Following my recent blog post about the antiques we found to furnish La Maison des Chaumes (our other vacation rental in Villers-la-Faye) here is a peek at our finds at La Maison de la Vieille Vigne - our 16th Century restored winemaker's cottage just steps from the Burgundian vineyards.
The most compelling ancient item in La Maison de la Vieille Vigne is actually the original structure of the cottage itself. It dates back to the mid 1600s and I fell in love with its exposed oak beams, rock walls, and the massive, gnarled grape vine that had been growing around the outside of the house for as long as anyone in Villers-la-Faye could remember.
This was pre-renovation so of course pretty much everything else was a complete disaster - the bathroom was a pestilent chicken coop, there was a rusty furnace with a nasty habit of disgorging noxious black smoke in the middle of the bedroom, and many other "surprises" many of you read about in My Grape Village. Yet all I saw was the oak beams, stone walls and the original stone fireplace. I figured, with my trademark deranged optimism, we could fix the rest. Quelle blague, as the French would say.
The process was not quite as easy as I had imagined. In fact, it was like a year long French / Burgundian version of "Trading Spaces". Yet, we somehow managed to pull it off mere hours before our first guests arrived.
In the end, the cottage needed little adornment. I picked up this sturdy table and chairs that date back to the 1930s / 1940s at our favorite brocante in Dijon. They glow with the earned patina of decades in another french kitchen before they came to us.
As a writer, it is essential to me to equip each of our four vacation rentals with a simple but inspiring writing desk. I realize that most of our guests probably use the desk for other work (or not at all, which is also a totally legitimate thing in France). However, I eternally nourish the dream of writing in beautiful, inspiring places so I search high and low for THE perfect writing desk and chair.
We picked this one out at a local vide-grenier in the streets of the village of Premeaux-Prissey. We were so late that we arrived when everyone was packing up, a disappointment at first but in the end fortuitous. We snagged the perfect desk and chair for the cottage for a steal because the guy did not want to pack it back into his van.
I picked up the bedside tables - charmingly mismatched - at a street brocante in Chagny. I love the french style of bedside table with marble tops. Why don't they do them like that anymore? Beautiful and practical.
I love the antique hunting so much in France that it is seriously what would make me buy five more houses there - but there are limits even to my deranged optimism.