Our tour of some of my favorite homes in Provence continues, following my posts Tourjour Provence, Truex Provence and Chez Cameron. Images of Jacques Grange’s farmhouse, Mas Mireio, have been protected in plastic sheet covers ever since I pulled them from HG magazine years ago, in the late 1980’s. His Provençal vacation home, which is reserved only for himself and his closest of friends, has seldom been photographed. It was more recently featured in his monograph, Jacques Grange Interiors by Pierre Passebon. This is the house I would have if I had a house in Provence: rustic, light-filled and casually elegant with a dose of modern chic. Oh, those honeyed plaster walls … the elongated Provencal tiles for the floors … the simple stone lintels as fireplace surround … the beams, painted to blend in and not appear heavy above-head … the mix of disparate styles and periods – the wood work tables and stands to display objets d’art; the mix of modern upholstered furniture covered in simple cotton and chairs with woven rush seats and backs on either wood or metal frames; a welcoming seventeenth-century reclining fauteuil; spare and simple art; and the textured geometric patterns of hand-woven rugs adding a graphic note. Grange is expert at creating environments that are at once impressive and intimate, and assuredly personal. These are artful rooms that are comfortable in their environment without ever appearing staid.
In an earlier photograph of the living area, which I featured in Toujour Provence, a woven rush lounge chair in the foreground was designed by the French modernist Charlotte Perriand while the fauteuil near the fireplace is 17th-century; a 1950’s oak table by Jean Royère is watched over by a metal sculpture of a bull that incorporates a removable head mask once worn at fêtes in the Camargue; Berber rugs are laid over local terra-cotta tiles.
In a recent photograph of the same living area little has changed since 1989. The room has gained the look of an artist’s atelier with groupings of a mixed assortment including chunky mid-century modern chairs, the same French fauteuil, and a black painted provincial chair. The subtle, imperfect quality of the plaster relief wall art feels ancient. The Berber rugs were switched out for simpler woven matting.
In another view of the living area over-scaled upholstered furniture covered in simple cotton the color of mustard fields is grouped with rustic mid-20th-century chairs in a relaxed and comfortable arrangement. The blank wall above the sofa leaves room to dream. A collection of bull masks from the Camargue are hung on a rack in the far left corner, honoring local tradition. Understated, relaxed, appropriate, joyful and simply chic.
In a photo taken in the 1980’s the library-dining room is more conventionally arranged with Arts and Crafts dining chairs around a draped table. Visible at right is an impressive stone fireplace mantel.
In a recent photograph of the same library-dining room the draped table has been replaced with a woven rush table by Charolotte Perriand. Other than the bookcases and ceramic columns it appears everything is different. I like the color-blocking affect of the contrasting folding dining chairs against the brilliant blue of the rug, the colorful artwork and pottery, and the casual collection of stacked straw hats. How could one not be inspired to engage in creative pursuits in this artist’s aerie?!
In a photo taken in the late 1980’s a traditional kitchen is aglow in local earthen ocher color. The kitchen table is set with ceramics from the nearby village of Apt.
In another photo taken in the late 1980’s Grange’s bedroom walls are lined with wallhangings by Boisseau from the 1930’s; the chest is from the 1940’s; the rug Moroccan. This room has undoubtedly changed since then; in fact, I venture to guess these are the very same panels which now hang in the Paris residence he designed for Prada executive Mathilde Agostinelli.
The wallhanging in Mathilde Agostinelli’s Paris apartment is identical to the one on the right featured in Grange’s bedroom, above. It’s sometimes fun scavenging for great designers one-time collections in their clients’ homes!
The garden dining table is set with local color. The shade cover of natural reed is uniquely Provencal by design.
It is no wonder Jacques Grange keeps Mas Mireio relatively quiet and to himself. It’s unpretentious nature and relaxed chic captures the essence of a true vacation home, where one can unwind amidst the simpler things of quality life has to offer. I, for one, would be very content unloading all of my personal trappings for the simple life, le style Grange, all year long.
Next on our tour of Provençal homes will be the vacation residence of Terry and Jean Gunzburg designed by Jacques Grange.