La Cuisine (Kitchen)
Removing the old Kitchen wasn’t a delicate matter. What was left of the clay brick walls (non load bearing) will make its way to hardcore for the Patio base. We also learnt that hiring a Skip is a British thing, probably because you can always find a corner of the garden to put rubble on and call it hardcore for a patio project. You can take the stuff to the Decheterie if you want to - as the French recycling sites are excellent and very well run and extremely clean and professional affairs. …They have “tip shops” too…some top finds in there !
The Kitchen renovation saw the old kitchen removed, two internal walls removed, water leaks from the bathroom above repaired, all beams sanded, under floor / above ceiling insulation fitted, LED spotlights fitted, plaster boarded, electrics repositioned and sockets fitted, Travertine Floor…… etc, etc
Although an attempt to find a Kitchen in France was made (rather than import via the trusty ifor Wiiliams box trailer in tow) we decided to import a UK Kitchen and assemble on site (please note this was pre- Brexit ! - unknown outcome on that one, at time of writing) A Kitchen fitter proved to be an elusive find as-well. Therefore, Screwfix.eu delivered the tools for the job and You Tube provided the tutorial for Kitchen fitting for dummies and how to make butt and scribe joints…a scary and tense few days with replacement work tops back in the UK - no mistakes allowed..
We discovered that a worktop router is a serious bit of kit and if you don’t clamp things down it will cause some serious damage (we did test it on a spare bit of worktop before hand).
As they say in Wales - we think the Kitchen is LUSH !
Thomas Passebon - Local French Electrician rewiring the Kitchen. He was a pleasure to work with. Thomas put up with my poor French and an ever evolving change of plan. We had a few local electricians come to quote for work as the blue spiky stuff in the wiring will kill you in the wrong hands. French trades (in our experience) are very professional, good at what they do and have an extended apprenticeship, so are knowledgeable and skilled. By comparison to the UK they are more expensive but they won’t cut corners. As long as you are clear with what you want, at least attempt to explain in French and recognise that the pace of life is different.- you’ll be fine (C’est Bon). Finding a tradesman with an email address or website is a bonus and google translate is fantastic to get the ball rolling if language is a barrier. It’s not a perfect translation tool but helps when you know what you want - but don’t have the vocabulary to translate - its a 3 phase system, giving you 20 amps per phase and I want to install a 16 amp double oven…is this ok ?
Ceilings plaster and Lights installed and all wiring done.
The Travertine we laid (awaiting grouting and seal at this stage). We were lucky enough to find a very local supplier for the Travertine. We went for Grade B as once you grout it it looks very authentic and aged. Back in the UK you can get the same at £50 per sq metre. SW France only 16 Euros a sq.m….Bargain !…that is until you decide to do the entire ground floor in the stuff…which we did !
La Salle de Bain - Shower room
The “Iconic” Ground floor shower room didn’t have a great deal of appeal at first ! All tiles removed, thermo warm backing installed, Plumbing re-routed (Plumbing by Julien Cadene). Travertine tiles sourced from Local reclamation (B&H). Bi Fold shower screen. …loo roll holder etc.
No more to be said other than the before and after pictures…not pleasant in the early part of the renovation work and living there….I even managed to get most of the tiles straight.
Le Salon - Living Room
An original picture as we saw the house….The 12 - kw fire place that we removed - a long lever and a bit of rope is all it took….well that and a lack of plan to do it any other way…On our first day there it was so cold (about -4 degrees outside) there was condensation on the outside of the windows ! I kid you not !…light the fire, Kimbely said…which we did…and smoke logged the entire house in the process…”I thought you were a Fireman ?” She said…my reply…”I was, and I used to put them out, not light them” - now can you open the window please….its cold in here !
Living room with gallery landing above. Travertine floor (B&H again…) No furniture in at this point as can’t quite decide on what furniture goes in just yet (January 2019)
A new Central heating boiler was installed and radiators changed through out - we guessed the system was a good 25 years old and the radiators either leaked or didn’t work properly. Of note…French central heating pipe work is a different size to the UK and they tend to braise joints rather than solder. Julien Cadene (local French plumber) was a brilliant contact for braising connections and solving problems that we simply couldn’t.
The Fireplace we re-firbished and rendered with new stove pipe, flue and wood burner (free wood from the garden - some already seasoned and dried - some ready for the net few years) - All in all - toastie warm on a Winters night. A far cry from our first January in 2018
Old fire - removed with some gentle encouragement
New Floor to living room, dining room, kitchen and ground floor bedrooms - French tile pattern style ….or a large jigsaw…you decide.
Kimberly - ever resourceful and expert Ebay type…..repainting the first tranche of bedroom furniture…bought for buttons, bit of paint…Bargain ! As she’d say. Although a small note to self is required….Don’t take the double mattress to France when you meant to take the king size ! Oh, and by the way….French Mattresses aren’t the same size as the UK…they are EU sizes (like Ikea)….but I won’t open the box called Brexit….not that I care anymore as I’ve researched my entitlement to an Irish EU passport…Thank you Grandad !…So, removal of freedom movement may be an issue for those wanting to make “Britain Great Again”….meanwhile I’ll wave to you from the shorter passport control queue..
La Chambre - Bedroom