“I didn’t want the kind of manicured garden that would mean I’d have to come out on weekends and mow the lawn,” says Jean-Baptiste Barache of the country home he built, mostly by himself, over a year and a half.
Like the barns Barache scampered through as a child, the house divides its length between loftlike open spaces like the living room, which opens onto a small deck perfect for open-air lolling, and stacked-box nooks and crannies.
In his kitchen built on the cheap, Barache installed appliances donated by a few architectural Good Samaritans. “I don’t even remember where the sink is from,” he says. Two built-in sliding-door cabinets house the kitchen basics, and the custom-built dining set, a modern riff on the farmers’ table and benches, is large enough to welcome family and visitors dropping in for a meal.
The second floor houses three lits bretons, boxlike compartments where the curtains can be drawn to close sleepers off from the world. Inside, each has a built-in shelf for personal belongings and a favorite read.
A series of horizontal window panes on the rear facade serves as vanes for ventilation and adds a craftsmanlike design come nightfall, when the house is lit up by the flicker of candlelight and gas lamps.