A truly authentic deVOL Kitchen in South West France
12th March 2019
I’m so happy to show you these photos of a truly authentic and perfectly styled deVOL Shaker kitchen in a pretty little part of South West France. Helen spotted this kitchen on Instagram and we all fell instantly in love. This is the real deal, a properly original and simply beautiful kitchen. The lovely owner, Rebecca of @ohmyfrenchvintage, very kindly sent over some shots of the kitchen which she took one evening when the light was low and gave the room a sumptuous glow. No fancy camera or styling here, this is a real look at a real life deVOL Kitchen and to us it’s just perfect, we wouldn’t change a single thing. Thank you so much Rebecca, for chatting to me and telling me the story of your beautiful home and family – and for allowing me to share it here on the deVOL Journal.
The perfect kitchen – real, authentic, original – we feel so happy to see our humble Shaker cupboards here.
Rebecca and her partner, Erwan, renovated their home ‘Maison Philippine’ from the ground up, beginning in July 2018 – it’s a beautiful 18th century winery sitting in the rolling countryside of the Chalosse, South West France. “The house is named Maison Philippine after Saint Philippine, who, we were told, represents leading a peaceful, good and simple life and it couldn’t feel more appropriate!” says Rebecca. “This spot is truly magical, when we first saw it it was in quite a state, but before even opening the door we were hooked. I remember hoping desperately that we would find something we could work with on the inside as we had already made up our minds about the house just from being outside. The garden is planted with oak trees, many of them centennial, and the views from the drive overlook the undulating countryside to the valley below. It’s a place where we can just be, where our kids can grow up in tune with the changing seasons.”
This original old fireplace is to die for, complete with a little table and a couple of chairs to chill.
This place reminds me so much of Cotes Mill – the beautiful grounds, those big wooden beams, exquisite original features, old walls so full of history and a small collection of humble deVOL cupboards – it just feels like home. Not to mention that Cotes Mill, like Maison Philippine, was a huge renovation project. “All our lives together, Erwan and I dreamt of owning an old, crumbling, characterful house that we could gently bring back to the gem it was before. We spent many hours imagining a place where our friends and family could gather, to share a meal, to relax, to write, to draw, play music. A place where great ideas are born over steaming plates of slow cooked food, lingering wines, fresh fruit plucked from the orchard, all served on a huge table with laughter and warmth. Where music floats into the starry skies above and each who enters is free to just be themselves.” – In the beginning Rebecca and Erwan really had no idea just how big of a task this would be, but this was the dream that kept them going and got them through this project, stripping back this beautiful old place and painstakingly bringing it back to what it may once have been… and what an incredible job they have done.
An old portrait hangs above the stainless steel range cooker. Picture perfect.
The deVOL kitchen is split into three little areas. Firstly there’s an area dedicated to refrigeration and storage. The tall larder cupboard houses an integrated fridge on the left and a pantry on the right, then you’ve got two sets of pan drawers – these drawers are deep and so roomy, they always seem to become the most used and useful part of a kitchen – and finally a little open base cupboard tucked on the end of the run, perfect for displaying a few of Rebecca’s vintage finds… “Hunting down beautiful treasures that tell a story is a passion I have had since the age of 8, so when my third daughter Artémis was born in 2013, I found the right moment to step away from the intense career in technology startups that I had been doing since 1999, and instead set up OhMyFrenchVintage – a little online boutique specialising in French antique and vintage items.” says Rebecca… “I am at my happiest scouring the Vide Greniers and Brocantes of the Chalosse region in South West France, and choose my items with instinct and love, that speak of their history, perhaps a lingering touch of the owner whispering down the decades.” This is something that resonates with us so much, it’s customers like Rebecca and Erwan that make our kitchens so special.
Mushroom cupboards, natural dark stone floors, wooden worktops and brass handles.
Not only does Rebecca spend her time sourcing vintage treasures, she also works with French Character Homes who specialise in beautiful period properties, including châteaux, manor houses, farmhouses and water mills. What a dream!! “We are a small but passionate team, and I just absolutely love the combination of both of these activities, as I get to meet truly fascinating people, visit beautiful locations, and be surrounded by wonderful objects.” says Rebecca.
Low evening sunshine brings the loveliest warm glow to this proper living kitchen.
Next in the kitchen is the sink area, popped right under the window with unmatched views onto rolling French countryside. One of our Ionian and mini hot taps in aged brass, a big Belfast sink with storage underneath, a pull-out bin to the left and an integrated dishwasher to the right… keeping appliances hidden behind beautiful Shaker doors means this room feels less kitcheny and more like a lovely big living space.
A deVOL Ionian and mini hot tap, both in our exclusive Aged Brass finish – made in collaboration with Perrin & Rowe.
