Elegant manor housewith parkland, pool and divine views
a fine classical elegance
Once every five or ten years we see something so lovely as to catch our breath. Sometimes it is the property itself, its fine classical elegance, sometimes the parkland and outbuildings seeped in history, or often times the view, elevated, yet gentle and rolling over the valley; redolent of Tuscany and its orange and ochre fields .
Sometimes it is all three elements combined: but rarely.
This is one such example.
This property which was built over four to five hundred years ago, is a promise of elegance from the outset, with its long curvaceous driveway, past neat and private rows of vine, all the way to the entrance of the house, where we leave the car beneath a shady barn, and follow a gravel pathway, with neatly clipped herbaceous and topiary borders, to the front of the house.
At the time of its construction, the property was a fine residence, well known for the glamourous parties its owners threw. In later years it became known as “The Gatsby House.”
The principal façade is elegant, in finely cut buttery stone, not the small rough-edged rocks mined from local quarries for the construction of most rural properties in Gascony, but those elegant blocks of stone reserved for the elevation of the Châteaux and maisons de maitres of the region.
The original wooden doorway, with its heavy metal knocker, opens onto a hallway to rival all hallways. Having conserved its original black and white harlequin floor, the hallway opens onto a flight of elegant stone stairs (the promise of a grand arrival or departure and certainly one of those stairwells which in days of old would have involved much swooshing and swishing of long trains and skirts), high ceilings (hang those grand candelabras with pride!) and a natural flow of rooms from this central juncture.
Let’s start with the kitchen
The first impression this long and spacious room gives, with a doorway to the garden (and the clipped topiary pathways), a window, and an old kitchen fireplace, is of not having been tampered with very much. There is an authenticity which we appreciate. Yet on closer inspection, we see the excellent quality island set two-thirds of the way in, the pristine kitchen units and work-surfaces, and the lovely travertine floors. Perhaps then it is the choice of materials. There is nothing ostentatious, nothing jarring on the eye, colour wise (neutral tones of creams and mellow stone). Only the original fireplace is untouched by time.
Yet this is more than a kitchen, it is a “room” in its old right, and as we sip mint tea (fresh leaves shredded from the garden) and eat warm crumbly home-made cake, there is little desire to be anywhere else, and we understand above all, that this is a family kitchen. The hub of the household.
Behind the kitchen, a doorway leads to the rear scullery area. Beyond the scullery area is a room currently used as a gym and storage area, and was once the headquarters for the local huntsmen. This room opens in turn onto the internal garage where the boiler is located.
The Grand Drawing Room / Reception
Cosy as the kitchen is, there are moments in one’s social calendar that require a room with grandeur and elegance. The main reception room, with its 18th century style French doors to the gardens (and beyond the pool) is the perfect reception room: parties, large or small.
The walls and ceilings are high, the perfect backdrop for a magnificent display of Artwork. The feature ceilings, or “plafond à la Française” characterful.
In this room, there is place for a grand piano, a collection of books (displayed on the bespoke shelves on the far wall), a desk, sofas and armchairs. The room is multi-functional, and, in the same way as the kitchen, not so informal as to dissuade one from simply sitting there, by the grand fireplace for an intimate drinks party. A perfect room in winter or summer, bathed in light, and with far-reaching views down to the poolside and vineyards beyond. This room is a promise of elegance and comfort.
The Mystery Room
Behind the formal drawing room, lies a room which had not been restored since the current owners moved in. With original terracotta floor tiles and plaster walls, and a certain je ne sais quoi in the air, we divine by mutual agreement, that this room may very well have been the home to a small family chapel.
Today, this room might be used as a study.
The Formal Dining-Room
With feature alcoves, and place for a long table which seats 14 guests, and a large central candelabra, this room is invitation to host parties or large Christmas lunches.
A second more informal sitting room, with doors onto the garden, provides a perfect place to watch a movie or to host a more intimate tea-party.
Like so many people today, the current owners work from home, and this delightful and spacious room provides the perfect spot. If you are looking for a formal sit-down desk on the photos, you won’t find one. The current owner works standing up at a tall desk, to keep fit and healthy; enjoying the lovely views to the garden. This is a bright and cosy room, littered with books and colourful paintings and a delightful place to house a home-office.
The elegant staircase turns up to the first-floor landing and to a large landing. Halfway up the stairs there is a door to the attics.
On the first floor, the rooms are at a discreet distance, with the master bedroom accessible via a second internal hallway.
The master bedroom has an original terracotta floor and a separate and vast bathroom, with a shower and a large bath-tub, overlooking the garden and a dressing-room.
On the first floor there a second spacious double bedroom with an en suite private bathroom and two further double bedrooms, which share a shower-room.
This gives us a total of four double bedrooms, two of which are en suite and two of which share a bathroom.
There is further accommodation in the guest house.
Outside, with separate access from the gardens, there is a lovely guest area, comprising a vast ground floor bedroom in the first section, and a second apartment/guest-house with two double bedrooms, with en-suite bathrooms, together with a 40m² reception/ dining-room, a separate kitchen, and an external laundry-room.
The property is perfectly adapted for rentals to guests outside of the immediate family, since the guest house is completely separate and to the rear of the main property, and also of course for older teenagers and their friends.
Outbuildings and barns – over 465m2 of useable space (for storage or potential development)
The property once produced its own wine and Armagnac. In the vast and spacious barn, untouched by time, the original barrels are still in-situ, including one which is reputed to be more than five hundred years old.
There is also a covered hangar providing a useful parking area.
