when we last left off I was resting on the mezanine having been told by the 85 year old proprietaire that climbing the never ending stairs in our future maison de village would be good for my rear end. If you weren’t climbing along with me you can read part one here.
Leaving the mezanine we climb 6 steps and go outside, where we immediately turn to the left and go back inside to find the kitchen. A very pink kitchen and a half-ish bath. Back outside and up another flight of stairs we are now at garden level. Madamoiselle built a separate stone building on this level with her bedroom and bath. It also included a toilet for garden workers and a utility room. From this level there were panoramic views to the north and east and south… and sun and trees. Across a stone terrace to another bedroom/bath sequestered into the rock cliff with a terrace above that’s accessed by another set of stairs. And from this terrace I followed Madamoiselle up yet more steps to the top of the cliff where we had a 360 degree view of the entire Luberon valley.
I like an architectural challenge and by some accounts this was olympian, not to mention the olympic fitness requirements of the stair climbs. In a hilltop village such as ours, finding property with a real garden and views from both house and garden is very rare. The house either had tremendous potential and no one had had the vision to see it, or I was crazy. Maybe both, so call me crazy.
Our plan went something like this: the first task was to remove the roof from space at ground floor to create an interior courtyard entrance to the house. Next up (and I mean that in a very literal way!) a redistribution of space. The bedroom at the top became the kitchen, the kitchen became the bedroom. It sounds so simple when you type it but it was anything but. Next on the program: connect all the pieces under one roof and add additional living space. And finally a pool on one side and a garden on the other.
Inside, outside, upside… wait, the pivotal word here is up. Up with the claw foot tub, up with hundreds of square feet of stone and tile, up with the frigo Americaine, up with the cement, the sand and the plaster. Helicopter anyone?
We signed for this house close to four years ago and the majority of the work on the interior of the house is finally finished. My husband and I are grands bricoleurs (big do it yourself-ers) and although we’ve had help from artisans and several strong backs along the way, this project has stretched our skills in ways I could have never imagined. It’s a small house with lots of outdoor living space, so how could it possibly have taken so long? Oh, the stories I will tell… unless they threaten a nervous breakdown. Sometimes it’s just better to look forward.