By Kendall Drake
Alix Rico, interior designer and owner of Design Source, lives in New Orleans with her husband, Paul. A true Francophile, Alix does beautiful design work in an airy and sophisticated French style. This begins a three-part series of Alix's work.
My first introduction to Alix Rico was in 2007 as my husband and I prepared to take our children to France for the first time. I spent hours researching and planning this trip. We would start in Paris and then spend some time in Brittany visiting the historic town of Quimper and its Quimper faience factory. The highlight of our trip, however, would be taking the high speed train south to Provence and relaxing in a home for the duration of our stay. I took to the internet and searched for the perfect house. There must be thousands of rental properties in Provence and I believe I clicked on all of them! While there were many charming properties, most were easily discarded due to the shabby state of the interiors. I was looking for something different. I wanted a home that would envelop me in its country French charm and surround me with beautiful antiques and decor. Then I stumbled upon La Ricolette--a beautiful country home outside of the village of Roussillon in the Luberon mountain region of Provence. I was smitten! But somehow I knew I had seen this house before. I hit my archive of design magazines and discovered that La Ricolette was featured in the July/August 2002 issue of Veranda. The article explained that the home belonged to Alix and Paul Rico of New Orleans, Louisiana. The Ricos, working alongside a French architect, designed and built La Ricolette in the traditional Provencale style using local artisans and local materials. The result is an authentic country French home nestled in the countryside--perfect for a family vacation in Provence.
Roussillon is a beautiful village carved out of the face of this ochre mountain. The homes take advantage of this natural pigment and range in
color from light yellow to a rich deep brown. Roussillon attracts artists in search of natural pigments. My daughter
and I have had fun experimenting with the ochre paints we have purchased from local gift shops.
This is a beautiful picture of the Rico's house and pool. Notice the use of rose tinted ochre on the face of the house. Veranda Magazine.
Our family thoroughly enjoyed the shaded back terrace. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of the spectacular view.
Alix's and Paul's home is located in the country and well insulated from the village by abundant trees and foliage.
The terrace is completely shaded by beautiful grape vines!
This is a lovely view from the entry into the living room and the dining room beyond. Alix's use of ochre hues is right at home in
the village of Roussillon. Alix mixes lovely antiques into her design work, all purchased locally. Veranda Magazine.
The glazed confit pot with olive branches works perfectly with the ochre palette.
Note the fabulous 17th century wooden arch in the dining room.
Click here to view something similar.
The dining room displays a bit of whimsy with this dog portrait by Belgian artist Thierry Poncelet. My kids loved this painting!
Note the darling wicker-covered bottle. Maison & Co. offers a similar piece. Veranda Magazine.
Another view of the beautiful dining room. Alix has used a beautiful French walnut enfilade with open shelving for easy access.
Alix took full advantage of the wealth of local sources. The fireplace mantle was purchased locally and replicates an 18th century original.
The floors feature a local stone. The beautiful fabrics are a combination of Brunschwig & Fils (sofa, side chairs, and pillows) and
Cowtan & Tout (ottoman). Veranda Magazine.
Alix often incorporates French architectural fragments into her design. For example, the wooden finials on the mantle provide an interesting display.
Another view of the living room featuring a lovely antique walnut armoire.
In this view of the living room, one can see the lovely green shutters securing the window. Shutters in Provence are completely functional
and are used daily to protect the home against weather and theft. The French also use shutters to shade their home from the sun
and open the shutters at night to enjoy the breeze. I quite like the ritual of opening and closing the shutters.
Notice the beautiful reclaimed wood beams.....
Alix designed an absolutely beautiful kitchen. Veranda Magazine.
Note the darling pizza oven in the corner of the kitchen.
I just love Alix's French range with brass knobs!
Another view of the kitchen and lovely limestone sink.
What a happy master bedroom with its sunny tones! The master bedroom's French doors open onto the back
terrace and expose lovely views of the Luberon.
Our kids were quite happy in this charming second bedroom. Alix continues to carry the lovely color palette throughout the house.
Note the cute little bird calling cage. These darling cages were used by hunters. The music of the caged bird would attract other
Perhaps the cutest spot in the house! I just adore this quaint powder bathroom. Veranda Magazine.
~ These are a sampling of family photos from this memorable trip. ~
The Drake family enjoying dinner in Avignon. Kendall, Dan, Jackson (age 8) and Kennedy (age 5).
The kids posing in front of a beautiful church in Brittany. Kennedy has freed up her arms by tucking her
stuffed dog, Brown Dog, between her legs!
I just had to include this family favorite! We thoroughly enjoyed playing the lawn bowling game called
Petanque (or Boule) on the Rico's own court. Kennedy found a special use for her "boules!"
Jackson and Kennedy posing on a hill near Roussillon. I have had so much fun buying little sundresses with
Provencale prints for Kennedy.
Kennedy soaking it all in next to the Rico's beautiful pool.
Jackson and Kennedy cooling off in the Rico's pool on a hot August day.
Perhaps my favorite picture of all......I snapped this picture of Kennedy after visiting the bakery in Roussillon.
We continue to recreate this photo every year when we return to Provence. I treasure our series of pictures
documenting Kennedy's growth.
Stay tuned for our next blog which will feature the Rico's current home in the nearby village of Goult. This home is an incredible 17th century stone house completely renovated and decorated in Alix's signature style.
Source Link: Veranda Magazine
This article is the sixth in a series, highlighting interior designers who inspire us with their beautiful designs and use of French and/or Swedish antiques. Click here to subscribe to the Maison & Co. Notebook and receive blog articles delivered directly to your email address.
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