December 25th, 2021 – Our team is here in South of Ardèche to meet Cynthia, Dom and their daughters Eloa and Nell, an inspiring, cheerful and animated family.
We recently awarded them for their highly innovative construction. This stunning house combines the most recent technologies for energy savings and performing natural material.
We are sitting here on the large terrace, next to the natural pool. From there the view on the lush landscape is impressive.
Nathalie Cohen: I see joy and pride in both of you. Tell us how this project was born.
We moved to Ardèche to get closer to the Hameau des Buis which was at the time a reference in the ecological and passive construction. We felt highly inspired by this lifestyle. For us living in harmony with the nature has always been a priority. Building our own passive ecological house became our focus and we wanted it to be of high quality. We started then a deep research regarding the technologies to get the house 100% passive. The choice of materials was of high importance: we wanted them to be exclusively natural.
Nathalie Cohen: Not only is this house an example in terms of performance, it is as well very beautiful.
You know I have always been attracted by what is beautiful. This criterion is essential to me. We were very concerned by keeping the construction in harmony with the environment. Of course we wanted to feel comfortable inside and outside.
Nathalie Cohen: While we visited the inside I was astonished by the carefulness of the decoration.
Thank you for your compliment. As I said I love what is beautiful. We chose furniture made of the best woods so that they are durable. For the walls we wanted organic coatings; some walls are painted others are covered with soil plaster. The pieces of art were ordered to a friend of mine whose style really matches our tastes. I gave a specific care to the choice of colors. A feng shui master advised us to design the interior and create a comfortable atmosphere.
Nathalie Cohen: Tell us a bit more about the gardens.
We are permaculture lovers. We followed some training courses to learn how to design the gardens according to the permaculture principles. We believe it is the best technique to ensure abundance while respecting the biodiversity of our ecosystem. It is fascinating to observe how our housing and the gardens can embed to form a harmonious system.
Nathalie Cohen: It looks as if you valorize your creative talents as well for the outside.
Of course ! I love flowers and colors. It is huge what we can create with the nature. You know whatever I do I like the result to be beautiful. I like spending time preparing flower arrangements to decorate the inside. I am so pleased I can get the flowers and the herbs straight from the garden.
Nathalie Cohen: We had lunch together before the interview. The meal was delicious. Do you produce all the vegetables ?
Yes our gardens are very productive and the fruits and vegetables are gorgeous. We love cooking, looking for new recipes with fine ingredients. Healthy cooking is a very important value for us. We could not enjoy it as much if we were cooking poor products.
Nathalie Cohen: We had a tour of the fields all around and I was surprised to see so many animals.
Children love animals; they like running with them, treating them, feeding them… We have ponies, donkeys, chickens, rabbits, sheeps, dogs and cats. Our daughters are homeschoolers and we believe growing with animals give them other resources for their learnings. They know a lot about the animals. If they are a bit nervous or anxious being with the animals help them find their peace.
Nathalie Cohen: You talked about homeschooling. This is very uncommon… Tell us a bit more about this project ?
Indeed homeschooling is not very common in France. We see more families making this choice but it remains by far marginal. Family life is very important for us and we could not see being separated from our daughters 5 days a week. We wanted them to learn in a different way, by experience, at their own pace. Learning what they are interested in not what is imposed to them. This is why we are striving for our environment to be a source of materials for learnings. We also value a lot the traditional craftsmanship.
Nathalie Cohen: Homeschooling requires the availability of at least one parent. How do you manage financially ?
I have been trained at a high level to build a new blueprint and achieve success in whatever I undertake. I was already successful in my life but this time I learned how to control my subconscious in order to reach high-class objectives. I am leading a successful ecommerce company. The growth in our sales has continuously shown a steep increase as soon as I started to concentrate my mind on the success of my business.
In addition we enriched our income flow by owning different real estates.
With this affluence I feel deeply peaceful. Every day I allow myself some free time to spend with my daughters. I also dedicate time to keep on personal growth development.
Nathalie Cohen: I could understand from some talks we had apart that you support the development of a school ?
Yes this is right. School education is an important matter for us. In our area there was no school really matching our expectations and our ideals. Some years ago we met a woman who is now a good friend of us. At that time she was battling to open a kindergarten; she could not get the funds. We talked a lot about her project and the pedagogy behind. Her talks were echoing deeply in us; we wanted this project to open as soon as possible. We became members of the board of directors, helped raise funds to cover the running costs and we donate to pay the salaries of the educators. Our purpose is to strive for maintaining an affordable scholarship. Today the school tells about a hundred families.
Nathalie Cohen: I feel grateful for this time spent together. You are very inspiring. Your lifestyle is a model and I hope your story will help many people make their dream come true.