass windows lighting the staircase let rays of sunlight through, bringing fairy tale images in Bilibin’s “Russian Modern” style to life.

For many years it was the owner’s dream to have a big library. Working out his own taste empirically from many options, the client finally approved most ponderous project, without any doubt about the genre and without fear of going too far.