California comes to Europe, courtesy of the 1960s Villa Aloha by Jean Reitz in Frejus, Cote d’Azur, south-east France.
It dates back to 1965, the work of French architect Jean Reitz, and takes inspiration from Richard Neutra’s Californian projects. This is all about light, space and blurring there line between outside and inside living space. The kind of living space (almost) all of us dream about.
Villa Aloha also has a dream of a location in the ‘absolute calm’ of the Tour de Mare area, which is just 45 minutes from Cannes and Saint-Tropez and 50 minutes from the Nice-Cote d’Azur airport. Should you travel in such circles.
This area was developed in the 1960s by a banker from Nice, with the objective of offering a place of ‘leisure and vacation for seasonal tourists’. The poet Jean Cocteau designed an octagonal chapel with the collaboration of the architect Jean Triquenot here should you want culture, whilst more leisurely pursuits are apparently plentiful in the area. The perfect getaway if you have the money for this one. That’s right; it doesn’t cheap. Architecture as special as this rarely does.
And this is a very special house, one that has been renovated and updated for the modern era, but without taking away the key and bespoke elements of its 1960s design. Of which there are many.
As I said, this is pure Californian modernism transplanted to the hip end of France. with the (mainly) single-storey property open to the large terrace and pool. It’s the holiday home we imagine for our summers – except you can live here all year round.
Unassuming from the front, this one really comes to life at the rear with the exposed stonework, full-height glazing, extensive and partly-covered terrace (the perfect party area), as well as one of those bespoke details, the trapezoidal swimming pool.
It has the ‘wow’ factor before you even step inside. And even more so once you do.
Note the original sculptural/rounded fireplace, as well as the integrated wooden furniture, along with the ‘pop art’ theme throughout. Love the flooring and ceilings too. If you are a fan of mid-20th-century design and furnishings, this is likely the house for you. Although I suspect the pieces that aren’t static will not be staying when the current owners move out.
Beyond that, it looks like the house has been updated in the fairly recent past, with other rooms looking fresh and neutral, except perhaps the bathroom, which looks amazing, by the way. Love those blue tiles.
As for the layout, covering something like 130 sq. metres of living space, the living room is the main focus, featuring that bespoke fireplace as well as a large bay window opening onto the terrace and swimming pool. Beyond that is a dining room and a Smeg-equipped kitchen area. The ‘night zone’ is made up of three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Not quite all as there’s also an independent studio of 40 sq. metres on the garden level, complete with a kitchenette and a shower room. According to the agent, a porthole looks into the pool, like an aquarium, and ‘diffuses a soothing blue light’. Which sounds lovely.
Of course, with a house like this, the inside space is only half of the story. Walk outside, and you will get an unobstructed view of the surrounding green hills, along with access to the swimming pool with its original 1960s mosaics and 120 sq. metres of terracing over two levels. As I said, the perfect place for a party or get-together.
Also making up the outside space is what’s described as a ‘landscaped park’ with palm trees, cork oaks, olive trees, cacti, citrus trees and other Mediterranean shrubs.
A 30 sq. metre garage is connected to the house by a covered walkway that runs along the rear façade, with a shed said to have options for conversion to an additional bedroom. A cellar and ‘technical room’ complete the layout.
Fancy this one? I know I do. Sadly, I don’t have the €1,295,000 to secure it. But hopefully, one of you out there does.
Images and details courtesy of Architecture De Collection. For more details and to make an enquiry, please visit the website.