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Architect’s home in Nîmes

Architect’s home in Nîmes

Just one stove for 220m2

A stone’s throw away from the famous Carré d'Art in Nîmes, an unusual looking building, both traditional and contemporary, hides a 220m2 apartment renovated by the Roulle-Oliveira Architectes agency. With its forty-five windows, two huge sliding glass doors and central patio, this project could have been difficult to heat: and yet just one Stûv pellet stove and three towel driers are all it takes to transform this space into a cosy cocoon, even in the middle of winter...

The story began 8 years ago

Architects Sophie Roulle and Maxime Oliveira set up their agency on the ground floor of a two-storey building in Nîmes, not far from Norman Foster’s Carré d'Art. In 2014, the owners of the apartment upstairs came to see them: they wanted to renovate their flat in order to rent it out, but were put off by the high costs of the work involved, so they decided to sell instead. Sophie Roulle and Régis, her partner, had just decided to move out of their house; so they jumped on the opportunity and bought the flat themselves to make it their main home.  

Untouched for some years

The property presented a number of issues: exposed to the north west, it was particularly dark and too cramped to take the full programme of work that its new owners had planned for it, which included five bedrooms, an open-plan living area, and if possible a swimming pool. Instead of converting what was there, Sophie Roulle decided to get rid of everything and, with the agreement of the Architectes des Bâtiments de France, took the opportunity to add a third floor to the building, so that all the specifications could be fulfilled.

The elegance of flames

The elegance of flames

So the first floor now houses a master suite as well as the living areas: a huge patio accessible via wide sliding glass doors, as well as an open-plan kitchen leading to a large living room presided over by the Stûv P-10 pellet stove, installed by the Nîmes-based company, Ambiance Chaleur. “A pellet stove was the obvious choice for us, because it’s much more practical to move around bags than logs, especially up to the first floor,” explains the architect, who says that she also chose the Belgian company for the elegance of the overall design of its products, but above all for its flames, which really stand out from the crowd. The four bedrooms - two of which have their own ensuites - are on the second floor, which also houses a terrace with a swimming pool, above the master suite.

Final touch to brighten up the whole thing

All the windows, including those in the external walls, and those inserted in the roof. There are forty-five openings in total, distributed across 220 square metres, letting in the sunshine. This choice had its own consequences, especially when it came to heat: “With this surface area, and all the windows, you might thing that one stove and three towel dryers wouldn’t be enough to heat it all, especially during winter in Nîmes, which is much colder than you might imagine!”

Perfectly adequate heating

“And yet, burning pellets is so efficient that these four elements meet our needs perfectly,” concludes Sophie Roulle with a smile... a very warm one at that.

To the dealer

Focus on: the Stûv P-10 stove

Focus on: the Stûv P-10 stove

Its powerful vertical flame is instantly recognisable. A real signature, thanks to the specific way pellets burn, and one which the company has been able to make the most of thanks to the design of the combustion chamber. With large areas of glass, it can also be pivoted easily with a key, the “cool handle”, so users can enjoy the beauty of the stove from anywhere in the room. For clean, elegant performance, all the technical elements, like the pellet store and the ash pan, are hidden in the base, which can be customised for your very own finish. There is no doubt at all that it will find a place in your home, however unique it is...


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