Finally is the little cooking area. I love the freestanding feel here. A proper range cooker takes centre stage, a couple of door and drawer base cupboards either side at the bottom and a couple of wall cupboards with charming ‘petal’ cut-outs either side on top. A cool portrait just above the range is the perfect finishing touch and one of our favourite things to see in a kitchen. Yes, having a portrait above your cooker may be a worry, but I love Rebecca’s response… “to be honest this is an ongoing discussion between husband (practical) and myself (a touch eccentric), we have come to the arrangement that it hangs there and gets moved to another spot in the kitchen when we are cooking!! For now, it’s working out quite well….”
Cooking is one of this family’s passions, so a sturdy range cooker with proper gas tops was a must.
Function was equally as important as beauty for Rebecca and Erwan – “We both love cooking, as do my teenage daughters. In the summer we make endless jams and compotes from the fruit in the orchard at the end of the garden, or prepare jars of sun-soaked tomato sauce to see us through the winter. Erwan provides us with fresh bread each day and I cook pretty much most meals from fresh ingredients, locally sourced, so it was really important to us that the kitchen functioned well. As a family we spend a tremendous amount of time together there, our older girls Esmée (15) and Isadora (13) doing their homework whilst I am cooking, five year old Artémis drawing….” Living off the land and enjoying the simple but most important things in life, it sounds perfect to me.
Every part of this kitchen is effortlessly beautiful and uncontrived, the owners have great taste, and just that knack of getting it spot on.
A chance and really rather romantic meeting in Paris has led to a marriage and the dream of creating a kitchen that is not just used for cooking and chores… “I met my husband, Erwan, in Paris when we were both recently graduated, myself in philosophy and Erwan in music. His area is jazz music, in particular the double bass, and we met one evening when I was invited by a mutual friend to sing. Erwan was supporting with the instrumentals, and the rest was history. We are lucky that since 2002, we have both always managed to work from home. Erwan also works with tech startups as a programmer, and has clients across the globe, USA, Australia, the UK…. when he is not writing code for startups, he continues to play music and is also a successful artist (www.sketchpowder.com). This is one of the big reasons why we wanted Maison Philippine to be a place where anyone could come and express themselves freely, be it through music, art, writing, ideas or simply conversation. In a world that is becoming more and more digital, it’s so important to find a way to balance that with simplicity and authenticity.”
Oh how I would love to explore the rest of this rambling old French home!!
For us here at deVOL we like to look at the house, its age, its style, what original features it has and work to enhance and allow the beauty of the room to shine through. Be sympathetic to the building rather than just fitting a kitchen that has no regard for the actual room it is going in. A furnished room always feels more authentic if this is considered and it’s such a pleasure to work with customers who share this love with us… “We also wanted something that felt as if it had always belonged in the house, and that would complement our antiques and collection of vintage treasures. Nothing too flashy, just simple, enduring and lovingly made. deVOL fit the bill entirely.”
An integrated fridge freezer and big pantry are almost undetectable behind hand-painted Shaker doors.
Rebecca told me how she discovered deVOL and how at first she thought it may not even be possible to have her dream kitchen!! “I discovered deVOL via a mixture of Pinterest posts and adverts in some of my preferred interior design magazines, but I had thought that being outside of the UK might prevent me from purchasing the products. After yet another long afternoon hankering after a deVOL kitchen, and finding nothing in this style in France (here the trend is still very much for slick lines and ultra modern fittings), I decided to get in touch with the deVOL team on the off chance they might deliver. It was a great move as to my delight there was nothing stopping the shipment of a kitchen to us here in the sticks in South West France. The whole process was just incredibly seamless from start to finish. Given that I had not even visited the showroom until after our kitchen was pretty much ordered, it was a risky undertaking to order an entire kitchen based solely on photos and the brochure, but to be honest, we really could not be happier. deVOL got it exactly right, were so professional, helpful and available for any question or detail.”
For us, a table is always a must in a big kitchen, just imagine warm summer evenings spent here, eating and chatting and playing.
Well, I really hope you have enjoyed seeing Maison Philippine and hearing Rebecca’s lovely words about her home and her family as much as I have. I love this kitchen and am so happy that Rebecca and Erwan chose our humble little Shaker cupboards for their home. This is a masterclass on creating a truly timeless kitchen, it’s going to look lovely forever, in fact it will keep on getting lovelier with time and use. The clever owners have got it so right, they’ve avoided too many gadgets and big statement and trendy pieces, chosen natural materials and have styled their kitchen with everyday kitchen things such as pots and pans and crockery as well as things they’ve collected, things that they love and things that have meaning to them.
A crinkly linen table cloth and a couple of wonderfully simple pedant lights above.
Thank you so much again Rebecca and family for allowing me to share your amazingly perfect kitchen and your beautiful words here on our journal.
– Be sure to follow Rebecca on Instagram @ohmyfrenchvintage
– Check out the ‘OhMyFrenchVintage‘ Etsy page for some of Rebecca’s vintage finds.
– And for lots more info on ordering a deVOL Kitchen overseas, check out this post on our journal.
All photography credits to: OhMyFrenchVintage