Sunday, June 27, 2010

A man and his house...a French story

As I have mentioned before, I come from a small village in France where older women still sport moustaches and most men drive their tractors and the houses may have charm...from the outside. My parents befriended a young man who had lost his mother at a young age and whose father, as most men in the area was a farmer. His name is Eric. An incredibly smart young man who could fix anything, kind, generous quick as a whip. He came to visit me in Connecticut with my parents and he was my "fix it all angel"...from the crumbling stone wall, to leaking faucets, rotting roof ...his magical hands could fix almost anything...Having left school, he had taken an apprentiship as a brazier (ironsmith).
I left France at a young age, as this country and culture does not embrace nor promote entrepreneurship. Eric's story is a success story whereas a young man, despite all difficulties, he embraces risks, take chances and becomes one of the most successful entrepreneur I have met in the SouthWest of France. He now lives near Toulouse with his 2 young children. This man is filled with passion, cannot sleep at night as his head is filled with ideas, and succeeds at everything he touches.
But this story is about his house....or his castle I should say. Just outside the beautiful red city of Toulouse, he found this ruined chateaux whose back wall was supported by steel pillars. Eric did not go to architecture or design school, but he had a vision and took on the challenge of bringing back this splendid structure to its prior beauty and glory....entirely on his own!!!

He currently lives in the caretaker wing while working on the interior of the chateau

As we walked through the interiors, Eric was describing down the last detail how each room will look, he also excavated for what will be a beautiful indoor pool together with spa. The outdoor pool will be a 150ft foot lap pool....

Eric designed and fabricated the gate and the wrought iron fence himself in his iron shop

Eric lined the long entry driveway with 1000 year old olive tree that he found in Portugal and trucked back to Toulouse

The dog house...I don't think that even Martha Stewart does not have such fancy abode for her dogs

He built a play house for his two sons, as well as a huge vegetable garden, chicken coop where one could actually live in

a man has to have a few toys

my dad drooling over the bikes...assorted kids motorbikes as well, 4 wheelers, side cars, antique motorbikes... all make great week end fun with the boys

He purchase an old farm and transformed the main house into his office, produces his own wine from the vineyard and is restoring the  farm building to turn them into a restaurant, an event space with outdoor cafe

Future restaurant

By the way, did I mention he is single.....


  1. A charming manor house and what a story, too.
    Hope you are enjoying the warm nice weather;-)

  2. Hi Francine, amazing story....He sounds like he is quite fascinating....and by all means, pass along my blog to him and let him know I am single too..(LOL) am waiting to see pics of the completed project. and thank-you for letting me know who Jacqueline Morabito is....maureen lynne

  3. Francine truly an amazing story of the tenacity of the human spirit. His home is magnificent as is the beautifully crafted gate. Such a thrill to see. The real treasure was his Ducati motorcycles, my dream bike.

    Eric's life makes one want to give it all up just to work for him and stomp grapes (I always wanted to work for a winery). Maybe he needs a barmaid for what will be a equally magnificent restaurant?

    My daughter turns 30 in July and single!

    Francine I love a good success story and this one just makes a person feel good.

    Hope your having a quiet, lazy Sunday?

  4. Working hard does pay off! And what a gorgeous find! I'm excited to see what he does with the place. Oh and you can tell him I am incredibly jealous of his car hehe.

  5. too bad i have such a wonderful man in my life! wow... what a spectacular story... cannot wait to see more... and your dad looks adorable. xx

  6. Precious Francine...what an amazing success story of Eric & his projects. I am overwhelmed that one man could take on all of this. I know you are blessed to know him, and we are blessed you have shared him with us. Tell Eric he could be a Texan. sending love, Marsha

  7. What a nice story and wonderful manor! You made me dream!!!
    Happy new week!

  8. Well, single...the perfect catch!! And what woman doesn't love a man who is good with his hands?

    I can't beleive I just said that...I'm pushing the button before I lose my


  9. Hi Francine
    What a fabulous story.. I really admire those who makes a life for themselves through hard work and determination.. I left school young also and just knuckled down and am now self taught IT analyst.... so can appreciate his tenacity and vision...

