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key description: French Cottage
year: Completed 2016
sqm: 135
area: Aveyron, France
client: Private Client 

Unit One Architects were appointed in conjunction with a French Architect, to design the alterations and refurbishments required to a small cottage.  The cottage was located in the hamlet of Cassuejouls , deep in the Aveyron countryside of France.  It was uninhabited for several years but in conjunction with adjoined old Granary building presented an excellent opportunity to create a family retreat.

The design brief:

  • Modernise and update the main house, leveraging the loft space.
  • Provide at least x3 bedrooms, and ideally x4 (to double as office/work space).
  • Fully update electric and heating capacity (eg ample sockets, sufficient lighting, energy efficient heating).
  • In-put technology (eg wi-fi, speakers).
  • Celebrate the rustic features of the annex while integrating them into the overall flow of the house.
  • Create large family living spaces, with enough smaller sleeping rooms for multiple guests.
  • Breathe new life into the house by maximizing overall space and natural light, and leveraging views of the surrounding countryside and village.
  • Develop ways to maintain privacy without appearing to withdraw from the community.
  • Establish a strong connection between the house and the garden.

Planning restrictions, the fact that the house is within a few meters of the village church, and the nature of old properties meant that the project was not without its challenges.

However, with a good local builder on board, and the client’s tasteful interior design, new life has been breathed into this once sad house, and they have created an amazing home away from home.