Jordan Feilders is the American who introduced California-style artisanal burger and taco trucks to Paris. He was newly arrived from San Francisco in 2012 when he rolled out his mobile catering business, Cantine California, which made such a splash that Anthony Bourdain paid an enthusiastic visit and The New York Times reported: “Food Trucks in Paris? U.S. Cuisine Finds Open Minds, and Mouths.” Cantine California continues, but Feilders and his French wife, Tatiana Dupond, the parents of two young girls, now divide their time between Paris and Normandy, where they’ve been fixing up a 19th century house and outbuildings situated along the Seine.
Now complete and just 100 kilometers from Paris, Riverside House is set up as a B&B for group (or pod) getaways and events: reservations are available for a minimum of four rooms and a maximum of seven. Feilders oversaw the remodel and likes to think of the results as California style in the French countryside. To us, it feels very Gallic—and appealing. Take a look.
Photography courtesy of Riverside House.
“It’s in a style known as maison bourgeouise,” explains Feilders, “My impression is the combination was for people moving their way up the economic ladder, who could afford a mix of stone (traditionally a more noble material in France) and brick (a more working-class option).” The century-old roof tiles are clay; Feilders installed new zinc gutters to match the originals.
A major first task was redoing the electricity and plumbing, and adding central heating and insulation: “Traditionally, French country houses are freezing,” says Feilders. “I had 30 centimeters of insulation added to all the ceilings.” He recruited a local crew: “masons, electrician, plumber, metal workers, all based within 30 kilometers of us.” And Feilders himself was on-site daily: ” I’d had hands-on renovation experience in Paris, plus a lifetime hobby of building forts in the woods.”
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N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on April 1, 2019.