This really is very beautiful. The year long refurbishment of a farmhouse in Vaison-la-Romaine by the talented Meilin Bristiel has created a building that is distinctly French, and of its time, yet also modern, comfortable and fully functioning. It may be easier to talk about what she left alone. And, in case you are wondering, that would be the peripheral walls except for the window and door openings. Just about everything else is new.
The former tractors and machinery garage, hay loft and cement wine casks have become a spectacular living/dining room area, which is now connected to the house by two openings in what once used to be a peripheral wall, it still has it’s oblique “foot inside of the living/dining area.
The dining room is a place to loiter, to enjoy good food and friends. The same could well be said about the terrace and indeed the whole house. The use of light and space combined with gentle hints of the old building makes the entire home stylish yet welcoming and livable. On the ground floor, only the kitchen and the cellar remain in their original location, both with their original ceilings restored. The kitchen is at the south-west corner of the house, connected with the dining room by a pantry, or arriere cuisine’, as they say around these parts, and to both, the patio and terrace, for outdoor dining.
The former pigsty was connected to the main house and transformed into a TV room.
You can almost feel the sun in this space, can’t you? The bedrooms were kept large and few, all with adjacent or en-suite bathrooms and were distributed on the first and second floor. The guest bedrooms are located in the former stables, and a gym in a former storage room.
There is a simplicity and lightness of touch everywhere.White walls and hard floors make the most of the wonderful light. Even just looking at these pictures lifts the spirits.
Meilin tells us that, unfortunately, very few original architectural features were present, except for the “plafond à la Française” in the kitchen, which was cleaned and rebuilt with new plaster, and the stone vaulted wine cellar, which was also restored and closed in with an iron and glass door.
The fireplace and all cupboard doors were bought at antique and salvage shops and the plans were drawn around their respective sizes. Windows and window shutters were replaced by made-to-measure wood joinery in the original style. That’s Spanish limestone on the ground floor of the main house, limed oak on the 1st and 2nd floor, reclaimed terracotta “tiles” in the guest bedrooms and waxed concrete in the gym. The roof was entirely redone, finished with a cover of reclaimed terracotta roof tiles.
The terrace and pool surround are covered in Luberon stone and it is hard to know which looks more inviting, that glass of wine and a slowly read novel or the fresh cup of coffee. We challenge our readers to look at these pictures, close their eyes, imagine the sun against their skin and not find themselves slowing down a little and dreaming of lazy days down by the Rhone valley.
Meilin, by the way, has a very splendid blog. Meilin is a Chilean woman who was educated in France and is clearly a fascinating person whose story would justify a Modenus feature. Her blog is in Spanish, French and English, which leaves me feeling horribly inadequate but determined to improve. And we need to give special mention to Alexandre Motte whose art is featured on the farmhouse walls and of which we hope to show you more.
So our thanks to Meilin for sharing these amazing photographs. We hope to hear more from her soon. And if you have a before and after project you would like to see on Modenus we would also like to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org