Saturday, January 18, 2014

An almost in my Secret Provence




This week's "almost" was visited by chance.

Remi and I were taking the puppers on a walk in my Secret Provence, when my thoughts turned to the ad for a house that I had seen for sale there. It was recognizable from far due to the unusual slanted roof on the terrace.



It usually Remi who is the King of gathering clues from real estate photos but this time I took the prize of the hunt and we approached closer to investigate.



As we stood in front of its rather plain facade (dated 1789), a man happened to leave the front door and he stopped to look at us questioningly. Remi took the initiative to approach and yes, it turned out that he was the owner of the house. Would we like to visit it?

It was exceedingly kind and so we accepted. He asked his Wife to drop of one of their children in his stead and I waited outside while Remi took a tour, he replaced me and it was my turn.

The sun was already going down so most of the following photos have been borrowed from the net, again, my apologies for the quality.


The first room is a salon - larger than what is shown here - with absolutely beautiful stone walls, an ample fireplace and beams that could be charming painted off-white. There are several interesting niches in the walls. The tile floor could easily be recovered with parquet.


The rather large kitchen is followed by a storage room with a separate entrance. The only element to salvage here would be the carved wooden drawers and doors, very Provençal and they could be quite nice if stripped and stained a light grey.


The staircase was also just gorgeous--again, my photo doesn't do it justice. On the right, you can see the hodgepodge of what is called pierre froide and on the left, more perfect blocks of stone from the quarries of Fontvielle.


I actually quite liked this room, save for the modern windows. The fireplace on the right functions and so I thought that this would make a very good library/movie and guest room. Imagine the parquet, window frames and the big wooden beams stripped and stained light grey or griege and walls lined with books...This room would have been where my desk could have been as well.


There is a charming ancient wooden doorway leading to the master bath and what they use as the master bedroom. This would have been Remi's office. We could have covered the white tile either with jute or our old carpets or both. Cream walls, lots of our collection of old photos on the walls...and there you go.


Upstairs, there are two rooms both with the same parquet and some nice stone detailing that have been integrated with the contemporary structure. That could have been either the bedroom and a dressing or one large bedroom. Parquet treated, walls and pesky window frames painted, ciel du lit and mini lustre installed...it would be a whole different story. Really!


And then there is the massive terrace, partially covered for summer lunches (a must)...


...with its incredible view/s...


...that are west-facing for stunning sunset views. As folks live outdoors nearly six months a year...well, this was very, very tempting. Very tempting.

But...you see where I am going with this? Just as one does not buy a house for architectural details, sadly (!), one does not buy a house for a terrace! For while we could really, really see ourselves on that terrace with that view, we could not see ourselves living in the house. 

It is actually a very good house in many aspects. Everything has been completely renovated (and nicely done) from roof to electricity to flooring, something which is very, very unusual in our price range. 

Alas no is no. It was good to try and very kind of the owner to welcome us.


We do love this corner of the Secret Provence and felt very good walking around the streets after the sun went down. It was so quiet and so charming. So this is an area where we will keeping searching in priority. If you have figured out where it is, please shhh...It is fun for all of us to have secrets sometimes.

So, I am curious, can you see the possibilities here or not at all? You asked to see as much as possible...I listened! 

Have an excellent rest of your weekend!

24 comments:

  1. Potential, yes, especially in your hands, but it did not grab my heart.

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  2. Dear Heather, It's a yes and a no. The terrace has possibilities especially because of the view. The Master Bedroom has no windows? The house is too close to the neighbors. Ben and Kipling need more room
    Happy Sunday, Gina

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    1. They do, Gina! Well, Kipling does. As long as Ben has his couch, he's happy. :)

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  3. Hmm, looks like it has low ceilings, and as Gina mentioned it seems too close to the neigoughbours. If you buy a house don't you want a garden?

    It is difficult to reject a good offer if things like the roof and electricity were already recently renovated.

    Finding the right house may probably always mean to make compromises, but I don't really see you in there and I am sure you will find one which is closer to what you are searching. Something which is more inspiring.

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    1. Yes! And Silke, I really want to try and hold out for a garden if at all possible. The luxury of just being able to let the dogs wander in and out sounds too wonderful...

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  4. Heather, I admire your and Remi's discipline, and it is a wonderful reminder for me to exert some as I try to imagine, and somewhat half-heartedly look for, our next abode. I am too easily taken with architectural details and by one outstanding feature. I'm not sure if we can find what I want in our price range: a front porch, enough land and light outside for gardening, for the dogs and for one or more outdoor living spaces, light and a sense of space (but not too much square footage) inside, and a dog-friendly neighborhood. To get that, we probably will have to do substantial remodelling inside (which we've never done). I know what I like, but I have no talent or experience in creating it. You do, so I am reading and learning...and, of course, looking forward to you two finding the property that you so much deserve! In the meantime, it is absolutely fascinating to meander with you through the homes you consider and, especially, to read your comments about, and ideas as to what you would do with, each space. Thank you for your generosity--you are a very good teacher. Happy hunting, Leslie in Oregon

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    1. Oh Leslie, thank you but Remi and I only know what we like and have the access to artisans here who know how to do that. Since our taste is very much linked with the old architecture present--that helps! Have you looked at blogs like Design Sponge and Velvet & Linen?

      And I am surprised as I thought that you loved your current home. But know that I wish you luck as well...we are in this together!

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  5. Oh that wonderful terrace with view! Loved the tour of the house.

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  6. *peering_closely*

    isn't there something so heart-breakingly-INTIMATE about seeing someone else's kitchen?

    not sure what it is.

    but it was a Moment.

    *wavingfromlosangeles*

    _tg xx

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    1. Oh my! I couldn't agree more. Actually, you should have seen the photo that I took instead of the realtor photo!! They had just come back from doing their grocery shopping and the kids were in the middle of their snack...it was too intimate to publish and of course you would understand that too...

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  7. Concessions and shuddering, “a pale sunshine after the rain”, such are the fun and tribulation of house searching. A day will come when a house will appear to end all searches and you will hear the song of a nightingale or music of Chopin.

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    1. It is true, Edgar. We have had such a moment at our first home in Arles and it was thrilling.

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  8. Loved the staircase and the terrace- and always the sense of possibility in a potential new living space. Still dream most of building my own! Happy January, happy hunting :-)

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    1. Me too, Lisa. Me too. But land prices in Provence?!? Nope. But I have the house pretty much drawn out in my head.

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  9. I laughed as I toured this home with you. We've been looking at Greek homes (via the Internet) and keep going back to those with large decks and expansive views (both are things we don't have in Kirkland). . .so we do have to remind ourselves that what is in the interior is more important than the exterior. . .well, sort of. . .maybe. . .

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    1. Exactly...kind of...sort of... :) And oooh, Greek homes?! You two don't mess around when you talk about having another adventure!!! I will want to come to visit!

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  10. It certainly has charm and possibilities, but if it didn't grab at your heart...

    One day, the perfect place will turn up.

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    1. Thank you Lorrie. I appreciate that...fingers crossed...

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  11. No, didn't convince me... No heart-stopping scene!

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  12. For me, potential is directly related to investment.....emotional, monetary or otherwise. Are you heavily invested?

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    1. Emotionally and otherwise yes, monetarily...well, we are pretty limited in what we can invest on that particular point...

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  13. I am a sucker for a terrace as well but too much work to be put in! Keep looking and the perfect place will find you - you have no immediate pressure so why take something that doesn't have most of what you are looking for. Good luck on the search!

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