When you envision a successful star’s home, it seems logical to picture extravagance and luxury located in an upscale, and possibly secluded, California neighborhood. For Cy Curnin, vocalist for the New Wave group The Fixx—whose hits include "One Thing Leads to Another," "Saved by Zero," and "Red Skies"—that image of his home life is far from his reality. Instead, the singer has chosen to reside on an organic farm in France with his wife, young daughter, horses, sheep and 150 goats—all permanent guests at his bed-and-breakfast.
Ask Curnin for the reason why he chose to get his hands dirty and live
off the land and his answer sounds more like the beginnings of one of
his songs: He did it for love. But he’s quick to say that it didn’t
take long to find his passion for what he does and the land he calls
"This has been a discovery for me—like being at the right place at the
right time," he says. "In 2001, Aurélia, my then-girlfriend and now my
wife, decided just to pack her bags, leave New York and move back to
France, where she’s from originally. When she got there, someone gave
her a sheep, so she decided to go to school to study goat farming and
make goat cheese."
Curnin missed his love and a few years later decided to move out and
join her. The couple bought 20-plus acres of land and a 1790 longère
style home that was once a cattle farm in the Loire Valley of France,
two hours south of Paris. On the property, they built a
bed-and-breakfast, decorated with a mix of rustic and modern décor. Its
walls are three-feet thick, allowing the home and B&B to remain
naturally cool. Additional insulation was added where necessary and
wood-burning stoves and electrical heaters keep the rooms warm. "In
France, electricity is very cheap because they’ve invested in nuclear
power," Curnin says, "so the government gives you good tax kickbacks if
you use electricity."
The site has two rental homes (gites)—one that accommodates up to 12
people and another that can fit up to four—equipped with kitchens. The
B&B is a popular, rural getaway for many Europeans who enjoy a
holiday exploring the Loire Valley, which is home to beautiful
chateaux, countless wineries and delightful villages. The property
includes a lake for fishing, and children can participate in the daily
farm activities. Rates vary depending on the season and the space.
Once he had the land, it was the tragedy of September 11, 2001 that
turned Curnin’s attention to what he calls "food with barcodes," and he
realized that this farm could allow his family to be self-sufficient. "There hadn’t been one drop of pesticides or fertilizer ever put on
this soil other than natural," says Curnin. "We are now 100 percent
self-sufficient, and it only takes an hour or two hours of work every
day. It’s maintainable."
***I have always been a fan of The Fixx, going back to middle school,
college. And it's good to see the Fixx is still going!