When we moved to Europe we had very fixed ideas about the kind of home we wanted..... Older, grand rooms with beamed ceilings, a fireplace, and a light filled, gracious eat in kitchen..... bref, un trésor.
Reality hit us like a ten ton truck. After our agent, Ingrid, showed us our first possibility, I was in knots. It was an apartment which looked like a stone bunker with cement walls, lots of steel & glass, très moderne. The architect quickly pointed out that if I put up a café rod in the kitchen I would block the view of the gas station across the street and notice only the Alps in the distance. Thanks, but no, we'll pass.
We became a real thorn in Ingrid's side from that point forward, nearly walking out of house after house.....
I knew that once we moved overseas, we would not be changing houses anytime soon and that I had to find the right place once and for all, and that it was then or never.
Ingrid was of the mind that we should see a bit of all styles because "one never knows........" But I did know, so I kept pushing until she stopped showing us modern flat after modern flat.
Finally we got into the maisons vigneronnes, or wine-makers houses. These are situated right in the vineyards and often boast many of
the amenities we were searching for....
We saw one, then another and both had potential but had been badly updated. Fine for a purchase where you can put your mark on something, but in a rental, you have to just live with it.
And then finally there was a third.... And I knew the moment we walked in and up the stone turret that leads to our door. Built in 1610, set not only in the the vines, but in the center of a 10-centuries old village, it had almost everything we were looking for... High, beamed ceilings, a fireplace that we can stand in, light filled rooms but not, sadly, an eat in kitchen. Arnaud nearly talked me out of it, sure I would go crazy in the tiny galley, really just a pass through, but well appointed, since I really, really love to cook. It's actually quite lovely, but the light is so poor and it's so tiny that I cant' even get a good picture of it. I've adjusted, pared down my cooking utensils to the bare necessities (actually, that wasn't a bad thing) and learned to be more tidy while working since one thing out of place in that tiny space throws a serious cog in the machine. I've gotten used to having dinned totally prepared before guests arrive since we can't socialize around an island while I cook. And so it works.
But every once in a while I let my mind wander to some of these beautiful cooking spaces, open, light, inviting. How wonderful it would be to have our parties center around the kitchen like at home on the States. It's the one thing I really miss here. Do you rather an eat in kitchen (where your guests can see you cooking and all the disorder that goes with it or separate dining room that leaves the mess a mystery?
These are come of my favorite spaces, I hope you've enjoyed them!
all images from www.maison-deco.com