Kathryn Ireland Opens Up About Her Provence Getaway
When we first got wind that interior and textile designer Kathryn M. Ireland was listing her French farmhouse, “La Castellane,” for sale, we immediately wanted to sit down with designer to discover why she would ever leave such an idyllic retreat. (After all, it did inspire her book, Summers in France.) The gorgeous property in southwest France dates back to 1760 and was carefully restored in phases by the designer, who updated the living quarters and carefully converted some of the original structures into areas more suited for a modern family.
“La Castellane has been the place of family holidays and so much more. Most importantly the boys were able to have a traditional childhood there. Kick the can, hide and seek, and make-believe adventures,” shares Ireland on the importance of the home in her children’s lives. “The boys growing up were so much a part of the renovation process. They loved to help the workmen, they learned first-hand so many trades, as well as the language.” With her eyes set on the future, Ireland takes some time to reflect on what the property has meant her family, the community, and her design career.
“The house is very friendly and completely manageable even though it can sleep 20 people!” Ireland exclaims. “Located near some of the most spectacular, medieval hilltop towns in the world, this area is often referred to as the Tuscany of France.”
Having made updates to the roof, electrical system, and plumbing, Ireland also embarked on renovations of a less vital, and more functional nature. “Over the years, I redid all the barns, the attic, and the pigeonniere which we converted into a kitchen,” the designer shares. “I added endless bathrooms, but really kept true to the house. It was important not to over-restore the property, which most people tend to do.”
Not just an important location in her family’s history, the home is also the site of some of Ireland’s major career milestones. “I came up with my first fabric collection there, inspired by the French countryside,” the designer shares. “It was the first house I ever did, and one of the reasons I went into the decorating business. The décor is comfortable and unpretentious. I decorated La Castellane just as I do when decorating for other people. To this day I draw much inspiration from this property.”
“I have friends in the area, and one day I will buy the hilltop house in my favorite hilltop village,” Ireland states. “I will always return, since so many of my friends have bought close by. It’s the best antiquing in France!”
Despite a deep connection to the home and land, Ireland is ready for her next adventure. “It would be hard [to leave] if I wasn't going somewhere equally as fabulous,” the designer tells us. “The house I have my eye on in Scotland is on the sea, close to a golf course, has rivers to fish, and is a mere train ride to London. New adventures are good."
When asked what she will miss most about the home and area, Ireland is both nostalgic and practical. “I will miss the views and my horse riding trails, but most of all the barn where we ate,” she shares. “I will always have the memories, and luckily I wrote Summers In France, which captures the true essence and memories of La Castellane through photographs of family and friends enjoying the property.”
“The house has made so many fabulous memories for so many people,” Ireland reflects. “But it just feels like time to move on and have another adventure.”
Where is your favorote place to spend a summer with family? Share with us in the comments.