Monday, 31 August 2015

Renovation project - Decorating in Brittany

Renovation project - Decorating in Brittany

It is almost time to leave the house, the last thing we are going to do is paint the walls and ceilings. In this part of Brittany there is a tendency to have wood on the ceilings, this helps with insulation but can make the rooms very dark which is not good if you have a very small house.

I am not sure where this tradition came from but so many of the houses are this way, dark beams and wooden ceilings (often with dark walls as well)

We want to keep the beams so that we can keep some of the traditional features but by painting between them a nice clean bright white the house will look so much bigger and fresher.

This is where we have our only problem with France. As you are aware we have always bought everything in France, after all we live here and want to contribute to our local community, but paint is one of those products that we have never found, well that is not exactly true, we have found paint and lots of it, just never the same quality that we found in the UK, it is the biggest gripe of everybody we know who renovates in France and we always bring lots of paint back with us from the UK on every visit, the owners had also left lots of paint in the house from their last visit.

However after us bringing the paint over I have now found a company that will deliver to France with very reasonable delivery charges I just wish I had found them earlier. If you click click on this link you will be able to see the range, which includes Farrow and Ball paints, and the charges, they will also provide an advice service. As I said I just wish I had found this earlier,

But we will be renovating again so next time...........

Here are the before and after shots of the difference a coat of paint and a couple of hours will make to the appearance of a room

renovating an old house in Brittany, France

renovating an old house in Brittany, France

renovating an old house in Brittany, Francerenovating an old house in Brittany, France
renovating an old house in Brittany, France

renovating an old house in Brittany, Francerenovating an old house in Brittany, France

renovating an old house in Brittany, France

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Saturday, 29 August 2015

Renovation project - Bartering in Brittany

Renovation project - Bartering in Brittany

There is still damp in the living room so John takes a look at this, the fire place has been blocked up, and he removes wood, we then realise that the chimney has not been capped, so whenever it rains water is coming in, this explains the damp on an internal wall, again we do not have the tools to do this job so set about finding a company that will.

We arrange for a company to come in and price up installing a wood burner and sorting out the chimney. Again this company has come through recommendations and is fully insured.

John cleans out the fire and there are 3 rubble bags removed, including a number of dead birds!

In the corner of the room there is the saniflo outlet pipe, this is currently covered by a curtain, there is still enough wood left to box it in, so John does this today, this is again one of those little jobs that makes a big difference.

Before painting the room John decides too empty the under stair cupboard and the smell of damp that comes from here is unbearable, but we do find a fantastic old trunk, this is now given pride of place in the living room as a side table.

Bags and bags of damp rubble are removed from this cupboard and as we take a break in the garden we get chatting to the guy from next door, who is incidentally called Guy!

He comes to have a look at what John has done, and John offers to give him a number of his tools as he is also renovating. He does not want to accept the tools as a gift so invites us in and gives John some fantastic bottles of vintage wine, result!!!!!

He also explains that he has some damp in his under stair cupboard (which is directly where we have just emptied the under stair cupboard)

So the problem will now be sorted for both houses, however when the door is closed on the cupboard the problem will remain as there is no air circulation, John sorts this quickly by drilling a couple of air holes in the bottom stair.

As we are chatting and explain about the chimney, he tells us he is going on the roof to do some work on his chimney so will happily cap the little house chimney until the owners arrange for the company to come in and complete the work.

I just love this town everybody is so helpful and friendly and bartering is still a way of life.

Wine for tools

Job for job

and more wine because they are just so nice!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Renovation Project - The leaving date is set!

Renovation Project - The leaving date is set!

Picture courtesy of
The house sales that we were waiting for have now had dates set, but it is not for another couple of months, everything is in place and nothing else is needed for them, so we have decided to set our date for leaving. It is next week!!!!!!

This gives us a week at the little house, John has finished the bathroom and the kitchen, I am still working on making sure that the estate agency job is all tied up.

But this means that John is at a loose end again, I could happily throttle that man when he has nothing to do, he mopes around and gets under my feet just go and find a hobby!!!!!!

He decides to keep himself busy with doing little odds and ends around the house.

These are little jobs that do not take long but again make a big difference. The stairs to the top floor have been very badly installed, the beautiful turned staircase was removed and a straight flight added, this is a job he does not have the tools for so he sets about trying to find a reputable company to do this work whilst he can over see it, but being France nothing gets done that quickly. He does find a company and the owners will be able to communicate with them when we are gone.

We have made sure that the company came recommended and has been established for some time and is fully legal, this should ensure that the work is completed to a high standard and the owners can go back if there are any problems

He also decides to put new lights on the stairs, again bare bulbs had been left, he does a little boxing in and the result is a new shelf that is finished nicely and is now usable rather than being rubble with a bare bulb.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of after and we only have the before shot, oops sorry about that!

I must admit,, it is starting to feel strange now, we are going to be leaving, we knew this was going to happen, but it was in the future, the future is getting close now


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Renovation project - Fitting a new bathroom in France

Renovation project - Fitting a new bathroom in France
John had already stripped the bathroom, in preparation for the new saniflo, and to make sure we had a shower that worked, and had connected the saniflo when it arrived, but now he can really get on with the job.

The bathroom had been fitted by a company for the owners some years ago, but again it had been fitted so badly that it all has to be removed, this is another easy job as most of it falls out with little effort.

The shower had had a leak since being installed, which meant that the floor and the walls were damp and rotten, John had already removed most of this and had installed new wooden floorboards.

The new sink unit goes in and all the pipes are boxed in, again this is so little extra work but makes the world of difference.

John replaces the light bulb (that has been hanging off bare wires!) I had freaked every time I had a shower as I was waiting for the water to splash on the light bulb and blow me up (yes I still have an over active imagination!)

This was replaced with a bathroom light and he also moved the wires from the extractor so that they can not be seen. It was at this point that John realised that the extractor had not been fitted well either and the roof tiles had been broken, he puts them back into place, which also resolves another leak that we had found!

John has not altered the electrics in any way, he has just moved the wires.

The finishing touches are put in place, and a coat of paint added to the walls, the only thing we have not done is glossed the door frame, mainly due to not having any gloss paint, but this is an easy job for the owners to do when they next visit.

Big tip

If you are having your house re wired make sure that you state you want the wires unseen otherwise you will have plastic trunking all around every wall and ceiling in your house, it is not difficult, but in this part of France, plastic trunking is the acceptable way of re wiring!

Fitting a new bathroom in France
Fitting a new bathroom in France

Fitting a new bathroom in FranceFitting a new bathroom in France

Fitting a new bathroom in France

Fitting a new bathroom in FranceFitting a new bathroom in France
Fitting a new bathroom in FranceFitting a new bathroom in FranceFitting a new bathroom in France

Fitting a new bathroom in FranceFitting a new bathroom in France

Fitting a new bathroom in France