Saturday, June 14, 2014

Picnic and a project




New beginnings. They are so full of promise, aren't they?

Recently, Remi and I were invited to a pre-preview of one such project and a fine time was had by all. Remi had met Anne and Dominik during his coverage of the Roman Boat story for National Geographic Magazine. As video artists, they lead a busy and fulfilling life, one that has long been centered in the Panier District at the heart of Marseille. But, as the noise and pressure of city life no longer fits the bill for their creative needs, they decided a massive change was in order.



They bought a rambling old farmhouse in the countryside outside of Aix-en-Provence. While nearly everything needs to be redone (save for the beautiful cement-tiled flooring), the potential is absolutely incredible.




Having heard previously of this new adventure, I was so thrilled to be able to see the house in a virtually untouched state.




The patina of its many previous lives - it was originally a relais stop for mail, changing horses and resting during a journey - is fully intact.


Remi and Dominik carried down a table from one of the upstairs rooms along with a few random chairs and set them up under the shade of an ancient tree reigning over the walled-in courtyard. I spread out an old sheet for a table cloth and laid out the picnic.


The conversation flowed steadily for several hours over many subjects. Occasionally, I would step into the cool shade that the interiors thick stone walls (up to one yard deep!) provided. There were so many details to take in, elements that somehow have not been handed down to our daily mode de vie despite their usefulness. I could imagine sliding open the middle section of the screen in the front door to accept the mail or perhaps to hand over a freshly made pie to a neighbor.


And throughout my wandering from room to room, that old tree listened and rustled in approval. How I wanted to take photos of the walls stripped bare of layers of someone else's wall-coverings...


...but this is not my project, it is theirs. With time, the well-thought out plans that Anne has drawn up (she is also an architect) will come to fruition. The house will be a home and the barns will become work spaces. Isn't it inspiring?

At some point during our lazy meal, this fascinating couple admitted that it was their first on the property. Remi and I were deeply flattered to have been invited for this beginning. We left waving wildly as the car pulled away, shouting out thank you's and well-wishes for the adventure that lies ahead...


Have a wonderful rest of your weekend...

36 comments:

  1. Oh what a fabulous project! I hope you will keep us up to date as they progress as the farmhouse looks enchanting.
    Your picnic looks lovely nestled under the trees...

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    1. It was such a lovely afternoon! And yes, I would love to an update if they agree when it is finished. I have a feeling that it will quite something. :)

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  2. "...the noise and pressure of city life no longer fits the bill for their creative needs, they decided a massive change was in order."
    It's like starting a new maturity.
    I like the wonderful photos and the thought of picnic.

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    1. A picnic, like Paris, is always a good idea (to stretch an Audrey Hepburn quote!).

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  3. It is a beautiful spot. And it makes me wonder what is next for you and Remi....

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    1. I wondered who would ask that first...leave it to you Judith!

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  4. Indeed, I wonder, too, what is coming for you and Remi. And that whatever it is, you and the boys are happy.

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    1. Thank you for those well-wishes! I will take them in... :)

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  5. Thanks for bringing us long with you.

    Thanks also for reminding me of this shade of blue, a favorite, if one can have a forgotten favorite. I claim age privilege. Against all odds, I, moi, yo mismo, now live in a condo, a wonderful Old Florida one in a tree and flower filled sanctuary, so the outside of the new door w the wonderful cut glass top half will be painted a just fine shade of Pelican Cove cocoa. But indoors, it and the next to it full length 4' deep window surround, must be a tech word for this shadow box effect, will be blue. I had been thinking of blue of the doors of North Africa. Now I have this shade to consider too. All suggestions welcome.

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    1. This is definitely a "happy skies of Provence" blue...I also like the "old doors of Zanzibar" blue too...but that wouldn't be as cheery. How about Essaouri for inspiration for your North African blue? ;) Joan, I know that your sanctuary must be a true sight to behold...

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    2. Thanks. Still pondering on the shade. I love Essaouri and Zanzibar blues. Very excited about painting the inside shadow part of the window.

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  6. ME TOO!
    I thought you were moving in JUNE!Instead your trotting around the STATES.........having a good time I take it!
    I guess you will tell us when your ready.............the puppets must be missing YOU!

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    1. I honestly think that they are having such a great "guy time" with Remi that they don't miss me one BIT!

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  7. Such a magical looking place and a wonderful project! I loved Aix-en-Provence!! I too would love to see the progress.

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    1. Aix is my favorite town in Provence. I will see if it is possible to go back in a few months...

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  8. You had me from the first picture...and THEN that blue door..oh my!
    Another journey to gaze and dream about...look forward to the continuing story.

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    1. I will try...I am sure that the owners would also get a kick out of knowing that everyone is interested!

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  9. Yes, New beginnings :) Wow, what a beautiful slice of Heaven they live in!! :)

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    1. I wish that I had thought to take photos of the countryside surrounding the house - it is so peaceful and gorgeous...of course, my mind was too focused on the picnic ahead! ;)

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  10. I often think I should be tired of re-doing old relics...but the idea of a new one just sends me over the moon. I love what they're doing. It's a LONG & winding road which they will take, but in the end it will be amazing. Great afternoon for you guys. xx's

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    1. Marsha, it is a really ambitious project but yet they both are utterly confident about it which, as you know, is more than half the battle!

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  11. Oh that house has made me dream. I am going through a phase of so many wild dreams right now and I am feeling so restless. Summer always does this to me. I trust you are enjoying the US. It's fun to see your photos of Instagram. I guess all the social media keeps everyone connected. Hope you will have new beginnings of your own soon.

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    1. I haven't been popping on to ig very much, Loree but I agree, I love seeing what everyone is up to in the many different parts of the world - your ig photos of Malte are so gorgeous! And I think that the heat of summer brings out the restlessness in many of us...myself included!

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  12. What a great shade of blue; about how old is this farmhouse? Can't wait to see what they do with it.

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    1. I think that Anne said that the main part of it is 17th century? I can ask. It is ooold...and Anne wants to make an interesting mix of the new and the old from what I understood of her plans.

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  13. Feeling very inspired over here, thanks for sharing a bit of this new beginning with us. What an honor to be the first to share what will surely be one of many wonderful meals there.

    Hope your trip home continues to be everything you dreamed, dear Heather! XOXO

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    1. Thank you Jeanne. You would love her ideas. Hoping all is well with you and your own personal James Bond!

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  14. How exciting to see the behind-the-scenes of something like that. It looks like a great place to have a summer meal!

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    1. Hello Stephanie and bienvenue! :) And yes, the food definitely tasted better in the amazing surroundings...

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  15. Wonderful. This is exactly the way I like to enjoy these projects - vicariously, through others. I can't imagine doing it myself, but I love the idea that there are such brave and industrious people in the world like your friends who are willing to. And how lucky they are to have you, to record and share the process. XXXX

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    1. It really is a huge project G - there were certain areas where we couldn't walk for fear of falling through! But they know what they are doing and aren't in a hurry.
      Bisous.

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  16. Wow, wow, wow! C'est magnifique!

    Clare x

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    1. I wish I could have shown you more Clare!

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  17. An old farmhouse in the countryside out of Aix... swooning! I am swooning! x

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    1. Right? Who knew that such a thing still existed?! It is a true diamond in the rough...

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  18. Speaking as one who has recently moved into a farmhouse, it is a GIFT! We are grateful that ours is renovated so beautifully, but how fun to start from scratch! Would she let you document the project? (maybe that's already been mentioned in the comments). That would be AMAZING!!! Thank you for another wonderful post! (and love the wallpaper!!).

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