Follow Your Instincts

A PASSION FOR THE ECLECTIC — A MIXING AND MATCHING WITH  EQUAL PARTS PURPOSE AND  ADMIRATION — ALLOWS A PERSON TO SEEK QUALITY AND DURABILITY WHILE ENJOYING A SENSE OF PERSONAL TASTE.  IN FACT, CRAFTSMANSHIP AND ARTISTRY REQUIRE SELF-ASSURANCE. ACCORDINGLY, THE FRENCH TOUCH INVITES BOLD SELF-EXPRESSION IN THE SELECTION AND PLACEMENT OF EVERY PARTICULAR PIECE. ONLY THROUGH THESE PERSONAL CHOICES DOES THE REINCARNATION OF THE ANTIQUE OR ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENT TRULY COME ALIVE AGAIN. SAVING THE OLD AND BEAUTIFUL TO SERVE ANEW IS BUSINESS FOR ME, YES; BUT MORE THAN THAT, IT IS A PERSONAL ETHIC, AND DEEPLY GRATIFYING.
The climate and geography of the Central Coast of California is sufficiently evocative of Pyrénées Atlantique that I can feel “at home” one minute and “homesick” the next. I am well planted in life here now, with my family, business and dreams all thriving. I travel back to France often enough to be reminded of the wonders of my Basque homeland and the reasons I love California and America. A fortunate man is well tied to his past and his future. I do not understand why some people try so hard to run from their shadows. First, it is impossible. That is reason enough. Second, if it were possible, you would be losing part of yourself. Understanding, acceptance and memory are stronger than denial and numbness. I really do believe it is good to follow Emerson’s advice and try to live ahead of your mistakes: “. . . Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt (creep) in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

When we were still new to the area and looking for a house, I would drive around, getting to know the neighborhood s. There are plenty of wonderful neighborhood s in the Central Coast, some too rich for my wallet, but it is interesting to study the houses—how they are constructed and what people do with  them. This kind of activity is called a “busman’s holiday,” I think, as you say in America.

One house I saw simply fascinated me. It is stunning, so French in its design and execution—from the slate roof, lucarnes (eyebrow dormer windows), zinc spires, deep eaves, shuttered window s and colombages (wood cross-structures)  like Basque houses, to the movement of the roof-lines that remind me of the building we created for the Basque éco-musée. And the superb quality of the post-and-beam construction! It is a well-conceived, well-made and exceptionally inviting, homey residence. The more you study it, the more impressive its quality.