Stone Property & Artist’s Atelierclose to Lectoure
in a wooded and rural area
Located in a wooded and rural area of Northern Gascony, this old stone property is tucked away far from the beaten track, within easy driving distance of the much sought-after market town of Lectoure.
As we approach the property, the lanes narrow, flanked on each side by sunflowers and wheat, the roadside is bordered by trees and hedgerows and has been safeguarded from the widescale agriculture that so often rips through the hedgerows of Gascony to create industrial sized open spaces. Here there is a sense of going back in time, to a countryside of long ago.
Properties are few and far between, the entrance to each marked by a long private driveway, the houses set up on high.
The car climbs the pathway to the cluster of stone buildings at the top and, as I park, I am certain that I would never have found my way without my trusty Sat Nav.
The property sits in a privileged position, which above all is calm and far from the regard of any neighbouring properties.
I park the car at the top of the drive, turn the corner and enter the property between the barn and an adjacent stone building, both of which protect the house from view, so that there is a sense of turning in, and coming upon the house like a secret.
The clearing opens, to reveal a stone farm house, and an atelier, which opens out towards the countryside through an open barn, overlooking the woodland below, where an informal sitting room has sprung up creating a magical indoor/outdoor space.
Entering the house, I find myself in a spacious reception room, with high ceilings and stone walls. There is an open fireplace and a large picture frame window to the field at the side of the house. There is a calm sense of a period home that has been tastefully refurbished with modern materials. The floor is in white Turkish stone, natural and non-reconditioned. The windows throughout the property have been made to measure in wood and aluminum and are all double glazed.
A stone doorway leads the eye to a bright and spacious kitchen. The floor tiles are hand crafted in the style of the old turn of the century cement tiles but are ochre in colour and marry well with the white stone walls. The kitchen has been thoughtfully planned and fully fitted, though blending well with this period style home, and its white stone walls.
Three wooden steps lead me to the bedroom area. On the lower level there are two bedrooms, simple in style, with stone walls, and a downstairs shower room and shared cloakroom/WC. A wooden staircase leads to the third bedroom which has been created under the eaves of the property. All three bedrooms share the same shower room.
The current owners bought the property when it was a near ruin and have restored it with the greatest attention to detail. Ecological at heart, they explain to me that the property is fully insulated not with fibre glass, but with sheep wool, and that all the materials used in the property reflect the desire to live in a property which is non-polluting to the planet.
In winter, the house is toasty warm and cost effective, thanks to the state of the art woodchip burner and solar panels which were fitted by the current owners.
Outside the wood chip burner and its silo are houses in an adjacent stone barn, where we also find the laundry room area.
One of the greatest delights of this property, which might appeal in particular to an artist, is the atelier which sits opposite the house. The enclosed part of this old stone building houses the current owner’s atelier, where upstairs he is able to spread out his works, and paint. Downstairs there is a workshop room for his carpentry tools.
When we meet he is carving a pilgrim’s walking stick from a piece of blanched wood and looking around the workshop it is clear that there is enough space here for a carpenter, potter or artist to work in complete tranquility and to house all the tools one could ever require.
The current owner tells us: ‘This has been a place in which to resource ourselves. Friends and family who spend time here find a deep sense of energy and peace here; a new sense of vitality and energy which allows one to shed the stresses of city life. We have found the necessary energy here to create and those develop new projects which now sadly require us to move on.’
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