The individual features of French, Italian, and Spanish Mediterranean farmhouses are different, but the spirit is the same. Expressed in the native language of each specific place — the terrain, the local materials, the rhythms of farm and family life — these houses are about gathering in shelter and enjoying the elements from a protected place, whether an interior room heated by a stone fireplace or a semi-enclosed terrace or courtyard. These houses are not grand Mediterranean villas. They have timbers in lieu of columns and asymmetrical, casually arranged facades. Constructed of earthy materials like tinted stucco, fieldstone, unpainted wood, and terracotta tile, they appear to have risen from the ground on which they stand. This is a natural architecture, not a rational one, so the forms are rarely symmetrical. Irregular windows, set deeply into masonry walls, punctuate the flat facades, often with the thin metal frames favored in 20th-century renovations.
The interior arrangement of space is equally organic, with rooms flowing one to the next. Terracotta tiles customarily cover the floors in patterns that shift throughout the house. Stone, simple paneling, or plaster-like walls and ceilings with exposed rafters and wood beams bring the outdoors in. Whether in a Spanish house wrapped around a courtyard or a French or Italian one with rustic porches and terraces, you are never far from nature.
The ideal escape from the modern world’s stress and affectation, the Mediterranean farmhouse style is a relaxed, romantic, sensual place where everything is real and rooted to the past.