Ashley Morrison's Blog

July 17, 2014

A real life fairy tale.

A 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes-sur-Ciel in the French Tarn region…
John and Angela Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. which belonged to Angela & John Goodwin, was our home for a few days while we shoot in this area – and what a magnificent place it was too…
John & Angela Goodwin's 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. like something you’d normally only expect to see in a fairy tale book smile

THE STORY:

The couple went out to find and refurbish a wreck but ended up with a readymade home which one friend said was like something out of a fairytale. By immersing themselves in the French way of life they are now fully fledged Francophiles enjoying a home which is the epitome of rustic manor house living.

First impressions?
“Ironically, this isn’t the type of property we’d usually go for. Our previous two homes in France had been ‘projects’ and indeed so had our last home in Devon before we moved here permanently 16 years ago. We’ve always really enjoyed the challenge of doing up a property and putting our own stamp on it – but when we viewed the tower house all the major work had already been carried out. We just couldn’t resist the wow factor we know France well – we’d holidayed here for 20 years before John took the chance of early retirement and we moved out here – and we knew this particular area in the Tarn region very well as a previous property of ours had been on the south-west coastline. But once we discovered and fell in love with the quaint little medieval hill town of Cordes-sur-Ciel, we knew this was where our next move would take us.”

Their favorite room – and mine too – was the living room…
The living room in Angela & John Goodwin's 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. with its double height, overlooked by a gallery – and centers around this huge fireplace…
The fireplace in the living room in Angela and John Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. which they light in winter because it does actually get quite cold here it seems.

Talking about lighting, that was a challenge for sure, as capturing the atmosphere of this wonderful old place…
Four poster bed in the master  bedroom of Angela & John Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. was for me, what it was all about.

This wonderfully romantic four poster bed is the centerpiece of the master bedroom, which was bought locally and the rest of the room is furnished with a range of antiques sourced in nearby Albi.

Marie, on the other hand, was more concerned about how the table setting looked…
Marie setting the table in the conservatory of Angela & John Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. before Angela stood in…
Angela Goodwin in the conservatory of her 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. to showed her how it was done wink

Anyway, we stayed in what we referred to as ‘our wee cave’ – which was underneath and right beside the swimming pool…
John & Angela Goodwin's 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. which was just amazing – but this was the other option…
Guest bedroom in Angela & John Goodwin's 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. which was in the tower section – with its own spiral staircase which leads to a glass-floored mezzanine level above.

Stunning or what ?

And this is why I love shooting homes abroad so much, as you not only get to see things like this – which you just wouldn’t see back in the UK or Ireland – but you also get to meet the truly amazing people behind all it too.

And Angela & John where definitely two of those amazing people – who even went to the trouble to set-up this final shot…
Angela & John Goodwin setting up outside their 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. to complete our story of how they had made their dream come true…
Angela & John Goodwin outside their 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur Ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. and what a dream that was too !!

Which just leaves me to say: Thank you from Marie & me to you both – as this one fairy tale we will never forget.

Featured in the October issue of BBC Good Homes magazine the following year…
Pages 118 to 123 of the October 2006 issue of BBC Good Homes magazine featuring Angela and John Goodwin's 15th century Manoir or Tower house near the medieval hill village of Cordes sur Ciel in the French Tarn region.
.. and in Templeton Robinson‘s Property Life magazine…
Pages 8 to 19 in the 13th issue of Property Life magazine featuring Angela and John Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. titled ‘Living the dream’ the year after that – plus in Northern Ireland Homes & Lifestyle magazine the year after that too…
Pages 46 to 54 in the June 2008 issue of Northern Ireland Homes & Lifestyle magazine featuring Angela and John Goodwin's Tower house in the Tarn region of France.
.. on pages 46 to 54.

All of which looked stunning and was lovely to see – as it is like seeing our fairy tale each year come true again as well smile

(Added Note: We are always on the lookout for such homes by the way – so should you happen to know of one and the homeowners are up for it, please do get in touch – as we’d sure love to feature their dream).

Anyway, that’s it from Marie & me in this real life fairy tale, set in the beautiful Tarn region of France – which we have returned to and plan to do again – but that’s another story for another time, which one day I’ll write about too wink

Cheers,
Ashley
www.ashleymorrison.com

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July 16, 2014

A former goat shelter.

After crossing the Irish Sea – on route to meet Rachel from the BBC, to shoot Duncan’s French Riviera villa in the hills overlooking Cannes, which I talked here: In the Dragons’ Den – we stopped to meet landscape designer Bradley Viljoen, and shoot his four-bedroom hillside villa…
Marie McMillen sitting outside Bradley Viljoen's hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. formerly an agricultural goat shelter building, built in the mid 19th-century, near the French village of Cordes-sur-Ciel in the Tarn region of France.

As a garden and landscape designer based in London England, Bradley Viljoen spends his time creating other people’s dreams. A few years ago, along with partner Mark Smith, they decided it was time to do something for them – they decided to live the dream across The Channel in France.

“The idea was to create a beautiful home and garden to enjoy whenever we could, with the hope of living there permanently one day,” says Bradley. “We would rent it out for a few weeks a year to generate a bit of income so we could continue to improve the property and to create a garden.”

No work in her…
Marie McMillen in the sitting of Bradley Viljoen's hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. but nevertheless, when a home looks this good…
The sitting of Bradley Viljoen's hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. who could blame Marie for just wanting to sit down and enjoy it – as Bradley & Mark had done a fabulous job here.

“We’d spent quite some time checking out various regions, firstly via the online agencies and then by visiting various regions. We didn’t really know much about the Tarn until we actually visited it back in the summer of 2001. But once we came here we just fell in love with it,” says Bradley. “Southcentral France has a wonderfully diverse landscape of rolling plains to gentle mountains, it’s crisscrossed by rivers and lakes and enjoys a rich heritage of ancient villages, castles, churches, and gastronomy. We just felt it was the ideal spot for us among the rolling vineyards and unspoiled natural environment.”

Still, a bit of work was needed to light the place and get everything tickety-boo for the camera – but Bradley here…
Bradley Viljoen in the kitchen of his hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. was more than ready and as you can see, had the whole place, including the bedrooms…
Master bedroom in Bradley Viljoen's hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. sitting up looking pretty much picture perfect.

“We wanted to achieve something that would embrace the best of living at home with the best of living out here and I’m pleased with how it’s all come together – our little bit of entente cordiale.”

So we actually managed to rattle through this one quite quickly, but the wonderful memories have lived on much longer – as we managed to get this featured in Britain’s No.1 Home Magazine, Ideal Home
Pages 84 to 88 in the July 2006 issue of Ideal Home magazine featuring Bradley Viljoen and Mark Smith's mid 19th-century hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. which appeared the following summer in their July issue – and also in Templeton Robinson‘s Property Life magazine too, the year after that…
Pages 38 to 46 in issue 10 of Templeton Robinson's Property Life magazine featuring Bradley Viljoen and Mark Smith's mid 19th-century hillside villa located in the Tarn region of France.
.. which I’ve got to say looked absolutely stunning.

A former goat shelter it may have been, but definitely not any longer – and so we’d just like to say a big thank you to both Bradley & Mark, for this very special day which we will always remember.

From Marie & me in the Tarn region, having fun on route to the French Riviera, to meet Rachel from the BBC for the very first time & the famous Duncan Bannatyne too smile

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