When Timothee Mercier, of architectural practice Extra Medium parents’ purchased land in South of France’s Vaucluse department in the early 2000s. There was a small farmhouse that had been weathering away for more than a decade. It stood on a hill, fading comfortably into the landscape.
When his parents approached Timothee to rebuild it, it was still soft in its ruinous state, a reminder of the qualities of its surroundings. Throughout the two years that followed, he worked to bring it back to life, infusing it with the monastic qualities that make this valley so special.
“Respectful of its surroundings the house was designed to be an intimate refuge buried in the hills – one that would respect the site and the architectural history of the region. The site itself is very intimate. The house sits at the base of a small, tree-covered hill in the middle of the French country-side. When summer comes around it gets progressively nestled in the forest, without ever losing views of the vineyard below”, says Mercier .
The existing structure was carefully dismembered in phases. The footprint and envelope were revised but stayed very much in keeping with the proportions of the old farmhouse. More than a simple reconstruction, this house was imagined as a renewal, emphasizing the house’s quirks and lending voice to careful craftsmanship. The studio took cues from surrounding architecture and amplified them. Most walls are finished with “chaux”, a local lime plaster that leaves the surface textured and uneven. The casework was drawn plainly and is almost entirely carved from regionally sourced oak. The tiles on the roof are “tuiles anciennes”, some more than 30 years old, ranging in colour from green to red. The simplicity of this house speaks volumes and pays respect to the original building and craftsmanship.