Conversations - October 05, 2022

Travertine & Textiles

By Rebecca Withers

Textiles have a storied history in this southern French home, a former magnanerie, or silkworm farm at the foot of the Cevennes mountains north of Nîmes. So it comes as little surprise that the owners of this renovated farmhouse have relied on an artfully eclectic assortment of rugs, throws, and fabrics to breathe new life into its ancient interior.

Today, Le Mas de Potelières is the home of Claudia Lomma, an editorial director turned blockchain consultant, and her husband, Benjamin Boutin-Spark, an accomplished artist and NFT consultant, whose family has made this village of 300 inhabitants its home for generations. The couple renovated the sturdy structure in November 2020, and they now consider it their principal residence—a peaceful, natural retreat in a pretty French village with storybook views on a magnificent, double-towered, 14th-century castle from every window.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the house?

Claudia Lomma: "It’s a family house in my husband’s native region of the Gard. Wilder and less-traveled than Provence, the Gard is rugged and beautiful, and the house is about 15 minutes from both the Ardèche, with its dramatic gorges, and the Cevennes mountains. The farmhouse is set in a typical, small French village with a town square, church and castle. Both the farmhouse and the town are named potelières for the potters who once came to the river here to gather clay for making earthenware pottery."

Le Mas was a family house before, and remains in the family today. What did you do to change it?

CL: "We renovated the home to be natural and bright. I’m all about creating ambiance, and am drawn to light-filled, natural spaces with a pale, natural color palette lit by indirect, diffused and natural lighting. The house was filled with family heirlooms—furniture, antiques, etc. We completely emptied it and brought it back to its exposed-stone walls, and we updated it all. It’s got gently arching vaults and a classic, wide farmhouse hearth at its center. 

"It’s a zero-plastic home with Italian travertine stone floors, simple wood furnishings, and a serene, bone-to-sand color palette enlivened by pops of color from its saturated and patterned accessories."

Tell us about the accessories, the textiles throughout the home, are they from your travels?

CL: "Yes. I work a lot and don’t have time to shop, so I do my shopping when I travel. Most of the furnishings and décor were bought on trips abroad. I’ve brought things back from Morocco, Burma, Turkey, Tunisia—lots from Northern Africa, generally—but also from Portugal and Spain. The rugs are all from Morocco. I found them at the markets in Fez. 

"I like to mix textiles up—to transform the things I find into pillows, slips or throws. Some of the fabrics I sourced on Etsy, and they come from Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and Morocco. I love to mix and match them—blend the different colors, patterns and textures. I’m not a big fan of houses full of color. The only colorful décor you’ll really see in our home are the accent pieces, the textiles."

We love a bright, light-filled space like you do. Tell us about the window and light treatments found in the home.

CL: "The curtains are made of toile de Provence, a traditional French linen that’s been used in décor since the 1700s. It’s simple and canvas-like, with great texture and a natural look. The light fixtures, lamps and sconces create indirect lighting, which keeps the interior softly lit and creates ambiance. 

"I found most of the lighting locally at antique and flea markets in the region. That’s also where I found most of my kitchenware and décor. Like with the textiles, I prefer to mix different place settings, glassware and colors on a table. We have some great local brocantes in the region, one in Sommières that’s been going on every Saturday for ages, and another, a big annual fair in Barjac, that draws people from around the world."

To explore Claudia's eleganly designed space, plan your visit to Le Mas de Potelières here.