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La Vie en Rose: A 12th-Century Poet’s Villa in St.-Paul de Vence, Restored for Modern Living

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La Vie en Rose: A 12th-Century Poet’s Villa in St.-Paul de Vence, Restored for Modern Living

February 15, 2018

The modern-day version of A Year in Provence? Three years ago British couple Katie and Oli Lyons left their jobs in London (she worked at Getty Images, he was in finance) and moved to Nice with the idea of starting a hospitality business. According to Katie, “By chance, one day we saw La Miette for sale in a local property magazine. We already knew St.-Paul de Vence well as my family had been coming on and off for 20 years to stay in the Hotel Colombe d’Or, and we’d visited St.-Paul many times since moving to Nice. We knew that property situated within the atmospheric confines of the medieval walls surrounding the village very rarely came up for sale.

“We organized a viewing immediately, without knowing La Miette’s connection with Jacques Prévert, the French poet, writer, and screenwriter, who lived in the apartment in the 1940s. As we approached it, we fell in love with it before we’d even walked in the front door. Oli studied Prévert during his French studies at both school and university, and the moment he saw the La Miette plaque above the front door, we realized that it was a property with an illustrious history. By a stroke of luck, our long-term tenant in London was just about to move out of our place, so we decided to sell it to buy La Miette—we signed for it straight after the first viewing. The interiors were incredibly tired, and tragically many of the original features were hidden behind cheap modern decor. We took it upon ourselves to restore it to its former glory, with a goal of preserving the old Provençal style; the idea was to create a simple but very comfortable space, for people to feel like have they stepped back in time while keeping all of the mod cons.”

Join us for a tour.

N.B.: The house is available for rent on Airbnb.

Photography by Helen Cathcart.

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Above: The exterior is covered in jasmine (and is one of the most Instagrammed houses in St.-Paul de Vence).
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Above: The living room has a huge open fireplace and ancient wood beams. “We used an old rustic, textured style of plastering, common in Provence, on all the walls to preserve the local style and character of the house,” Katie says.

“We sourced most of the furniture in the house in the brocante markets in the surrounding Provence area,” Katie says. “I love trawling the markets, hunting for pieces and giving them a new lease on life. As the building has such historical significance, we imagined living as Jacques Prévert did in that space, so furnishing it in classic antique Provençal pieces seemed like the right thing to do.”

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Above: Katie and Oli kept the original distressed terracotta floor tiles.
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Above: The Noon Sofa and Armchair are from La Redoute.
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Above: The dining area overlooks the mountains to the north.
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Above: “The tiling in the kitchen is all original; we spent a long time cleaning up the grout,” Katie says. (For more on the subject, see Remodeling 101: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Grout and Caulk.)
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Above: The bedding is 100 percent Pre-Washed French Linen sourced from La Redoute. “I love the soft and rustic feel this type of bedding gives to a bedroom, and I think it complements style of the house.” (For more sourcing ideas, see Trend Alert: 7 Sources for Colorful Washed Linen Sheets.)
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Above: The original tiled bath in one of the guest rooms is “very much in the traditional Provençal style,” Katie says.
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Above: “There’s something charming about old pieces of furniture, they have more soul,” Katie says.
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Above: The master bedroom has a Mereson Pre-Washed Linen Headboard Cover from La Redout.
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Above: “We used a soft, calming rose-orange color for the lime plaster in the master bedroom and the large, vaulted-ceiling bathroom,” Katie says. “The tiles are Moroccan Zellige tiles, sourced from Marseille.”

For more on French style, see:

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