The first thing that drew us into Heather Chontos’ instagram of her home and studio were the paintings on the walls…

Heather Chontos

Then we fell for stairwell railings made of branches and string…

Heather Chontos

…not to mention the lovely, fluid, unstructured style of the place…

Heather Chontos

Chontos’ home is full of ideas: a curtain pooling on the floor, a wicker lampshade painted black, a table’s surface washed with red…

Heather Chontos

…garden chairs artfully painted…

Heather Chontos

The kitchen separated by a three-sided “island” made of boards is simple and utilitarian, without fancy appliances, but with many appealing personal touches. We love the cupboard covered with images…

Luis Agostini

…and the drawings tacked onto cupboard doors in an entranceway….

Heather Chontos

Instagram photos of Chontos’ home and art sent us to her website, where we found Confinement, her story of fleeing Italy for her home in France just as the borders were approaching lockdown, and the work that arose out of the austere reality of Covid-mandated confinement.

Heather Chontos

Chontos and her boyfriend Luis left Italy with such short notice they had little time to pack. After a hair-raising journey, they arrived in France with few possessions, comforts or art materials. Chontos used her wits to improvise:

I had travelled all over the world and always was able to paint, but now, here I was in my own house and I could not secure any paints, paper or linen. I had packed a few of my oil sticks and some pigment, but that was it. So I went to our local antique store which is called “ali Baba”. It is a treasure trove of things that is spread out in an old house only 1 km away from us…

…I rummaged through all of their books and journals and old maps to find some paper that I would work with. I found some folded very over starched linen fabric and I took it all to see what I could do with it. I found some kids acrylics and gouache paints at the local supermarket and made some of my own colors, mixing the paints with some of the left over house paint that I had from the start of our renovations here……I was able to order some more paints after using the wifi in a supermarket parking lot.

Heather Chontos

The elements we love in Chontos’ house and atelier are the products of her and Luis’ resourcefulness under the severe constraints of Covid:

…I am able to paint in my atelier in my own house with whatever I have at my disposal…  

…I am grateful for every day that I have here with [Luis]… making this house more and more beautiful with every single thing we do. I love working in this way that forces me to re-invent and pay attention to my art in a new way.

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