    Your story and photos are balm to me today... very uplifting... Hope your week is terrific.. and well done Eric.. xxx Julie

  10. Gorgeous...all of it! That entrance and the old imported trees especially! Makes my humble renovation projects seem ridiculous! :) But seriously, very beautiful and very inspirational.

  11. Oh my goodness. Wow. Please post updates on his progress, it's such a beautiful place!

  12. Francine,
    What a beautiful house! And the iron gate!!! I could look over and over at these pictures!

  13. Holy Moly! Dayum...I'm NOT single...but would consider it. Hee hee.

    Amazing! So what did he do to amass his fortune? Ironwork?? The gate is truly spectacular! I hope he is documenting his journey with the house so he can also write a book!

  14. Hi Francine,
    What a story and he seems like the man of my dreams! Or maybe he's the man of every woman's dreams? Either way, thanks for taking us to his magical world, he sounds like a true prince charming!

  15. This is so funny...I read the post and just before the end I formulated a comment in my mind, a simple question: "Is he single?".
    (Francine, I hate to say it but it was difficult to read the small characters on dark background, is it just me?)

  16. It makes me want to cry.
    Seriously. I have this kindred spirit with old places, I get really emotional about them. Eric's entire story touches my heart, and his work here is amazing. Beautiful post, beautiful story.

    (Please excuse this personal note, but as I misplaced your email address I had to send the info to Interieurs email. I hope it was forwarded to you!)

  17. Some catch. He is a man of many dreams. Looks
    like he makes them come true. He has a huge undertaking, too busy for girl hunting. I hope he finds the right one. yvonne

  18. Hi Francine,
    Thank you for visiting my ventana.I like so much thi stunning house and those little house in the garden,

  19. Oh my word... what an incredible place this is! The exterior is amazing, and the interior -- I hope to see it complete, as I am sure it's going to be stunning... and then, there are the gates. *sigh* they leave me speechless, and cannot believe that he made these! If I wasn't so in love, wow, I would pack my bags to meet this man! He's a gem :)

    Hope you are enjoying the weekend, lovely lady,


  20. There is nothing like a true entrepreneur. It runs in my family, from my husband and myself through to each of our kids. It does take determination. Well, I know who to contact when one day I get to spend the time finding a place in France to restore. His skills are invaluable. Beautiful story, beautiful post. I wish him great success!

  21. Francine,
    I have so enjoyed meandering through you beautiful blog tonight. You come from such a beautiful place and it's such a pleasure to be taken along on your wonderful tours.

  22. Cet endroit est magnifique et l'histoire charmante. Nul doute qu'il trouvera rapidement l'âme soeur qui l'aidera dans ce très bean lieu.
    Un réel plaisir de visiter votre blog, à bientôt.

    Electronic translation :

    This place is magnificent and the charming story. No doubt that he will quickly find the soul mate which will help him in it very bean place.
    A real pleasure to visit your blog, goodbye.

  23. Francine:

    So many wonderful comments above, the story about this unique man is c'est très magnifique,

    He is so busy lol, he does not have time for a companion --- but the day will come when he is ready.

    I envy souls who come in with such clarity and focused intention --- he is truly one of our creative geniuses of our time.

    You did a wonderful tribute to your friend.

    The buildings, the setting and all go with saying simply beautiful structures even in disrepair - hope I look as good when I age.

    wonderful photos.


  24. I have a feeling there will be an influx of women soon to this beautiful area of Toulouse.

  25. Oh wow -what a beautiful old house and he sounds like a true renaissance man! What an interesting friend :-)

  26. WOw, what an enterprising man. And the chateaux looks absolutely amazing!! I agree, he sounds like a true renaissance man. Love that!

  27. Thank you for this inspiring post...I must agree, Eric is a RENAISSANCE man, a real man! Please post updates on his progress. I wish him great success and the fulfilment of all his dreams...his beautiful dreams!


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