Traveling and comfort can absolutely be synonymous as was demonstrated with my most recent vacation rental in the Luberon region of Provence, France.
Located in what locals call the Golden Triangle of Provence as you are situated just a few kilometers from tourists’ most desired locations – Gordes, Menerbes, Bonnieux, Villa Dæsch is located in a hamlet out in the countryside surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and beautiful classical Provençal les mas sanctuaries.
With three separate homes located within the villa – a loft (studio) and two maisons (one which is shown here where I lived), the entire property is a respite for the harried souls that have hopped off a plane, bustled onto the train or driven for miles from northern destinations. Believed to have originally been a building for the manufacturing of silk in the 17th century, the structure’s façade is entirely in tact, and with great privacy provided by the farmhouse wooden door, to know what an exquisite modern sanctuary resides behind the doors is completely unknown to those that pass by.
Many readers have asked since I arrived last Sunday how to rent the property, and while the owners currently live in the maison (1850) I had the luxury of staying in (I reserved it more than a year ago, prior to their decision to rent the other two exclusively, and no longer their main abode, and feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to stay here), the owners are currently considering offers to sell. With that being said, it is likely that the new owners will rent all three rentals in the future. But for now Maison 1629 (be sure to check it out here – the open kitchen, stone fireplace and stone sink, as well as outdoor terrasse and private courtyard are exceptional) as well as the loft are currently for rent and available to enjoy for your next excursion to the Luberon region.
Part of the opportunity to rent a home is to have a sanctuary each evening and during the days as well in which you want to recharge, relax and just be away from everything except the sun (in this case, the sun in Provence). Villa Dæsch provided the rejuvenation that I was seeking, moments to catch my breath after visiting the many daily markets in the area, as well as historic sites.
Reserving the property was effortless, and communication with Andrew van Esch and Edvard Daamen was swift. I even had the opportunity to sit down one evening and enjoy an aperitif and nibbles (fougasse, olives and pistachios) with Edvard and his young pup Jules which was a memory I won’t soon forget.
As an interior architect, Edvard had the aesthetic vision for the interiors, and as you will see as you take the tour below of Maison 1850, the blending of Provençal patina with crisp, thoughtful simplicity is superb. Seemingly easy to do, even I know, that is not the case, so I took the opportunity to ask a few questions so that the readers of TSLL (as well as myself) could learn from his years of expertise.
Shannon Ables: What decorating advice could readers use to create a similar living space?
- Don’t be afraid to add a touch of color, especially the smaller items like cushions and curtains are easily changed if after a period it’s time for a change.
- Be inspired by magazines and online communities like Pinterest and Instagram but never forget to make the place your own, I like to see a touch of personality which reflects the owner’s style.
- When collecting something, put the items together as a ‘family’ so do not place them around as single items but as a group.
~The porcelain and glass collections in the salon exemplify “put items together in a ‘family'”.~
~I also was especially drawn to this family of candlesticks as they are carved from a single piece of wood each one, thus their unique lines and stature. These were placed in the living room’s window looking out onto the courtyard.~
SA: Your nickle bronze flatware is stunning (see images below) – do you know where you found the set and/or could you share where to find such quality flatware?
ED: It’s my mother-in-law who bought it long ago and I think it was in Thailand, as Andrew’s father worked for KLM she joined him on many trips and came home with lots of items. I have never seen it neither in Holland nor here in France.
SA: The colors [of the curtains] are just the right balance with the neutral palette in each room. Where would you recommend readers find quality window dressings such as the ones throughout your home?
ED: Actually those are linen table cloths, easily made to measure with the system I used to hang them (see below). [the black clips are placed at the chosen fold to create the precise length for the room.]
~while finding linen tablecloths seems to be much easier here in Provence with the shops and brocante markets, here is a link to a handful of colors in the states at reasonable prices and two different sizes.~
SA: The outdoor dining chairs (lining the rectangular table). The design concept to give the back movability makes so much sense. Where did you source these or where might similar chairs be available?
SA: How long did it take to remodel the villa following your purchase 12 years ago?
ED: In a way it’s an ongoing process as there is always something to do, or maybe ideas I see and want to realize. But initially it took us two months to get the house at the back up to standards. The place where you are staying was renovated two years ago when we thought it was about time that the place where we spent most of our time matched our demands. Like a kitchen where we can cook for friends and family and again the mix and match of traditional with contemporary.
~The pedestal round table caught my eye immediately upon walking into the room. It can comfortably seat 6, but 8 as well if necessary. Edvard shared it was the first piece they purchased for the home, even before the home was complete as it was special find.~
~Notice my latest find at the brocante made it into the picture? The copper teapot! I especially love that the dishwasher looks to be a lower cupboard (below the cutting board) which creates a streamlined, simple, clean look. The copper pans on the wall again blend the patina with the modern aesthetics.~
~A functional and aesthetic idea I am going to try to incorporate in my own kitchen in the future is the row of hanging utensils. Easy to find, simple organization (find the S hooks here).~
~One architectural detail that was demonstrated during my stay as the temperatures reached the nineties (Fahrenheit) multiple days in a row, was the thoughtful positioning of the house itself by the original builders in the 17th century – the placement of the windows – only one window is facing west in Maison 1850 (in the kitchen). In the summer it helps to keep the house naturally cool, and when the mistral blows, it keeps the windows and the building safe and secure. The windows in the salon and dining room face south, so the natural light in the evening is brilliant and I rarely found myself turning on a light in the evening since the sun goes down close to 9:30. ~
~The bathroom with the classic Provençal rose terra-cotta hexagon tiles – you will see them often in apartments and mas (Provençal farmhouses in the region). They are called tomettes. They are indigenous to this area and nearby regions in Spain and Italy as well because beginning more than 150 years ago, the natural clay deposits from the ground would be dug up, then artisans would put them into wooden molds. They would then dry them (they were not red/rose/pink at this point in the process), then place them into a wood-burning kiln for at least three days with a temperature of 1100 degrees Celsius. Thus the color. ~
~simplicity, function and style~
As you may have noticed if you have been following on Instagram (@thesimplyluxuriouslife), I easily made this maison my simply luxurious sanctuary for the week. Below are a few more pics exemplifying other unique details of the home (notice the stone steps heading to the second floor?), as well as my morning dining spot in the courtyard, my favorite reading nook outside and a few simple, seasonal, French-inspired meals enjoyed.
Leaving will be bittersweet, but I am leaving with a magnificent amount of decor and lifestyle inspiration, and look forward to now, after three years, finally paying attention to my own home a bit more closely, even though it is a rental at the moment. After all, when we love the sanctuaries we spend our days and nights in, we are giving ourselves love as well. Much more on this development in coming posts on the blog.
Now, as for me, I am off to another region of this gloriously inspiring country. À bientôt and bonne journée!
Thank you again Edvard and Andrew.
~View City Guides for Provence (coming soon in August 2018) for all destinations I personally recommend to visit, stay and see.