Provence

A home for easy living

Today I would like to tell you about a beautiful and a very inspirational home in Provence, France.  Its owner, Marina, once came to the region while traveling and fell in love with the area. Later she created here a home which is due to the circumstances is away from her roots, most of her family and friends. It is a unique story of how a love for a particular place builds a true home where you are eager to come back time after time.

The home is  filled with lots of fascinating interior details and stories which I hope will give you new ideas and thoughts.

”This corner combined turquoise and burgundy colors which you can meet all over the house. And on the background there is a painting which I love very much. It is a work of the English artist James Mackeown which I found at one of the galleries in France.”

My little collectionI love carafes and water bottles. It started with buying one of them and then a couple more. One day I arranged it on a tray and realized that they look really beautiful together.”

“The collection of copper dishes serves a decorative purpose because they are too old to be used. But they are perfect for hiding very bright lights bulbs inside the basket.”

“I call it a men’s corner: spoons, measuring glasses, shakers, forks for cocktails and a lemon squeezer in the shape of a duck.  I bought this silver cocktail accessory at one of the flea markets because I thought it looked interesting. 

“I first bought one cup and a saucer and wanted to find at least one more. With a time thanks to EBay I bought eight. I really like the ivy patterns. It is interesting that while it is British china, I found all the other cups overseas. I wonder how they got there.”


What is a home?

It is funny that you ask about it. I was flying back here from Moscow several weeks ago, and was thinking exactly about that: what is home? Where is my home? And what turns a house into a home. I was flying from the city where I was born, where I had spent most of my life, where my parents still live, where my husband was staying working on a project in our very cozy apartment which has been home to us for a number of years. I was flying into the country where I am a foreigner, where I have very few friends, where no one is waiting for me except my dog, the cat and the house!

Many years ago, when my parents lived in Greece and my daughter was staying with them, on my second visit I had a feeling I was coming home, so I very easily accepted the formula “Home is where my family is”.

Now it is not that straightforward. The family is in three different places, and this house, that we have been living in for about 10 years now, is definitely THE HOME for me.  I miss it when I am away; I get upset when my husband calls it “just a holiday home”… I like giving it presents (I noticed that buying something the house gives me more pleasure that a pair of shoes for myself, for example). I worry when something goes wrong in it and needs repairs. I guess I just love it!

What was your inspiration while creating a home?

It started with my husband’s business trip to this part of the world (funny, because people mostly associate the South of France with leisure, not business) and then with me discovering lavender fields, falling in love with the warmth of old stones at sunset, with a myriad of different fragrances in the air and with  bold colors which somehow look totally natural here.  This place made me feel happy and at home! So, we started looking for our house. And all the houses, all the beautiful villages we visited along the way, during that ‘search’, they became an inspiration.

Strangely, we did not find our future house; it was the house that found us! It sort of jumped at me and cried out to me “Look! Here I am!” from the photo in the window of a real estate agency, when I wasn’t even looking, just hurrying to the underground parking.   So I stopped, walked back into the agency, looked at it again and, to cut the long story short, pretty soon we were united!

Can you describe your home in three words?

It is very light, airy, and warm. Or a “house for easy living”. I prefer to think about it as a house, not a villa.

What do you do first after coming home?

I open all the shutters and windows, and step out on the balcony to ‘inhale’ the surroundings, both the air and the view.  Our house sits on top of the hill, and we have more than 180-degree amazing view over the bay, the town and the mountains. It is kind of a ritual for me, making sure that everything stays exactly as I left it. I find the setting so perfect that I do not like the changes: the other day our neighbors below trimmed their pines and they became more see-through. I wasn’t happy.

What is it missing and what would you like to add?

It is missing kid’s laughs and stamps. We love when friends with kids are visiting and looking forward to having grandkids.

Do you have a favorite place at home?

Bedroom, because of our balcony with that incredible view and it also has lots of sun.

And kitchen as well is my favorite. It is cozy, spacious, and full of light and makes me cook all the time.

With what smell do you associate your home with?

The smells are seasonal and mostly come from the garden. There is a smell of mimosas at the end of winter and the beginning of spring.  There is a smell of Provence herbs at the beginning of summer and then the smell of lavender. Autumn usually brings the smell of pies and winter – a smell of burning wood in the fire place. The fresh aroma of pine trees meets you all year around.

And what about sound?

The barking of our dog Emilie, who despite the small size took the role of “protector of the property and everyone on it” is the dominating sound. When she is off duty, small birds’ twitter is non-stop, sometimes we can hear wild doves that live on a big pine tree and fly down to drink from our pool. There is an occasional screeching sound from a squirrel. But when summer comes, there is one sound that stands out: cicadas (like a large cricket) this one is my favorites!

Photography by Anna Kaminova

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