There are days when this job is just such a joy and our visit to this property was one of them. We love surprises, and France is really good at them – one often doesn’t have a clue what is hidden behind the front facade. This property is a classic example – from the front, two large garages, one either side of the entrance door flanked by olive trees in large kegs, a balcony above at first floor level, all beautifully maintained. We thought ” Oh, this is nice ” and then we went in – it is more than ” nice ” it is stunning!
Wonderfully spacious, it is the most sensible arrangement of rooms that are now divided into what are effectively two apartments. And then, just for good measure, as you go outside, there are 2 barns – one of which shows all the signs of having been a house – and could easily become one again – and, opposite it, an open fronted barn that makes a vast outside dining and relaxing area. We just couldn’t believe the potential of this property, just steps from the village market and bars, yet feeling as private as the best beautiful country setting. Best of both worlds!
The house is currently shared by a brother and sister – and each have their own, totally independent, personal apartments (homes really, they are so roomy) within the property. You could easily split the accommodation further and have three independent areas which adds scope to continue to be a property shared between family members, or a group of friends or could provide a serious income stream from two units whilst keeping your own space totally private. Plus, were you to reinstate the left hand barn as another liveable space, you would either have a vast family home or the scope for an even larger income stream. The interior is immaculate throughout, and utterly charming, Jennifer and I both adore it. As you climb the steps from the front door, you arrive to the first floor landing of the first house with a well appointed, light filled kitchen to your right and a large bedroom with tons of closet space to your left. Both of these rooms access the lovely balcony lining the front facade. Morning coffee on a sunny day?!
Behind these rooms are the salon with chimney, looking out over the gardens at the back of the property and also the well appointed shower room and toilette. Because the owners are related, they have left access to the second “apartment” open to the main hallway at this level.
The second “apartment” is arranged over three floors with the main salon at this first floor level. Upstairs are the three bedrooms, two with en suite shower rooms. There is a room set aside to create a third bathroom for the remaining bedroom to finish to the new owner’s taste. Back down to ground floor level, you arrive into a wonderful small salon that leads directly out to the gardens… sun drenched with a café table and two chairs for taking your morning coffee and croissant whilst planning which farmer’s market to visit for the day or which Cathar chateau! The kitchen is wonderfully large with again a big window onto a small walled section of the garden – charming indeed – and has a second wood burner for this part of the house which makes this level just wonderfully light but cosy as well. Access to one garage and a small laundry / storage room is from the kitchen on this side, and the second garage and “front door” is found at the bottom of the stairs as you arrive at the second salon. Immensely practical.
And now for the gardens. Gorgeous, so well planned, so well gardened, a series of ” garden rooms ‘ flowing seamlessly one into the next. Leaving the house, the charming walled courtyard garden seen from the kitchen is found on the right, fitted with a lovely table and chairs to eat in the shade, and the first ” house ” barn immediately to your left. A tiny bit further and you have a much larger, classic, part-walled courtyard garden. Opposite the open fronted right hand barn you find a small raised bed vegetable garden before passing into the main garden, laid to gravel and richly planted. ( Last time I saw anything this good the wonderful Beth Chatto had designed it ) Finally, through a green door with wisteria arching over, you arrive into your very own field, planted with fruit trees. As an added bonus double, wrought iron garden gates lead to the canal cut that dates from the days when water power turned millstones and a track (passable by car or small lorry) that provides an invaluable back entrance to the property.
This is the sort of outside space that usually goes with a farmhouse, not a property where you can walk to the shops and bar/restaurants of this lovely village. And it is a lovely village – St Colombe Sur l’Hers – one of our favorites, friendly, welcoming, a seriously nice Mairie and with lots going on in the summer – part of the Music en Quercorb concert series in summer – everything from classical to flamenco – plus an Agricultural Show in the Village Hall. There is something for everyone – and Lac de Montbel about 5 minutes away.
We really love this property and recommend it totally. The gardens are the icing on an already seriously good cake. We feel that this is a fabulous buy and so unique to find in a village setting. We look forward to visiting with you.