So, are you ready to go for a ride? A wild one? Ok, then come along but I will ask you to put on your most Open-Minded Glasses to clear your vision. They are critical for enjoying the show.
As our house-hunting deadline accelerates rapidly, I am spending more time everyday on the internet, looking at ads with all of the intensity of a witch trying to conjure a magic potion. All of the truly interesting properties - either to rent or to buy - disappear like lightning. And yet, there was one that lingered that I just couldn't ignore, I wanted to go see it. An appointment was made.
We arrived in a neighborhood that we knew nothing of - very unusual as Arles is not that big and I cover a lot of ground on my walks with the dogs - to find what by all appearances is a traditional Provençal farmhouse in the middle of town with a very large courtyard in front and an attached garage.
Now, to say that the...decor...in the courtyard is...unusual...is an understatement. Wait, did you already take your glasses off? Please put them back on and step inside.
To the left of the entry, is a very large living room with French doors leading to the courtyard. It was filled with light but as the owner was there, I had trouble photographing it so this photo is borrowed from the charming real estate agent. Underneath the crêpi on the walls is gorgeous stone waiting to be revealed.
A fire was roaring in the poêle à bois that had been newly installed and a good thing too as it is the only source of heat for the house!
Ah, just a tad rustic. Such as the pipe descending by the front door...
But there is a charming staircase and again, all of that pretty stone so close and yet so far...
...not to mention very interesting 1930's ceramic tiles and a sleeping pupper on the entry floor.
Remi was fascinated by the stone surrounds on the doorways, dating from the 18th century, most likely.
Ok, are you ready? Hold your breath and dive in...
...to the kitchen! Ta-dah! Oh, I so wish that I could see the look on your face right now.
But here is the kicker. The kitchen has enormous potential.
It is far bigger than I could capture and would be just gorgeous once the stone is uncovered and say, oh something wacky like cabinets were installed.
Back in the hallway, a door that looks as though it is from the beginning of time opens on to...
...a long thin storage space that runs the entire length of la maison, one that has been divided and redivided many times - more of that in a bit.
The roof of the space could be easily replaced with glass to make a lovely veranda.
Up the twisting stairs and you arrive to see...
...Not one but two toilets! hehehe Oh, I am enjoying this. For the house originally was shared between two families that agreed to share the staircase! I told you there was history in Arles...
To the right, is the first bedroom...
...filled with light and larger than it looks.
We don't need to mention the bathroom.
And to the right is a positively huge room...
...that had been cut in two with a partition (the position of the bed is different in the second photo)...
...in order to create a bathroom and dressing area.
Underneath the linoleum lies lovely tomettes tiles, just waiting to breathe again.
And downstairs off the kitchen is a big garage that looks onto the courtyard. That iron door could be replaced by a glass and steel frame to make this Remi's office.
See? Here is the angle of the house showing the garage. But what is that you ask?
The possible veranda as seen from above. I'm sorry I can't hear you. You are asking...what is that just beyond?
Oh, that would be...the train tracks.
Dun, dun, dun, duuun. Yep, they are right there. Several trains passed while we were visiting the house and oddly, it wasn't that loud at all. But of course, it would mean the house is unsellable and explains why it has been on the market for nine months.
Now. Here is the question - and I ask you to be polite in your answers please - can you see the potential that Remi and I saw? Because we really did. Or maybe you would have to have lived in Provence as long as we have in order to know. Because it is there. The agent is determined to keep trying until she finds just the right people to bring it back to life.
That won't be us but we would have been sorely tempted if it weren't for the proximity to Choochoo Land. It was a fascinating little trip back in time. I hope that you enjoyed it.
We are ramping up the visits. We saw an absolutely stunning rental last week that is sadly, too small (we have non-negotiable things to consider with Remi's equipment and the printer for the gallery). And we have two visits today, one for a rental, another for sale. Yes, I will keep you posted.
Have a wonderful week, everyone!