‘Every day is a holiday,’
says interior designer Sylvie Langaud of the house she has designed and shares with her husband Alain, her parents and twentysomething children Bastien and Laura, who regularly visit from Bordeaux. Everything about the house, from its Atlantic coast location to its seaside fisherman-hut vibe, complete with clapperboard façade, whitewashed interiors and pops of deep-sea blue, resonates with the mood of les vacances.
‘When we first visited, the real attraction wasn’t the house – an old, haçienda-style building of no interest and too rundown to renovate – but the location,’ says Sylvie. ‘We walked into the garden and realised that because the house sits on top of a dune, we couldn’t see anyone else around,’ adds Alain. ‘It was very exciting.’
The couple have built or renovated more than eight houses over the years. ‘Each time, we’ve sold the furniture too, because it suited the space so well,’ says Alain, giving Sylvie (who works for interior design company Paule-m) the opportunity to start anew. With this house, she took its seaside location as her aesthetic inspiration.
Sylvie and Alain briefed architect Sandrine Mercurio, requesting ‘a wooden house based on the traditional oyster farmers’ huts in the area,’ says Sylvie, and embarked on the task in hand. Working with builders specialising in the wooden houses indigenous to the area, the painted cladding, slatted windows, beamed ceilings and sweeping verandas all reflect the local ambience. ‘We didn’t want a house that was too imposing,’ Sylvie explains, ‘which is why it’s spread out horizontally rather than over multiple floors and the break in the pitched roofs helps to soften the outline.’
This is Cap Ferret living at its best – just an hour and a half’s drive from the city of Bordeaux, surrounded by blue sea and sky and fine white sand – providing the Langauds with a home that’s not just for holidays but for everyday family life. The brief was clear – three generations must be able to live together. ‘We’re a close family and there are people coming and going all the time,’ says Alain.
The house has been designed with three distinct spaces to allow the family to easily spend time both together and apart. The ground floor has a large living room at its centre, leading into a spacious, practical kitchen that’s made for entertaining. Also attached is a special wing for Sylvie’s parents, giving them direct access to the garden. The first floor is Sylvie and Alain’s domain, with a large bedroom opening out on to a terrace with magnificient views of the surrounding countryside. In the grounds, Sylvie has created a cabin for Bastien and Laura, where they each have a bedroom and share a bathroom.
Sylvie has brought a soothing neutral backdrop of white, blue and grey to life using coastal touches such as woven materials like rattan and wicker, rough solid woods and textured linens. There are lamp shades reminiscent of fishing nets or cray pots, and clever high-street finds from Ikea and La Redoute sit alongside pared-back designer pieces by Paola Navone and local artisan Fabrice Pezon. ‘The overall feel is “chic and refined”,’ says Sylvie.
Oversized windows and terrace doors allow the light and ocean air to filter through, drawing in views of the outdoor pool and lush garden. The one thing that’s missing is a home office. ‘Nobody works here!’ says a laughing Alain, now retired from his career in insurance. ‘It’s a place to escape, rest and relax. We thought when we moved here we’d spend a lot of our time at the beach. But we like staying here. Our house has become a lifestyle!’
To learn more about Sylvie’s interior designs, visit paule-m.fr. See Studio Sandrine Mercurio’s portfolio at sandrinemercurio.com