A Palatial Villa In The South Of France

by Jamie Mitchell in Interior designed homes

Asked to design the interior of a 10,000 square foot villa in the south of France, interior design practice Taylor Howes created a suitably chic Mediterranean-inspired scheme that’s also packed with fun features such as a home cinema room and games room.

Explaining her approach to the project, Karen Howes, founder and head of Taylor Howes, says: ‘The style was relaxed, Mediterranean chic, and the fantastic light quality in the south of France lent itself to pastel tones and soft linens with joinery pieces in pale oak and whitewashed timber, while the cinema room, with its ramped seating and a drop-down projector screen, has a dark timber bar with glass detailing and bespoke leather seating.

As well as being luxuriously spacious inside, the villa has extensive grounds, which include a football pitch, tennis courts, vineyard and a hotel-size swimming pool complete with bridges, grottos and a sunken bar. As well as being fun, though, the villa had to function as a family home, says Howes, with plenty to amuse the children.

The double height entrance hall has a pitted limestone floor with sweeping staircase and bespoke oversized furniture to make the most of its spacious grandeur.

‘We are all about building up relationships with our clients, so it was lovely when this particular client came back to us for the third time to design their holiday home.’

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The main living area has a baby grand piano in one corner, a seating area in the centre and fitted desk and bespoke games table at the far end. A separate study was designed for the man of the house.

The first floor is for the whole family, with four bedrooms each with en suite bathrooms. On the ground floor there is also a guest suite which includes a bedroom, sitting room and en suite bathroom.

A large playroom for the children has a project table and illuminated world map.

As well as balancing practical living spaces with fun features, the designers at Taylor Howes have also managed walk the line between traditional and modern styles, choosing furniture, lighting and accessories that feel right up to date while also keeping the design sympathetic to the villa’s traditional architectural style.

It helped that Taylor Howes had worked with the family before on two previous projects, so the designers already had a very good idea of their client’s personal style, as well as knowing how they like to live.

Says Howes: ‘We are all about building up relationships with our clients, so it was lovely when this particular client came back to us for the third time to design their holiday home. As we had previously worked with the client on other projects, we had already been through all the usual learning curves that you go through with new clients, and therefore had a complete knowledge of the their tastes and requirements. For this reason they left the design completely in our hands, as they trusted we would come up with something that was both practical and beautiful – in fact the main client, the lady of the house, knew we cared even more about the functionality than she did!’

Howes adds: ‘This project was relatively easy for us as we already knew the family requirements, however if we were designing this villa from scratch, we would ensure that we put a lot of time into getting to know the clients and creating something special and unique for them. No project is the same, and so it is important that you go into each one with a different head on.’

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The trust between client and designer on this project clearly helped things run smoothly, but even so, Howes admits it wasn’t all plain sailing. ‘We were brought into this project quite late on in the architectural design. Normally we would be brought into a project in the pre-planning stage, so this was a challenge in itself, to make sure that the furnishings flowed with the existing spaces and architecture.’

Howes continues: ‘Due to the large size of the rooms we had to ensure that furniture did not look lost. In order to overcome this problem, we designed most of the furniture ourselves in a larger size to ensure that it properly fit the dimensions.’

The result is a home that looks at once grand and comfortable, chic yet designed to be lived in. ‘The house is very calm and relaxed in style,’ says Howes, ‘and it feels like a real home, not a show home.’

Taylor Howes – www.taylorhowes.co.uk

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