Surrounded by a Romanticist park, Château de Sibra is a lovingly restored small boutique hotel in the Cathar region of France, on the doorstep of centuries-old castles and spectacular hiking trails.
How would you describe Ad Austrum in a nutshell?
Ad Austrum is a 17th century stone house full of history and with a very strong presence in the south of France that we turned into a luxury vacation rental. Originally the owners of the house lived on the first floor while their animals lived on the ground floor. The traditional farmer’s house is set in a rustic village.
The name Ad Austrum is Latin and means ‘to the south’.
What was your inspiration to turn Ad Austrum into a vacation home?
The south of France has always been the location of my dreams and I especially like this area in Languedoc-Roussillon, as it is very authentic. To me the house offers the best of two worlds – the quietness of a small village as well as all the big sights of southern France within close proximity.
I have traveled a lot over the years and really wanted a place that I could call a family home, somewhere I could spend the weekends. For that reason it was very important to me to create a place with a soul. I really put my heart into working on every single detail in order to turn it into a house where everyone would feel comfortable and at home.
How would you describe the style and atmosphere of the house?
Ad Austrum is a typical village house in southern France. Its rough, authentic beauty is emphasized by leaving certain essential materials exposed, such as the wooden beams, and the stone masonry. Texture in general was very important to me when setting up the house.
Some of the furniture in the house is inspired by some of the type of village work in old times. One example is a piece of furniture that was used to store flour, which is now part of the interior design yet used with a completely different purpose. There are little reminders everywhere here of things that were originally used.
The result is a unique mixture of old and new, reminiscent of the old but intrinsically modern. I tried to take the best of both worlds, bringing modern day comforts using the best of the old materials.
How did this part of France influence the style of the house?
Life in the south of France is stylish at every corner. It influenced me in my choices for remodeling and decorating this house. Special antique and brocante pieces were mixed in a modern way. The result is a house that combines aesthetics with comfort and charm and pushes one to daydream, relax or simply slow down and look up at the sky.
What kind of responses do you receive from guests on vacation at Ad Austrum?
Visitors are always surprised by how sophisticated, yet rustic and full of charm the house is. The village where it is located is off the beaten path of tourism.
Holiday guests at Ad Austrum value that the house not only has such an interesting history, but at the same time is homey and full of soul. Unlike a museum this is a place where you can feel at home and take full advantage of what it has to offer. There are a lot of spaces to sit and enjoy different views, so that each day can offer a unique perspective.
What has been the most rewarding renting Ad Austrum to vacation guests?
When I bought the house, I created a whole new floor. I did a lot of heavy renovation for about 2-3 years, and I couldn’t see the end of the renovation work. It felt like it would be endless and it would never be complete. The greatest satisfaction has been to really create a place where people feel good, where they want to come back, and where they can spend their vacation in an authentic experience of the south of France as it used to be.