Updated: Jul 13, 2021
After 25 years of living in London, Predrag Pajdic craved a change. His search for nature, wild landscapes and sunshine naturally took him to the South of France. Already a regular visitor to this corner of the world, he viewed around 20 properties before finding his maison de maître (“townhouse”) in the small town of Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort. A voyage of discovery and reinvention awaited him...
Built around the 12th century, the building immediately captivated Predrag’s attention by its sheer size of 5,400 square feet. The three floor dwelling has well preserved original features: vaulted ceilings, authentic terracotta floor tiles, fireplaces and a stone basin in the kitchen.
The first floor comprises a large, four room space laid out around a stone stairwell that circles up to an impressive skylight, illuminating the entire house. Two more floors were added at the beginning of the 18th century, when a prominent local merchant commissioned an extension to fit his big family.
The heart of the house — the second story — contains the living and dining areas, a second kitchen, two master bedrooms, a large bathroom and washrooms. Four sizable guest bedrooms make up the third level, some of which include balconies that overlook the lush garden, which is filled with the best of the region’s nature: grape vines and fig, olive, orange and lemon trees.
Because the previous occupant had taken great care in preserving the building’s ancient elements — a chance not afforded to all homeowners — there was little for Predrag to change structurally. Where he could really make it his own was in redecorating. Thanks to his career as an artist, art historian and contemporary art curator for many years in London, he has a unique sensibility for art and color.
Contrary to many houses in the South of France, which typically champion white washed walls and neutral colored wood, Predrag chose a dark matte gray for the living areas and entrance hall. A perfect backdrop for more eclectic interior design, this sober canvas is lightened by the long, hot days of the Mediterranean summer while being cozy and welcoming during winter.
The rest of the interior was painted pure white for a chic, monochrome look.
Thanks to the wealth of antique shops, brocantes and markets in the area, sourcing pieces for decoration was no challenge. So as not to create a wholly period design, Predrag counterbalanced antique finds with contemporary furniture. He even painted some in the same dark matte gray color to add a stylish twist.
A connoisseur of classical artifacts, Predrag has collected antiques and contemporary art all his life. His home is a fine stage for these curiosities: antique taxidermy, religious iconography, books from the 16th to 18th centuries, marble busts, 18th century Belgium tapestries and 18th-century French and Italian portraits.
After completing his passion project, it was only a matter of time before Predrag metamorphosed into a full-time antiques dealer and interior designer. Utilizing his skill in hunting for rare finds amongst the region’s many resources, Predrag opened his own online business — Treasure Cabinet
As this interior so eloquently shows, there is much treasure to be found in dusty corners and abandoned places, just waiting for us to discover and use once again. A true reincarnation of beauty!
Images: Joanna Maclennan
Text: Alice White Walker
Published originally by My French Country Home Magazine Jan/Feb 2021 Issue