Domaine in Gascony

This beautiful Gascon farmhouse lies in the Armagnac hills in South West France and was in need of major internal and external renovation works. The house and surrounding land had been used as a hunting lodge and then as a working farm and vineyard for two hundred years and had a number of outbuildings and barns which were in bad repair. The house had been occupied by the same family for one hundred years who only used five rooms on the ground floor, while the rest of the house was used for storage.

The aim was to create a six bedroom, five bathroom house with four reception rooms with initially a small garden area, a swimming pool and terrace and a wildflower meadow. The house and garden were to be used by the owner’s friends and family for holidays as well as for holiday lets.

The budget was limited, therefore there needed to be a phased programme of works. Many of the original features of the house were kept, including fireplaces, terracotta tiles, beams and some of the beautiful internal cob walls. Four new bedrooms and three bathrooms were built within the original attic area, following the basic layout of the original 19th century construction and allowing one huge master bedroom and bathroom of 15 metres x 8 metres across one side. Many of the new walls were constructed in cob to match the older surviving walls. Downstairs four tiny rooms were combined to make an enormous kitchen of 10 metres x 10 metres overarched by a high vaulted ceiling. The house was decorated in strong primary colours and furnished with a combination of Indian and French rustic furniture.

Outside, the black bassin style swimming pool was constructed within the surviving walls of an old barn which would both provide shelter and a feeling of enclosure and would also pull the landscape into the house.