The hill­side views, sunny cli­mate and spa­cious liv­ing ar­eas were enough to per­suade these home­own­ers to move to France per­ma­nently

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - Fea­ture EMMA J PAGE | Pho­tog­ra­phy HE­LEN CATHCART

When Katie Lyons sets the ta­ble for lunch un­der the shade of an olive tree, all that can be heard is a splash of wa­ter from the pool and the call of bird­song. It is hard to be­lieve that this oa­sis of pine trees and lemon­grass is just 15 min­utes on foot to the town cen­tre in Nice, and a hop and a skip from the beach.

It is a far cry from the hec­tic Lon­don life that Katie and her hus­band Oli left be­hind four years ago, when they made a tem­po­rary move to the South of France, so that Oli could com­plete a mas­ter’s de­gree. ‘By the time Oli’s course fin­ished, we had fallen in love with the re­gion and were used to a life that was more in tune with the out­doors,’ says Katie. They be­gan to look at prop­er­ties, and it was when they viewed a villa with a beau­ti­ful tiered gar­den that they knew they had found their next home. ‘It was on a hill­side with stun­ning views of the val­ley and com­pletely se­cluded – we both adored it.’

Katie and Oli bought the villa and set about ren­o­vat­ing it, mak­ing the view their first pri­or­ity. ‘ We de­cided to re­place the orig­i­nal front door with glazed, steel-framed, floor-to-ceil­ing doors so that even when in­side we’d feel con­nected to the gar­den.’ Then they turned the ground floor into a sep­a­rate apart­ment for vis­it­ing friends and fam­ily, while re­con­fig­ur­ing

the first-floor space, knock­ing down walls to make an open-plan area that has be­come the so­cial hub of the house.

Once the works were com­plete, Katie and Oli, with their new­born daugh­ter Lila, now two, felt they had cre­ated an ideal in­te­rior space for a fam­ily, and turned their at­ten­tion to the gar­den, adding a ter­race and an un­der­stated plunge pool.

Na­ture’s warm and earthy tones are re­flected in­side the house, with a lush palm print wall­pa­per in the main bed­room and a burnt or­ange-painted wall in the bath­room. Else­where, chalky painted walls and lime-washed beams are the per­fect back­drop for the cou­ple’s col­lec­tion of vin­tage finds, such as the tres­tle ta­ble in the hall, made from an old door, and a din­ing ta­ble that once be­longed to a French monastery.

The cou­ple’s foray into in­te­ri­ors has prompted a new ca­reer and they re­cently bought and ren­o­vated a his­toric prop­erty in Saint Paul de Vence, called La Mi­ette, which was once owned by cel­e­brated French writer Jac­ques Prévert It is now an Airbnb

. home-from-home for friends, fam­ily and guests.

But it is their own home and gar­den that still holds Katie and Oli cap­tive. ‘Hear­ing the birds and see­ing na­ture at such close quar­ters is a great lev­eller,’ re­flects Katie. ‘ Wor­ries melt away when you look out on a land­scape like this. It’s just per­fect.’

KITCHEN Katie opted for sim­ple cabi­netry in here, so that the out­door view would take cen­tre stage. Vic­to­ria metal bar stools, £89 each, Cult Fur­ni­ture, would recre­ate this look. Paxo pen­dant lights, £165 each, Hol­loways of Lud­low, are sim­i­lar

GAR­DEN The din­ing ter­race also boasts a dip­ping pool. For sim­i­larly ele­gant out­door ta­ble sets, try Lazy Su­san, priced from around £500

MAIN BED­ROOM A bold palm print wall­pa­per en­livens this other­wise neu­tral scheme. Palmeral wall­pa­per, £185 a roll, house of hack­ney. Find mid-cen­tury iron wall sconces, from £127 each, at etsy. bot­tle vase, £35, Cox & Cox, is a match

BATH­ROOM A bé­ton ciré (waxed con­crete) wall in burnt or­ange is in tune with the villa’s Mediter­ranean set­ting. C P hart’s water­loo eight-inch over­head shower, £138, has this look

LILA’S BED­ROOM Soft plas­ter pink walls cre­ate a rest­ful feel in this sim­ply fur­nished room. Aurora Vita eos feather lamp­shade in white, from £69, gra­ham and green, is near iden­ti­cal

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