Real Home: Perfect Provencale
A Perfect Family Home
This stunning Provençale house is set in extensive grounds — exactly the kind of property that has helped create the area’s reputation as a sun-kissed rural idyll that’s the perfect location for a holiday home.
The house itself, revealed at the end of the long and winding driveway, stands at the centre of a 12-hectare plot with a stunning south-facing pool to its left. A number of outbuildings to the right serve as guest rooms and the manicured lines of tended olive trees are located on the surrounding lawns. But the property is also deceptive in some aspects, with more surprises to offer than a low-key approach with a dramatic reveal.
“The house is entirely convincing as a 200-year-old building refurbished to modern standards,” says David Price of David Price Design. “But it was built in the 1990s by a local architect.”
David was commissioned by the property’s current owners to remodel the house through the creation of a new interior floor plan and structure, the re-planning of the external landscaping and the refurbishment and extension of a series of guest cottages. Not to forget the design and installation of a new pool and pool house.
“It’s a wonderful feature of this region that stonemasons and blacksmiths have continued in an unbroken chain for many centuries in terms of traditions and processes,” says David. “This continuity of expertise allows a house to be created in this way with every major element being of a certain age and quality, so the final result looks the same age as the materials themselves.”
A Major Extension to the Brief
For the new owner, the initial brief detailed filling in the existing swimming pool, which was too close to the home and carved out of rock. The project soon became much larger and went on to include reconfiguring the main house to create a large kitchen out of a series of smaller rooms. Upstairs, the new owners wanted a contemporary aesthetic in their bathrooms, so these were ripped out and now feature bespoke concrete baths cast on-site. Once the house had been remodelled, works were also carried out to a number of smaller guest houses in the grounds in order to serve as fully functioning guest quarters.
The new pool is made of concrete and finished in a special render to give it a blue–grey colouring. The pool surround is created from Perigord stone from the west of France, covering the margelle (pool edge) and the plage (the surround). The pool house is a three-sided building, created using local limestone. Its corners are made from monolithic stone pillars sourced from a local quarry in the area, with retained and highly defined chisel marks, very much a feature used locally. “It’s the kind of detail we spend a long time over,” says David. The new owners asked for the building to incorporate a shower room, toilet and kitchenette, but for the service areas to be at the back of the pool house with the front completely open with a three-sided banquette sofa created to fit the space inside.
Within the main house, all walls and ceilings were rendered and painted in a cooling white, and the enlarged kitchen was given a new flagstone floor to match existing flooring in the house. A TV room to the back of the ground floor has a new ceiling made in the traditional way, using reclaimed boards from boats from the river Rhône as beams that are separated by tiles. Bespoke furniture was also created, including a TV station, living room sofa, coffee tables and the main new kitchen island, which is reclaimed oak with a marble top.
Meeting the owners’ expectations, the home is now the epitome of a space that is equally traditional and modern.
Seek refuge from the sun in this outdoor area ideal for some time out
This shady spot is the perfect location for long lunches
High ceilings and plenty of light makes this bedroom appear large and spacious
Storage is easy to integrate in an unconventional way
Genius trick: The use of traditional materials and building techniques has created the illusion of a 200-year-old home
Written by Caroline Collett
Photography by Hervé Hôte
Originally from Home Design magazine, Volume 18 Issue 5