All to Play For         

03.02.17

Serena Templeton catches up with French registered architect and real estate consultant Andrew Booth and discovers how thinking out of the property box can deliver a character-packed home-from-home

Tell us your passion for design and architecture?

One of the joys of being an architect is that you get to improve the quality of life of people by creating luxury hotel, leisure and workplace environments and of course family homes. The internet has changed the way we communicate and work, more people work from home or their second home, but this sometimes makes it more difficult to switch off and relax and have quality time with friends and family. As a society, I think we have to learn to enjoy these moments more. My passion for design and architecture derives from the challenge of creating a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces that exploits the location, the path of the sun and the four seasons.  My aim is to provide the architectural backdrop so that we enjoy more, the precious moments we spend together.

How easy is it to develop and self-build a property in France?

France has a planning system framework based on the assumption that you as a land or property owner have the right to develop, and provided that your development complies with your local area plan then you will be granted planning permission. Any planning application under law requires a French registered architect to submit and be the author of the project on houses over 170m² and it’s  advisable to use an architect on any project because a lot of technical information that you would expect to provide following planning is required at the planning stage.

If you want to self-build then you need a good team of architect, building inspectors (bureau du control) and artisans to take responsibility and insure the building complies with all French legislation, only then will you be able to obtain house insurance.

What steps should aspiring homeowners take when considering new build?

Make sure you get out of the property what you want, a new-build property should be like a handmade shoe, designed to fit the owner, if you are not happy with any aspect of the design ask if it can be changed to the way you want.  A second home needs to be easily accessible, can you fly or take the TGV?  Do you need a car when you get there?  Is it just for summer holidays or can you go there for weekends in winter?  Can you rent it out as a holiday let and would you want to? All these questions should be addressed and then there is the legal side regarding land registration, building contracts, 10 year warranties and maintenance contracts that require proper due-diligence and independent advice before you sign up to any project.

Has Brexit taken the edge of la belle France’s popularity as a second-home haven?

In the short term on a financial level the fall in sterling makes the Euro-zone expensive if sterling is your only currency, however, if you have investments in Euros or Dollars are you that effected? I have worked on properties in France for clients over the past 15 years and all the reasons they wanted a second home in France in the first place still exist, there is only one Cote d’Azur, Loire valley or Boulevard Saint-Germain. The Brittany coast provides some of the best sailing conditions in the world and Dinard golf will still be my favorite course. When it comes to enjoying yourself, France has something for everyone and when that is combined with good food, wine, fashion and culture, then I don’t see it being torpedoed by Brexit, and this is before one considers the available patrimoine on offer.

Abode Affiliates

  • Edenhurst
  • Moore Stephen
  • Worldwide Property
  • Smart Currency Exchange
  • 7Storeys
  • Enigma Yachts Limited
  • CID
  • BDO
  • Knight Frank
  • Wings
  • Gama Property
  • Oyster Yachts
  • Blevins Franks
  • Heron Real Estate
  • Cornerstone Tax Advisors
  • Lida Cucina
  • Rosemont Consulting
  • Monaco Real Estates
  • St Edward
  • Jumeirah
  • Worldwide Dream Villas
  • Coldwell Banker
  • Wall Street Luxury
  • St Francis Links
  • Panorama
  • Luxury Italian Living
  • Destinology
  • Alleyne Real Estate
  • Crane Resorts
  • Cyan International Properties
  • RDO
  • The Hideaways Club
  • Dost & Co
  • Dimora
  • Touch Design Group
  • Pedini London
  • Ultra Villa
  • MG&AG
  • Habitat First Group
  • Prestige Architects
  • Ibiza Transit Express
  • Alexander James
  • Yoo
  • Unique Home Stays
  • Strutt and Parker

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