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Cap Ferret Holiday Home in Aquitaine, France.

If this wasn’t an exercise in patience and tenacity, I don’t know what is!


It took two years to get consent to build from the Mayor. The first design progressed through to the end of the planning process, then the rules changed and had to be withdrawn. The planning rules changed again half way through the second design and the same with the third design. We designed a two storey house, a single storey house, a rear extension to the existing derelict bungalow, a front extension, a loft conversion. For every route forward we were told ‘no’. The stumbling block was the one hundred year flood level, which the site sat just below. Even when we proposed raising the house up on stilts and including flood mitigation measures we were told ‘no’. The rules just kept changing.


It was only after a crunch meeting with the Mayor and the chief planner that the problem was unlocked. They could see we had been tied up in regulation and agreed a way out. We resurrected a design from the previous year, the building would be raised up above the 100 year flood level, all resolved. This time permission came through in record time.


The site is a short walk from the beach in Cap Ferret in Aquitaine in southern France. The house is finished in black stained cladding, the windows are large to bring the big blue skies in, the spaces are simple. The shared space is one large room, with kitchen, dining and living. A wood burning stove takes a central spot. The rustic timber flooring brings something of the beach board-walk to the interior. External timber structures are designed to create ‘courtyards’ to the front and the back, extending the living spaces as garden rooms outside.



Construction was completed in 2020 and the main contractor was BMC of Cap Ferret, France.

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