A Fashion Designer’s Cabin in the Cape Cod of France

French website The Socialite Family chronicles how the “smart and cool”—and privileged—live in Europe. This is not the realm of inherited chateaus but of modernist taste applied to old Paris apartments and hipster vacation huts. One fave TSL fixation falls in the latter camp: British kids’-wear designer Louisa Rowland’s vacation cabane in Cap Ferret.

Not to be confused with glam Cap Ferrat on the Riviera, Cap Ferret due west of Bordeaux, is known as the Cape Cod of France. Situated on a piney 11-mile-long spit that runs between the Atlantic and Arcachon Bay, the beach enclave is a stylishly laid-back nature escape that attracts creative types. Join us for a glimpse inside one of its down-home-luxe cabins.

Photography by Constance Gennari, courtesy of The Socialite Family.

Louisa Rowland's Bartherotte cabin in Cap Ferret, France, via The Socialite Family. Photo by Constance Gennari. Above: Rowland and family—her husband is a cameraman and they have twins, Hardy and Elodie—live in London, where she runs her unisex kids’ clothing line ABC123me. But every vacation in the warm months, they head to Cap Ferret. Home for them there is one of the area’s coveted Bartherotte cabins, which the Socialite Family describes as “a sort of hut with a grandiloquent frame.”

The interior is all about wood. Rowland furnished the living area with inviting upholstered pieces, Welsh throws, and midcentury designs. “My style is eclectic, textured, rich and colorful with very strong influences from my travel, my childhood in Mexico, and my husband’s Indian heritage,” she told the Socialite Family. Rowland grew up mostly in London but attended a lycée, and she and her children speak French at home. Fashion runs in her genes: Her sister Anda runs the family’s Savile Row tailor shop, Anderson & Sheppard.

Above: A midcentury credenza is topped by a vintage lamp.

Inspired by the area’s oystermen’s shacks, the first of these Craftsman houses was built in the early 1980s by French businessman and local activist Benoit Bartherotte for his own family. He went on to create an enclave, and his sons Hadrien and Martin now run Cabanes Bartherotte & Frères, specializing in what they call “made-to-measure, ecological” cabins. Working with a crew of local specialists, they build no more than four to five houses a year and say, “We are close to haute couture.” See the Socialite Family’s post Hadrien Bartherotte, a Force of Nature.

All-wood kitchen in Louisa Rowland cabin in Cap Ferret, France, via The Socialite Family. Photo by Constance Gennari. Above: As in all Bartherotte cabins, just about everything is made of the area’s pine and other woods. The kitchen appliances include a [product id=”997547″]Miele Pureline Series Wall Oven[/product]. Above: The twins’ beds have Mexican embroidered bedspreads. L’Aviva Home offers similar [product id=”997545″]Mexican Otomi Coverlets and Duvets[/product] starting at $615.

Above: There are three baths; this one has an industrial-style sink unit and exposed piping. (For more faucets like this one, see Trend Alert: 10 DIY Faucets Made from Plumbing Parts.)
Above: The wood construction extends to the Japanese-style family bathtub. Note the simple square tiles with dark grout applied to both the floor and the partial wall that divides the bathroom from the sink area.
Louisa Rowland's indoor-outdoor Bartherotte cabin in Cap Ferret, France, via The Socialite Family. Photo by Constance Gennari. Above: Bartherotte cabins are all about terrace living.

Louisa says she surfs in the mornings and caps off each day with a swim: “While the house is in the forest, the beach is at the end of our lane and the village is a two-minute walk away.”

Louisa Rowland's indoor-outdoor Bartherotte cabin in Cap Ferret, France, via The Socialite Family. Photo by Constance Gennari. Above: The house has a small pool and an outdoor sofa/daybed layered with cushions that Rowland made from vintage fabrics sourced online.

Go to The Socialite Family to see more and to read about Rowland’s favorite hangouts in Cap Ferret. The cabin is available to rent from local real estate agency Jane.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original ran February 14, 2018.

Here are three more standout rustic-luxe houses:

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