French Leave
Wallpaper|July 2017

Architect Rabih Hage took the long view on a bijou barn conversion in Provence

Clare Dowdy

On the lookout for a summer retreat, the Beirut-born, London-based architect Rabih Hage headed south to a relatively undiscovered corner of Provence, near Mont Ventoux. ‘It’s so calm and serene there,’ he says, ‘like the English countryside – but with warm weather.’ However, it wasn’t the large property he had set out to view, on the edge of Goult, a village in the Parc Naturel du Lubéron, that captured his imagination.

Instead, he was drawn to a three-acre plot next door, on which he spied a derelict 17th-century barn subsumed by undergrowth. ‘I thought, maybe there is a deal to do there,’ he says, particularly when the local survey map showed that under that foliage nestled a second, smaller, attached volume. His fluent French (Hage grew up in Paris) helped him secure the property. With planning permission granted for change of use in 2007, he set about turning the two volumes into a retreat for his family of four. A later change in local planning laws prevented him adding an extension, so the only new build is a pergola, which continues the living space out into a decked area in the garden, leading to the swimming pool.

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