Life at № 42 by E.M. Coutinho
14 degrees celsius today. We had a couple of colder and rainy days earlier in the week but the predictions are that this winter in the Tarn will be mild. I planted coriander two weeks ago in the (unheated) greenhouse and it’s sprouting.
The Charity Christmas party at La Villa de Mazamet was lovely. I heard the boys were pleased with the amount they raised. I find the house fascinating. The architecture is unexplainable. No way of pinning down the name of its style, it’s just its own thing. It was built at the beginning of WWII, which seems highly unusual timing. It’s different from the other grand homes in Mazamet in that the owner wasn’t a wool/textile industrialist, but an accountant. The boys joke that he must have been skimming off the top. Part of the ground floor was originally used as the accounting offices of the owner- so it was probably more just a Trump style business decision. Impressing people to create more business.
The interiors are very, very restrained. In a way it’s sort of the opposite of number 42. Here we have a very low key exterior and you come in to find ornate paneling, marble, gilding- and colour. La Villa has a flamboyant exterior but very discreet interior decoration. Just compare their stairs and ours to see what I mean:
But of course, their place is ideal for what they do. The distribution is perfect for a bijou hotel. Having started out life as partly a business, the spaces are very well divided/separated. At number 42 rooms very much open to each other. The green salon opens to the grey salon and to the scullery, the dining room opens to the study. Everything (except the kitchen) opens to the main hall. Four of the bedrooms have Jack and Jill bathrooms. In every sense it was designed for a family.
In other news I’m done with the planning for our Christmas and New Year’s dinners. Both very old-fashioned. For Christmas we’re having lobster with tomato and basil and for NY’s filet steak with morels in cream.