Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

The New Provencal Style: An Artfully Reinvented French Mas

Search

The New Provencal Style: An Artfully Reinvented French Mas

October 18, 2017

In Provence, traditional working farmhouses (known as mas) often evolved over time into sprawling, self-sufficient compounds that accommodated both people and animals. They were constructed of local stone with terracotta roof tiles, and always built facing south to fend off the mistral blowing in from the north.

The owners of this prime example, situated in Les Baux de Provence, a 15-minute drive from Arles, acquired it from the family that had lived in it since the 18th century. In recent decades, however, the structures had fallen into disrepair, and when LSL Architects were called in, they devoted several years to restoring and refurbishing the structure and grounds, and then were called back in to fully detail the interior. “The house had been poorly renovated in the fifties with the addition of windows and doors that had nothing to do with its identity,” explains LSL Architects’s Anki Linde, who says the extensive work that she and her partner (and husband), Pierre Saalburg, did—including removing those “suffocating wall renderings” and installing new windows and doors where they were meant to be—was a case of finding the house’s “lost identity.” But the two architects also inventively gave the place a contemporary outlook and a new purpose as a multigenerational compound. Join us for a look around.

Photography by Katrin Vierkant, unless noted, all courtesy of LSL Architects.

The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas The mas initially consisted of two houses with a corrugated roof in the middle that served as a shed for horse carriages and later tractors. Saalburg, who oversaw the initial structural phase of the remodel, introduced a new connecting addition, the lien, faced with slatted cedar.
Above: The mas initially consisted of two houses with a corrugated roof in the middle that served as a shed for horse carriages and later tractors. Saalburg, who oversaw the initial structural phase of the remodel, introduced a new connecting addition, the lien, faced with slatted cedar.

An international firm with offices in Paris and Stockholm (Saalburg is French and Linde is Swedish), LSL worked with local builders and carpenters who, they note, “used traditional ways of restoration.” The house belongs to a couple with two grown children, who frequently are all in residence. The owners’ home office and private quarters are in the smaller structure.

The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas Sliding cedar screens in the living area filter in natural light. The cedar slats on the adjacent connecting wing are divided into doors that pivot open at varying angles.
Above: Sliding cedar screens in the living area filter in natural light. The cedar slats on the adjacent connecting wing are divided into doors that pivot open at varying angles.
The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas The entry features restored terrazzo stairs and brown and white tiles from Carocim of Aix en Provence, specialists in classic cement tiles. The oak hanging rack is vintage.
Above: The entry features restored terrazzo stairs and brown-and-white tiles from Carocim of Aix-en-Provence, specialists in classic cement tiles. The oak hanging rack is vintage.

In addition to restoring the house’s infrastructure, the architects introduced refinements, such as under-floor heating and an energy-efficient cooling system.

The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas The living room is flooded with natural light and has a restored original fireplace with new mantel.
Above: The living room is flooded with natural light and has a restored original fireplace with new mantel.

The house’s variety of windows are all custom—they’re wood-framed and flanked by interior wooden shutters on the south side, shown here, and metal-framed (and minimalist) on the wind-battered north side.

outsided lampshade les baux de provence lslarchitects katrin vierkant
Above: One of the two owners of the house designed the swing light with outsized paper shade; the slice of ebony is a tabletop used as art.
The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas The dining room is lined with art by family and friends—a picture ledge makes it easy to change up the display. Rattan chairs surround a table for \10.
Above: The dining room is lined with art by family and friends—a picture ledge makes it easy to change up the display. Rattan chairs surround a table for 10.

Looking for rattan furniture? See Trend Alert: Rattan Made Modern.

The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas The room has a concrete resin floor that steps up to the kitchen, which is outfitted with a built in, glass doored refrigerator surrounded by glazed cabinetry and a rolling ladder. The Carrara marble island that overlooks the dining room faces a central island with under cabinets made of zinc.
Above: The room has a concrete resin floor that steps up to the kitchen, which is outfitted with a built-in, glass-doored refrigerator surrounded by glazed cabinetry and a rolling ladder. The Carrara marble island that overlooks the dining room faces a central island with under cabinets made of zinc.

The walls throughout are unpainted plaster set off  by painted ceilings and trim—they’re light blue here and in the living room, and white elsewhere.

The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas Minimalist wooden stairs lead to the lien, the connecting room between the two houses, which is used as a gallery style living space with a workspace on a mezzanine.
Above: Minimalist wooden stairs lead to the lien, the connecting room between the two houses, which is used as a gallery-style living space with a workspace on a mezzanine.
The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas In the passageway outside the master bedroom and bath, a complex construction of stacked birch plywood cabinets with cutout door pulls creates a dressing area.
Above: In the passageway outside the master bedroom and bath, a complex construction of stacked birch plywood cabinets with cutout door pulls creates a dressing area.
The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas When the old wallpaper was removed, the glue used to apply it left behind the fresco like X shapes that now pattern this bedroom.
Above: When the old wallpaper was removed, the glue used to apply it left behind the fresco-like X shapes that now pattern this bedroom.

