Terroir is a French word usually associated with agriculture, not architecture. Rooted in the French word
terre which means land, it refers to how the area, the farming practices, and the environment affect a crop. In the case of viticulture, the terroir affects the flavour of the grape and by extension the wine.
Today we extend the concept of terroir to a historic French home.
In southern France in the province of Luberon, this home is found in one of picturesque towns that dot the hillsides and valleys of this region. Rich fields and rows of vineyards stretch between the villages. Mountain ranges crisscross the province. And rustic, yet refined, homes like this one remember the style and history of the area.
Pour a glass of wine, join us on a trip to the south of France and tour a home that is definitely of the land.
Set within the narrow winding streets of this mountain town, the stone house rises seemingly straight from the rock. Stone is the defining feature of this home both inside and out. In the afternoon sun, the rustic rock walls turn golden while grey-green shutters are an earthy contrast.
Inside the rustic stone continues in the main living spaces. The smear mortar technique keeps the look from being too busy. The mortar nearly obscures some of the individual stones, softening them so that they give a more subtle texture on the walls.
Overhead, more rusticity reigns in the wood ceiling, but here the whitewash finish softens the look.
The living room, dining room and kitchen stretch across the back of the house in one long gallery. Area rugs, furniture groupings and built-ins help to define the individual spaces.
Continuing along the back of the house we come to the dining room where refined traditional furniture is perfectly at home in this rustic setting. The turned legs of the dining table and the caned Louis chairs contrast with the roughness of the stone walls and the wood ceiling
However, once again the look is calming, not busy. Despite the variety of materials and styles, the overall feel is cohesive because everything shares the same soft tones of grey and brown. The whitewashed finish on the chairs, table and built-in china cabinet is a perfect match to the wood beams overhead.
At the end of this long space, we come to the kitchen. The common elements of wood, stone and earth tones continue in the walls, ceiling, floor, cabinet doors, stone sink and backsplash. However, we also get our first pop of colour. Bright sunny yellow peaks out around the frames of the cabinets adding energy to the otherwise neutral space.
Tranquility is the best descriptor for this bedroom. White curtains and bedspread add softness. The grey wall behind the bed keeps the space from being too white and sterile, while referencing the varied shades of the stone. The wood floor adds warmth.
Despite their obvious thickness, the stone walls throughout this home don't feel heavy. In this bathroom the atmosphere is light and open, not heavy, even though every wall is stone. The open shelves on the vanity and glass walled shower remove barriers to let your eye travel through the room from one side to the other.
As we venture outside, the pops of colour we saw in the kitchen reappear. Colourful patterned floortiles and painted beams overhead add energy to this outdoor kitchen area, while the rustic stone references the interior and the history of this home.
High on the hill behind the house, the defining characteristic of this home--the stone--continues. Ancient walls covered in vines, trees and bushes remind us of the history of this region and this property. Small furniture groupings, like this bistro table and chairs, create spaces for lounging, dining and admiring the view.
Set within the stone the spot to enjoy the gorgeous French summer is this crystal clear pool. Low stone walls define the boundary of the pool and its surrounding patio. The curved edge of a stone ledge overhanging one side of the pool softens its rectangular form.
Lounge chairs tucked against the wall provide a spot to relax when you're not swimming while a pair of generous umbrellas give shade from the hot French soleil.
Outside, you get the impression that the house is not just made of the mountain, but is actually part of the mountain. Layers of stone terraces step down the side of the hill. Beyond the walls, the unmatched view of this spectacular area of France reminds you why this spot is special. The terroir, if you will.