Intro to mas d’étoile :: French Country Farmhouse in Wyoming

On a seemingly innocuous outing with a friend, she casually mentioned that she’d bought a piece of property in Wyoming. She showed me pics and I was obsessed.

They were stunning. The land. The mountains. I could smell the fresh air through the photos.

Before anyone blinked, I called my husband to inform him that we’d bought a piece of land in Wyoming.

He thought I was nuts. I am.

Through the years, I’d collected so many images of Provence style country aesthetics. I don’t know what my fascination is with that region, but there’s something special about the stone, reclaimed wood, green fields and lavender, and of course, simple and natural wood furniture.

We had no plan to build, but we love hosting and bringing people together. So, I started dreaming…and pinning….

Here were my key inspirations.

yes on over grouted stone!
yes on rustic, discolored stucco
yes to exterior reclaimed wood window headers
and 100% yes on reclaimed wood beams, real wood floors, and a giant window! no on the chandelier…

My mind was racing. I somehow stumbled into Billy Esperson, a highly-regarded builder who’s lived in the area for 20+ years. He understands how to build in zones 3 and 4, and specifically in this area which has seismic and considerable weather considerations. He was honest, knowledgeable, and let me blather on and on about my dream home. I could tell that he was collaborative and there were only solutions, not problems. My kinda partner!

Simultaneously, I’d started reading Fine Home Building magazine. I don’t know why as I only understood about 10% of what was written. But I just liked seeing what other experts were building and their tips and tricks for how to build just the right cold roof. What’s a cold roof??

The front page of the magazine is always an ad for Chief Architect. Hmmm…I spent a big part of my career designing software. Tiny screens, user interfaces, how people should interact with software. How fun would this be…to build a house!? Worth a try!

So I got a one month subscription and stayed up all hours of the day and night designing…dragging walls here, placing walls there, figuring out how much space a bedroom needed… The most exciting part is clicking the render button which creates an entire 3D model of the house!

I learned a lot about roof types, pitch, roof drainage, support walls, footings… At one point when I clicked render, I had an unexplained 80′ wall! I still have no idea what happened, so I ignored it and kept at it. I studied the sunrise and sunset with this nifty tool. I didn’t want to have a south-facing home due to the glaring light that streams in. It’s a shame to see all of these gorgeous California beach homes that have their blinds drawn in the afternoons.

By mid-month, I had a pretty solid layout with an attached hot tub room, man cave, and kitchen near the garage/mud room entrance.

French country home layout

I consulted two friends; one who’s built beautiful properties around the world and another who remodeled an abandoned Provence farmhouse into an insanely gorgeous home. Their questions and comments were invaluable.

Where’s the view? People don’t like to walk in and see a kitchen. Look at this valley….showcase the view! Do you like the smell of chlorine? Check out this bathroom I just saw in Mexico!

Can we get a load of this bathroom? I mean, it’s breathtaking, right?! I spent the next two weeks revamping the plans based on my friends’ feedback, then canceled my Chief Architect subscription and moved onto other things.

This is the first in a long series of posts about mas d’étoile. Thanks for following along on this journey!

About meesh

Meesh has a passion for people, creative projects, and technology. She enjoys painting furniture back to life, gardening, playing with her kids, and connecting people.