The outbuildings provide enough space to store farm machinery, and potentially, with relevant planning permissions, could also provide an additional surface area in which to create a further habitable space.
The Jewel in the Crown! – the elevated terrace
A tour of the gardens would not be complete without a mention of the raised terrace area, at the bottom of the garden, overlooking the valley and vineyards beyond.
This area is particularly magical, surrounded by ancient trees, and with a candelabra for candlelit suppers suspended in the tree above. This is a wonderful area, where one feels as if the rich tapestry of the Gascon countryside has been laid out for a private viewing; a place to sit and enjoy the changing seasons. A distant church tower, sunlight on vines; the view is so picture perfect one might be forgiven for thinking it is the painted backdrop to a stage-set. Here it is utterly quiet, bar the sound of birdsong.
The swimming-pool sits at a discreet distance from the property with lovely views over open countryside. It measures 15m x 5m and is 2m deep, with an electric cover and a liner.
Around the pool there is a pebbled area, set in gentle lawns with a row of deckchairs to admire the pretty views.
What would you change if the property were yours?
Organise a big party!
Very little if anything needs doing. Possibly repaint the master bedroom white.
Elegant – Spacious – Grand – Original features – Views – Tranquil
Our thoughts here at Bliss
If we look at the history of the house and remember how this stylish property was known by locals as a place of entertainment and elegance, and one sees to what a careful extent the original features from 1720 have been preserved, it is easy to imagine that this property will appeal to lovers of fine architecture and graceful homes, with an utterly peaceful rural backdrop. There is nothing to disturb the quietude. The current owners have delightful taste in furnishings and paintings, and this is a home which will appeal to lovers of interior design. Display your paintings on those high-reaching walls, enjoy the light as it seeps in through the elegant French windows. This is a house where every room has a view of the parkland, and sunlight streams through. The restoration of the property is in careful keeping with the period. Nothing has been spoilt. Lastly, this property will appeal to lovers of fine parks and gardens. There is a delicious blend of the formal and the informal, with the topiary hedges, and lovely old trees. Despite the scorching summer, there are lawns, and shady nooks and crannies in which to sit and read or have a quiet drink. The raised terrace area with a view of the vineyards is an outdoor reception-room. In warmer months it is easy to imagine wanting to entertain here whenever the weather permits, saving the formal dining room for winter occasions.
Click images to enlarge
On a technical note/ things you might like to know:
The closest neighbours are over 500m away
Property taxes – 3021 euros (based on last year’s figures)
Drainage: Micro station and 2 septic tanks
2 water wells, with water and a hosepipe to the vegetable garden
Roof – revised and without any issues signaled by owner
Partial double glazing
Oil central heating + a heat pump (either system can fully heat house allowing the owners to choose the most economical choice per year)
1 LINKY smart metre
3 hot water tanks
Internet 4G with Orange
Pool: 15m x 5m (2m deep)
Pool installed 2016
Electric cover over pool
Entrance hall: 3, 23 x 6,56 (east facing, period floor tiles in black and white) = 21,18m2
Kitchen: 4,10 x 8,59 (northeast and southwest facing. Travertine stone floor. Central island. Top and bottom units) = 35,21m
Inner hallway to barn: 1.25 x 5.52 + 4.4 x 2.48 (north facing) = 19,81m2
Rear Kitchen: 6.00 x 3.90 (north facing with brown ceramic floor tiles) = 23,4m2
Garage and boiler room: 6.39 x 5.13 (gravel floor. Place for car, oil tank, Viessmann boiler) = 32,78m2
Grand drawing room/salon: 7.49 x 10.52 (southwest and northeast facing. Travertine stone floor)= 78,79m2
Dining-Room: 6.52 x 5.56 (wooden floor) =36,25m2
Sitting room: 5.83 x 5.45 (southwest facing, wooden floor) =31,77m2
Study: 5.68 x 5.65 (wooden floors, west and southwest facing) = 32,09m2
Room (old chapel?): 3.50 x 5.76 (original terracotta floors, old fireplace, southwest facing, room requires renovation) = 20,16m2
First floor landing: 6.64 x 3.27 (original old wooden floor)
(The door to the attic sits on a half-landing) = 21,78m2
2nd inner hallway: 1.99 x 6.46 (original old wooden floor) = 12.85
Vestibule/ dressing-room: 2.35 x 3.60 (original old wooden floor, west facing) = 8,46m2
Master bedroom: 5.83 x 5.91 (terracotta floor, southwest and southeast facing) = 34,45m2
Master ensuite bathroom: 3.47 x 4.00 (southwest facing, bathtub) = 13,88m2
Small corridor space: 1.54 x 2.06 = 3,17m2
Shower room: 2.83 x 1.96 (tiled floor, sani-broyer WC, shower. Window opening onto the stairwell) = 5,54m2
Bedroom: 4.33 x 4.40 (original wooden floor, east facing) = 19,05m2
Inner hallway towards other bedrooms and bathroom: 1.29 x 1.45 = 1,87m2
Bedroom: 4.17 x 3.57 (original wooden floors, northeast facing) = 14,88m2
Bedroom: 3.21 x 4.19 (original wooden flooring) = 13,44m2
100m2 comprising two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a living-room)
BARNS, WINE RESERVE and OUTBUILDINGS
Wine chai: 19.94 x 7.74 (earth floor, old wine barrels – one of which is more than 500 years old) = 154, 33m2
Hangar: 19.95 x 5.60 + 21.51 x 5.15 (concrete base floor, ideal for parking) = 111,72 + 110,77m2 = 222,49m2
Barn: 13.81 x 6.47 = 89,35m2