A journey of human connection and synchronicity led to the creation of our Cevennes Cabinet, a piece that transcends geographic boundaries. As a young man, founder René Gregorius gave his heart to the mountains and forests of Cevennes, France, where on an autumn walk he came upon a hillside church. There, he was drawn to a tiny sacristy cabinet with a medieval imprint that had been placed near the altar. Rendered in oak, the cabinet's soothing chip carvings seemed to combine a trinity knot motif with a nod to the region's own oignon doux des Cevennes, or sweet onion.
In the 1980s, many years after he'd first seen the sacristy cabinet, René was part of a thriving antiques community on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles. Many of his afternoons were spent in the library of his best friend and neighbor, a German Jew who had escaped the concentration camps and found his way to the United States. Although this friend had lost a renowned antiques dealership in Munich, he was able to rescue some precious books and catalogs. Among those rescued treasures was a Dutch furniture archive, where René found a sacristy cabinet in the same style of the one in Cevennes. A native of the Netherlands, René felt destiny was playing a part in this discovery, and he soon built his own version of the cabinet, giving the petite original a new grandeur.
The enlarged cabinet had double-folding hinged doors and unique ornamentation carved by a Dutch friend who was a master woodworker. Built as a special cabinet for René himself, it remained exclusively his for 30 years.
René's heir, George Massar, now co-owner and creative director of Gregorius|Pineo, made a request of his dear friend to share his interpretation of the cabinet, which he affectionately called Cevennes. Introduced in 2011, and crafted with the same artisanal mastery of René's private collection, its story speaks to the power of timeless beauty and friendship over generations, cultures, and countries.