Maison de maître in peaceful hamlet3 bedrooms, gardens, and outbuildings
Restored with infinite good taste
The current owner of this property is an Art Historian specializing in historical monuments. On our visit to the property, he explains how when he stumbled upon this property in 2003 it had been abandoned for decades. His project since then has been to listen to the stones and walls and tiny details revealed to him over the years as he has peeled back time.
The property sits far back from the road, with fields and horses to the front and an attractive neighboring property to the side built in 1604.
The property would have been built and redeveloped between 1610 and 1840.
As we visit the property on a scorching hot summer’s day, the owner tells us:
“What I particularly liked was that the house was so authentic. In the barn we found old wine barrels and farm implements. For about about 200 years it belonged to a wine-making family who stopped production in 1950. Unspoilt the house became our home”.
“Some old relics are impressive, such as 18th century bread oven and latrinary shaft from 1830-1840, which is very rare in the Gers. Since most of the traditional plaster work (crepi) in the Gers is gradually disappearing, we decided to keep the original walls on the north and west side and to re-render the façade facing the garden.”
“We have carefully, and lovingly restored the house, from the eco plumbing system (septic tank) to the 18th century tomettes: the tiles were built on three layers of insulation: a drainage layer of stones, an insulation layer of hemp and lime, and a lime screed, with a constant temperature during winter and summer. Next to the house there is a 9 m water well. Two American wood-burning stoves heat the entire house. We wanted to choose wood over oil or gas and are pleased we did so for cost and ecology. “
“The house was renovated a second time in 2021, when it was gifted a comfortable new kitchen and a second bathroom with bathtub. The windows were remade in French oak. The living room can be expanded about 50 m2, into the adjacent barn, where the owner has obtained planning permission for a window facing the garden.
With planning permission, there is plenty of space for the construction of a sunny swimming pool (water and electricity are already available).”
The property sits at the far end of the garden, far from the quiet country lane at the entrance. The gardens are pretty and gentle.
The original oak door of the house opens onto a pleasant hallway with a view of the original turning staircase. The terracotta floors and simple white chalk walls highlight the beauty of the wooden stairs.
To the right of the main front door there is a large and spacious kitchen, which has conserved its original kitchen cupboards on two walls and its old stone sink. There are two windows ensuring a natural flow of light.
To the left of the main entrance there is a reception room, with a woodburning stove. Behind the reception room, there is a room which used to be the old stone garage, but which is now used both as a storage room and a laundry room. Currently with a window and a door to the front garden, the current owner has obtained planning permission to put in a large window to make this room a habitable space and potentially extend the rather modestly sized sitting room into a much larger room.
On the first floor of the property there is a large landing which overlooks the front of the property and opens onto a master bedroom, which is decorated in angelic shades of white chalk paint. The view over the gardens on both sides is peaceful.
On the other side of the hallway, down a long hallway there is a bathroom with a free-standing iron bathtub and a shower room, as well as two more double bedrooms.
Our thoughts here at Bliss
This property is in a non-isolated position with a generous garden and a non-adjacent barn. It has been used for many years as a peaceful retreat for its current owner who lives abroad. It will appeal to those who do not like properties which have been overly done. Modifications to the property are subtle and the materials used authentic. There is a decided sense of stepping back in time, and almost a Quaker-like sense of simplicity. The colours are predominantly white lending the interior an almost angelic feel. The choice of two wood-burners as a source of heat heightens our sense of having stepped back in time. The kitchen is our favourite room and dressed beautifully for our visit. A long oak table with natural linen and ancient porcelain and wildflowers from the garden. It is not a huge leap of the imagination even on a burning hot summer`s day to image the crackle of the log fire beside a full and festive table of friends and family.
The upstairs walls are interesting. Instead of plater board or brick the rooms are divided by old planks of wood with a subtle paint wash. If there is such a thing as a “tactile house”, then this is a living example of tactile. It is tempting to run your hands over the wooden boards which divide the bedrooms, or to trace the dates on the wall of the hallway, or to touch the old locks and handles of the kitchen doors which have been used countless times in the last two hundred years. The stone on the old kitchen sink is smooth with use. There is feeling of living history inside these walls, and a sense of becoming its next custodians, so that this might work very well for anyone wishing to let this property out as a summer home in Gascony with period features. It is hard to imagine this property being anywhere else; it is typically Gersoise; a symmetrical maison de maître.
What would I do if the property were mine?
If the property were mine, I would be tempted to increase the size of the downstairs reception room since the kitchen is a generous size with two windows, and I would wish for the living-room on the other side of the hallway to reflect the expanse of space in the kitchen, and to bring light into the room by putting in the window for which planning permission has been granted. Currently the reception room has the feel of a snug, opening onto a barn or garage. What I would like to do would be to develop a habitable space and a much larger reception space by opening out the two rooms into one. I also feel that the addition of an extra window would bring further sunlight into the room as well as introducing the lovely views over one of the prettiest corners of the garden. On our agency photographs a table has been set for afternoon tea at this precise spot, and the idea of a having a door and a window to the reception room in this area is an appealing one.
Upstairs I would not change anything, the flow of the rooms works perfectly, each room providing serenity and period style.
An obvious addition to the property, planning permissions permitting, would be the addition of a swimming pool. The grounds feel spacious enough to integrate a pool area without spoiling the tranquil garden areas in the immediate vicinity of the house.
On a technical side…
Wood burning stoves (2)
Entrance: 14 m²
Living room : 21 m²
Kitchen : 23 m²
Landing : 4.80 m²
Hall : 7.80 m²
Bedroom 1 : 13.50 m²
Bedroom 2 : 23 m²
Bedroom 3 : 22 m²
Bathroom: 9 m²
Shower room : 9 m²
Barn: 24 m²
Garage : 35 m²
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