There are six bedrooms in total, and each family member weighed in on the look and color choices for his or her quarters. All doors in the house, including the wood-paneled example shown here, are new.

The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas Remnants of the \1950s renovation were preserved, such as this bathroom&#8\2\17;s enameled cast iron tub. The checked cement tiles were also existing, but had to be removed, cleaned, and relaid to work with the room&#8\2\17;s new configuration.
Above: Remnants of the 1950s renovation were preserved, such as this bathroom’s enameled cast-iron tub. The checked cement tiles were also existing, but had to be removed, cleaned, and relaid to work with the room’s new configuration.

Note the window frame over the tub: “The shape is convex in the bathroom and concave in the adjoining corridor,” says Linde. “I designed it to give light and a bit of fun to the staircase landing, and to give the bathroom that little extra touch.”

The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas  A floating pedestal sink, Volevatch&#8\2\17;s Neoclassique, stands in front of a window with gray shutters. (For the low down on interior shutters, see our Remodeling \10\1 post.)
Above: A floating pedestal sink, Volevatch’s Neoclassique, stands in front of a window with gray shutters. (For the low-down on interior shutters, see our Remodeling 101 post.)

The antique towel rack adds warmth to the space and allows the walls to be free of rods and hooks.

The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas A low commitment way to introduce color: a bedcover and headrest with tufted cushions brighten an all white small bedroom.
Above: A low-commitment way to introduce color: a bedcover and headrest with tufted cushions brighten an all-white small bedroom.
The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas The architects fitted the master bath with a double trough sink fabricated locally by a marbrier (who also built the kitchen island). The bathtub is set into an oak bench that extends under the sink.
Above: The architects fitted the master bath with a double trough sink fabricated locally by a marbrier (who also built the kitchen island). The bathtub is set into an oak bench that extends under the sink.
The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas The same Carocim cement tiling in the entry reappears in a bedroom with a sculptural mantel. &#8\2\20;All of the fireplaces have been slightly modified to a design the owners loved; they all rest in their original locations and are functional,&#8\2\2\1; says Linde.
Above: The same Carocim cement tiling in the entry reappears in a bedroom with a sculptural mantel. “All of the fireplaces have been slightly modified to a design the owners loved; they all rest in their original locations and are functional,” says Linde.

A mirrored screen hides the sink area in the en suite bathroom.

The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas Located off the laundry, a luxe linen closet has glass fronted, lacquered pine cabinets with pullout lower shelves.
Above: Located off the laundry, a luxe linen closet has glass-fronted, lacquered pine cabinets with pullout lower shelves.

Floor Plans

The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas LSL Architects completely redesigned the interior, devising an airy setup in which the living and dining areas flow into each other. The new passageway to the second structure forms an L shaped addition that serves as the owners&#8\2\17; quarters.
Above: LSL Architects completely redesigned the interior, devising an airy setup in which the living and dining areas flow into each other. The new passageway to the second structure forms an L-shaped addition that serves as the owners’ quarters.
The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas The second floor is divided into six bedrooms, each with its own bath, plus the laundry room and linen closet. The main structure is approximately 400 square meters (4,305 square feet) and the addition is approximately 85 square meters (9\15 square feet).
Above: The second floor is divided into six bedrooms, each with its own bath, plus the laundry room and linen closet. The main structure is approximately 400 square meters (4,305 square feet) and the addition is approximately 85 square meters (915 square feet).

Before

The New Provencal Style An Artfully Reinvented French Mas  When the farm was purchased, it hadn&#8\2\17;t been updated since the fifties. &#8\2\20;The vegetation was so overgrown, you couldn&#8\2\17;t see parts of the house,&#8\2\2\1; says Linde, who notes that the new stone walls the firm introduced (see first photo) were built around—and in some cases incorporate—mature trees.
Above: When the farm was purchased, it hadn’t been updated since the fifties. “The vegetation was so overgrown, you couldn’t see parts of the house,” says Linde, who notes that the new stone walls the firm introduced (see first photo) were built around—and in some cases incorporate—mature trees.

The farm is surrounded by an olive plantation that has also been completely renovated: The family is getting ready to harvest their first olives and press their first olive oil. See many more photos of the project at LSL Architects.

This post is an update; the original ran on July 10, 2017.

Go to A Week in Provence to explore another preserved mas. Also take a look at:

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0