A mere three-and-a-half years ago, artist Heather Chontos purchased—sight unseen—a run-down 18th-century farmhouse in Southwest France. During a year of lockdown, using found and vintage materials, Heather entirely refashioned the place as her own, transforming it Bloomsbury style into an extension of her art.
For Heather, who grew up in Upstate NY, the biggest appeal of the property was the fact that it came with a 17th-century stone barn twice as big as the house: a dream studio. We recently featured Heather’s living quarters; we’re returning now to tour her enormous creative space.
We had to act fast: Heather isn’t someone who stays put. After nonstop work perfecting the property—the first she’s ever owned—Heather says she’s ready for her next big project: “I feel like I finished my story here and I need to create a new story. It’s as simple as that.” Last March, Heather announced on Instagram (@hchontos) that she was ready to sell her compound directly to someone who will love it as is, serious queries only. She fielded 150 responses and the place ended up going to a friend, a fellow artist Heather “met on a barstool in Brooklyn 20 years ago,” who will share it with his father.
Heather and the younger of her two daughters, meanwhile, are in residence a bit longer—real estate deals in France require months of paperwork—and they welcomed us back.
Heather planted lavender, herbs galore, squash, radishes, and pumpkins (“I eat pumpkin religiously”), wisteria (that’s what’s growing on the arbors), and bay leaf, plum, apricot, mimosa, olive, and cypress trees —”I just wanted to see what would grow.” She hired a traditional stone mason, a neighbor she coaxed out of retirement, to install the barn windows: “It required old-school structural work, so amazing to watch. The window frames are made from cut stone; the oak at the top are old beams from the barn.”
The Viewing Room
The Studio Loft
Studio/Yoga Room/Guest Loft
Next: Heather and her daughter and their menagerie are moving to Marvao, Portugal, just over the border from Spain opposite Lisbon. Heather is working with an architect to build a rammed earth house on three hectares (7.4 acres) of land in a national park filled with centuries-old cork trees, : “I’m very excited to be starting afresh with a blank slate.” Meanwhile, tour her French living quarters.
Here are three more artists at home:
- 1,000 Square Feet on a Budget: An Artist’s Loft in North London
- Artist Residence: Patricia Larsen Used Salvaged Materials to Reinvent Her Mexican Casa
- Studio Visit: A Botanical Artist’s Farmhouse Atelier in the UK
Frequently asked questions
Who is the artist featured in the article?
The artist featured in the article is Heather Chontos.
Where is Heather Chontos' studio located?
Heather Chontos' studio is located in a stone barn in Southwest France.
What type of art does Heather Chontos create?
Heather Chontos creates abstract paintings.
How long has Heather Chontos been an artist?
Heather Chontos has been an artist for over 20 years.
What is unique about Heather Chontos' studio space?
Heather Chontos' studio space is situated in a renovated stone barn, providing a rustic and charming environment.
Does Heather Chontos use any specific techniques in her paintings?
Yes, Heather Chontos often employs gestural brushwork and layering techniques in her paintings.
Can visitors visit Heather Chontos' studio?
The article does not mention if visitors can visit Heather Chontos' studio.
Where can I see more of Heather Chontos' artwork?
You can see more of Heather Chontos' artwork on her website or social media profiles, which are not mentioned in the article.