Sunday, January 11, 2015

A 16th Century Cottage in France

This Sunday, we're headed to Versailles, France, to tour a 16th century stone cottage. Located in the luxurious region of Ile-de-France, the home is only a few miles from the heart of Paris, but it seems a world away.

A rooster weather vane sits atop a stone gable of the 2 bedroom cottage. 

The home has several sunny outdoor spaces for dining, reading, or just relaxing.

Through a metal arbor, wisteria cascades over a stone wall, creating a romantic backdrop for a cafe table. 

The charm continues as we step inside.

At one time, the house was light-challenged...but look at it now.

While looking up information about the cottage, I found an informative article by Houzzer Fabienne Dupuis, and in the comment section, designer Catherine Sandin gave a peek at the cottage's history and behind-the-scenes insight about the renovation:

"For the little story,when my clients bought the house, the inside was really dark," Catherine said. "There was not a lot of natural light. The beams, the paneling and the ground were very dark brown. So this home needed to receive more light and sweetness.
"The previous owner was a general in the French army who owned an old castle from the 18th century in the south of France. One day, he took in his principal residence, the old stone fireplace and the paneling that you can see now in the living room. My clients wanted to change the dark colour of the paneling and they chose a patina which corresponds at the same colour than the sconces and the mirror above the sofa in order to bring soft and bright tones.For the dining room, I was very lucky. I found in the clients' barn this antic "buffet de marié" from 18th century.
"The tone was set: 18th French century revisited!
"To be in the same concordance, I added a table and chairs inspired by the Louis XV style. The furniture have been painted in bright tones, the beams were bleached and I kept the old carpet.
The key words for this reno were: respect the spirit of this old country home, keep the French antic style inspired by the 18th century and Louis XV style, bring light with natural tons, just to give the desire to stay in this renovated presbytery and to enjoy the atmosphere and the view. And this works really well because now the children and the grandchildren want to come in this little paradise, each weekend! Finaly, don't sure that my clients have found the peace but I know that they are very happy in their bucolic vacation home."

--Catherine Sandin, Interior Stylist (France)

Below, the old beams were lime washed, an ancient practice that discouraged insects. 
Look how much brighter the space feels.

Catherine Sandin created elegant vignettes all through the home.

The neutral color scheme continues in the dining room. 

An old desk was painted, then paired with an outdoor chair.

The owners bought many items at flea markets and antique stores. This refurbished chandelier is magnificent.

Catherine used mirrors strategically, making the small space seem larger.

Sunlight spills into the dining room--lunch is ready.

Space was tight in the kitchen, so the chippy table was angled. 

The pastoral setting is priceless. I would spend all of my time outside, drinking in the
view and details. Framed by trees, the table looks out over the gently rolling hills of the Yvelines countryside. And, because we're in France, you know lunch will be memorable. 
Baguettes. Olives. A goat cheese salad with buttery croutons. Truffle ravioli. Braised shoulder of lamb and roasted potatoes. Wine glasses will crowd the table--a different wine for each course. For dessert,Tatin of Apples, followed by a deep, creamy cup of hot chocolat. 

I hope you enjoyed our little trip to France. 
Thanks for keeping me company.

Houzz (more photos)
Catherine Sandin, Interior Stylist
Ideabook by Houzzer Fabienne Dupuis.
Photos by Stephen Clément

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  1. What a treasure! I love the outside best. The rustic stone and the land just wow me.

    Thanks for taking someplace so wonderful today, I needed this trip!

    1. Michele, I agree--the setting is extraordinary. So happy you enjoyed it!

  2. I could be perfectly happy in that charming cottage, Michael Lee. It's so light, airy and bright and so easy to add any color.

  3. Tres belle. The French are experts at style, whether it be beautiful homes or a chic wardrobe.

  4. I loved touring this home! That one shot of the blue gate and the wisteria had me at the get-go. And the charming touches inside. Loved the checked curtains behind the glass doors of the laundry. I adore graphics like checks and stripes. And that was fascinating about the limed beams repelling insects. Learn something new every day!


    Sheila :-)

  5. What a miraculous home! I could picture Van Gogh painting half of those pictures. If only! Swoon!

  6. Thanks for sharing this lovely home.

  7. This was perfect. I came over to take a break and see what you had and it was glorious. This would have only been better if I had been drinking some tea instead of coffee.

  8. so lovely...and thanks for taking me back, if for a few minutes, to my town in southern France....I lived in Aix en Provence during one season in my life. C'était magnifique!

  9. When we downsize, I so want to build a replica of a charming French cottage with great architectural details and that wonderful stone....oh one day......thanks for this magnificent tour!...I have been taking in every gorgeous detail...

  10. This cottage could not be more perfect, in my opinion, from the overall to the details, plus the exterior with the wisteria and tables and country views.

  11. Love the setting! Thanks for the tour. It's warming my heart on this miserably cold, wet day.

  12. How charming. I appreciated all the exterior and interior pictures. That gave a real feel for this enchanting cottage. The historical info was fascinating. I saw your link at The Charm of Home link party. Ann Marie at Iris Abbey