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“The Archetype of the Country House” in Saint-Julien-le-Petit, France

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“The Archetype of the Country House” in Saint-Julien-le-Petit, France

August 5, 2022

Come August, the French tradition is to close up shop, put a fermé sign in the window, and retreat en vacances—often out of the hot cities and to the country, where the days are slower and life can take a little pause.

A month off is an unrealistic luxury for most, but there are lessons to be learned from this annual practice of prioritizing rest. Today’s house tour, in the commune of Saint-Julien-le-Petit, Haute-Vienne, France, explores the spirit of the archetypical country house. Built for a private client, and with influences ranging from Japan to modernist Californian architecture, French studio Ciguë created a stripped-back escape, “a place in which you live carefree and unconfined, in direct contact with the landscape, surrounded by bare necessities.” A place of rest.

Come see.

Photography by Maris Mezulis, courtesy of Ciguë.

&#8\2\20;this wooden house scrupulously chooses its land, its exposure, its 9
Above: “This wooden house scrupulously chooses its land, its exposure, its height, and its references (from Japanese architecture to Californian Case Study Houses) to revisit the archetype of the country house,” the studio says. It sits above an open, rambling field, a deviation in style from the area’s old stone houses.
the studio kept the material palette intentionally simple: the structure is mad 10
Above: The studio kept the material palette intentionally simple: The structure is made mostly from wood from the surrounding forests (which, the studio notes, have gradually grown over the area’s agricultural land). “Installed on removable steel foundations, and benefiting from large window openings, it is flooded with light and lives to the rhythm of the seasons according to bioclimatic principles,” the studio says. The exterior cladding is black stained larch wood, and the roof is galvanized corrugated iron.
an essential element of the country house: a wide wooden porch. 11
Above: An essential element of the country house: a wide wooden porch.
the 88 square meter (947 square foot) interiors were kept exceedingly simple. t 12
Above: The 88-square-meter (947-square-foot) interiors were kept exceedingly simple. The floor is made from calcium sulphate (widely used in Europe, it’s known for being eco-friendly, recyclable, fire- and moisture-resistant, and highly insulating); the walls are Fermacell (made from recycled materials); and the kitchen and shelving are spruce.
large windows keep the focus on the ever changing landscape outside. 13
Above: Large windows keep the focus on the ever-changing landscape outside.
a corner of the simple kitchen. note the drawer pull cut outs in the spruce cab 14
Above: A corner of the simple kitchen. Note the drawer-pull cut-outs in the spruce cabinetry, used in lieu of hardware.
the house has a camp like feel, complete with a camp cot for summer afternoon n 15
Above: The house has a camp-like feel, complete with a camp cot for summer afternoon naps.
the cloud like bedroom, all in white. 16
Above: The cloud-like bedroom, all in white.
basic yellow folding chairs somehow look considered on the front porch. 17
Above: Basic yellow folding chairs somehow look considered on the front porch.

In Progress

the team installs the oversized windows. the house is equipped with blown in ce 18
Above: The team installs the oversized windows. The house is equipped with blown-in cellulose thermal insulation.
the walls going up. 19
Above: The walls going up.

Voila: an unplugged, quiet place to retreat.

Take a look at more minimal escapes we love:

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