Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Chez Robinson

We lived in England for seven and a half years in the 80's and one of the treasures we have retained from that chapter in our lives is the friendship with Len and Sylvia Robinson. We traveled with them on many occasions over those few years, enjoyed frequent dinners back and forth, and lots of exposure to English village life. Several years ago the Robinson's retired to a small hamlet in rural southwestern France, and refurbished an 1800's Charantais farmhouse. 
Living in this house is like living in the pages of a book on historic rural French homes. The stone walls are 2 feet thick, the tile roof and blue shutters are required by the local authority for historical authenticity, and the rolling hills surrounding the hamlet are thickly planted with grapes, sunflowers and maize.
The previous owners of the house at some point in history made wine, and there are rusted bits and pieces which serve as reminders of that era around the property. Both Sylv and Len enjoy gardening, and have a natural affinity for what sorts of plants belong in this setting.

The naturally occurring rock of the region, a limestone with nodules of flint, iron and quartz geodes litters the garden, and forms a rockery in the pool area. A bench made from an old wine barrel nestles under the fig tree against the ivy hedge. 

Inside , the house invites the visitor to wander from room to room, as if turning the pages of a book, but enjoying it in 3-d pop up. 

The welcoming entry hall greets you, with its massive ancient fireplace, interesting furnishings and artwork. 

The dining hall, as seen from the mezzanine above,  opens onto another garden in the front of the house. 

A little day bed tucked under the stairwell in the dining room.

Massive beams and sofas on the mezzanine which serves as an overflow sleeping area. 
Stairwell leading to the mezzanine and bedrooms on the upper floor. 
Vignette behind the seating area in the sitting room. 
Sylvia in her kitchen. 
The exterior wall on the corner of the barn with a Virginia creeper type vine. The thick walls and sturdy construction offer a cool respite from the hot sun.

We are truly blessed to be invited here to spend time with such long time friends, and share this beautifully accommodating home. Life in this part of France truly is tres jolie! 

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