A stun­ning farm­house ren­o­va­tion in Tarn

Once upon a time, this Tarn farm­house was a ruin oc­cu­pied only by pigs, goats and cows, but just look at it now, says Ruth Wood

French Property News - - Contents - The prop­erty is on the mar­ket for €649,000 sifex.co.uk

Brave souls still snap up a ruin from time to time in France but most es­tate agents will tell you that wreck ren­o­va­tors are a rare breed these days. Why risk has­sle and heartache with a ma­jor project when so many beau­ti­fully ren­o­vated barns and farm­houses are read­ily avail­able and rel­a­tively af­ford­able?

The truth is that not many of us could look at a few crum­bling walls and tim­bers and en­vis­age a dream home, never mind create one. With only a sketched out­line on the can­vas, it prob­a­bly helps if you are an artist, like the Bri­tish land­scape pain­ter who bought and over­saw the trans­for­ma­tion of this en­chant­ing prop­erty near Puy­lau­rens in Tarn.

“When I found it in 2004, 90% of the house was a ruin, the ma­jor­ity of the build­ing hav­ing been used to house cows, pigs and goats,” says owner Hermione Owen. “But the house is in a ro­man­tic set­ting in its own grounds with beau­ti­ful panoramic views. In spite of the dev­as­ta­tion I knew this farm­house would make the per­fect home – I could feel its hos­pi­tal­ity. There was no doubt that this was the right house. It was a pow­er­ful emo­tion, one that I think shocked the rest of the fam­ily!”

The ren­o­va­tion project was enor­mous but a lo­cal ar­ti­san stepped for­ward and the re­sults speak for them­selves. He has res­ur­rected the clas­sic south-fac­ing farm­house with fairy­tale colom­bage (half-tim­ber­ing) and 280° views over the grounds, which run to three acres. In­side are six en­suite bed­rooms, two of which are on the ground floor, a 46m2 liv­ing room, study and fab­u­lous farm­house kitchen-diner. A cloak­room, WC with shower cu­bi­cle, util­ity room and stu­dio com­plete the liv­ing space, and there are views from ev­ery room.

Out­side is a heated, salt fil­ter swim­ming pool of­fer­ing views down the val­ley, plus a chang­ing room cabin and a shed hous­ing the pool ma­chin­ery. Other out­build­ings in­clude a wood store and tool shed, sep­a­rate shed, two wooden cab­ins, a garage and ma­chin­ery store and a large stu­dio or games room.

All this is set in idyl­lic and ex­ten­sive gar­dens that are easy to main­tain and wa­ter, thanks to an ir­ri­gation wa­ter sys­tem fed from a well and a sep­a­rate un­der­ground tank catch­ing rain­wa­ter from the roof of the house.

Be­yond the gar­dens are an or­chard, mead­ows and wood­land to ex­plore. For those who want to travel fur­ther, the shops are only five min­utes’ drive away while the mar­ket towns of Puy­lau­rens and Lavaur are just 20 min­utes away.

Within an hour you could be wan­der­ing the ci­tadel of Car­cas­sonne, sampling the wine in Gail­lac or ad­mir­ing the paint­ings of Toulouse Lautrec in Albi.

“When it comes to walk­ing, we are spoiled for choice and for a land­scape pain­ter I have been in heaven,” says Hermione, who is sell­ing the house be­cause fam­ily cir­cum­stances re­quire her and hus­band Wil­liam to be back in the UK full-time. “This is a very happy house and I am con­fi­dent that who­ever takes over will en­joy liv­ing here as much as we have.”

There was no doubt that this was the right house. It was a pow­er­ful emo­tion, one that I think shocked the rest of the fam­ily!

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