Update: La Virevolte has closed, SLurl links have therefore been removed from this article.
“Twirling like a butterfly, fluttering in the sky, choosing the most fragrant flowers, regardless of the end of summer.” So reads the introduction to the latest incarnation of La Virevolte (The Twirl), the highly photogenic Homestead region designed by Iska (sablina). When last we visited, the region was in the grip of winter. With this incarnation, the region has a new look caught in the Sun – as the description says – of late summer.
A visit starts on a terrace outside of a little café. It sits in the corner of a little hamlet built alongside a channel-like canal running east-to-west through the region, splitting it in two. A house also occupies the terrace, a vintage Citroen van serving as a mobile fresh produce stall, sitting between the two. Facing them sits another house, the barn alongside seemingly in the process of being converted into a home. House and barn sit on an island of grass surrounded by a loop of road.
The western end of this loop touches on a headland ending in a promontory of rock on which is perched a lighthouse keeping watch on things. North of the hamlet, beyond the road’s loop, the land offers rugged grassland rising to a rocky bluff. This open, rugged land continues around the east of the region, grassy slopes rising within the shoulders of a high v-shaped plateau. The grass between the slopes and the café are divided in part by an ancient stone wall, cupping a wild garden between it and the hamlet’s buildings.
Across the channel – which is spanned by a stone bridge – a road runs south before curling to wind its way up the stepped landscape, ending among tall pines trees, where a track points east to where an old farmhouse sits atop a rocky shelf, the land between track and building also falling in gentle steps, some of which are – like the terraces below – retained by ancient drystone walls.
These terraces are in part cultivated, presumably by whoever lives up in the farm-house. The lowest one is given over to root and vine vegetables, while grapes are ready for harvesting on the next terrace up. They and the vegetables point to the late summer setting for the region. Stone steps climb the terraces, offering a shorter route up to the track leading to the farm-house for those who don’t feel like walking the road.
This is another marvellous design by Iska, one made particularly attractive by the way things like the building have been brought together. Take the house across the road from the café, for example; part of the original wall seems to have collapsed at some point, and an effort has been made to replace it with a red brick wall. Elsewhere sit the carcasses of an old a car and van, the former turned into a little garden, the latter now serving as a snuggle spot. These and the children’s toy and tricycle in the grounds of the houses, a broken flower-pot on a doorstep, all give the feeling that this is a home to unseen locals.
Walking through the region, it is very easy to picture you’re deep in rural France. I was immediately put in mind of parts of the Massif Central (the open water and lighthouse notwithstanding), given the general style of the houses. I mentioned this to Iska as we talked about the design. “The southern foothills of Massif Central, yes!” she replied. “[With] a lot of fountains and rivers, I love the sound of water everywhere.”
To say this is once again a photogenic design would be an understatement; it is a painting in and of itself, the selected windlight and sound scape both complementing it perfectly. Throughout the region are places to sit and admire / cuddle, such as the aforementioned old van, a picnic blanket out on the banks of the channel, the tables of the café and more.
Altogether, another fabulous design, kudos to Iska in building it and offering it to people to visit. and thanks to Shakespeare for the nudge concerning the redesign.
- La Virevolte (Lemon Beach, rated: Moderate)