The ups and downs of renovation

We have been working particularly hard the last three weeks renovation our bathroom. The first job for me was to clean the antique mirror that we bought at the brocante in Daglan a few weeks ago. After various checks on the internet it was found that washing up liquid in a bucket of water was the best idea for cleaning old gilt, so armed with a soft toothbrush I set to work one sunny afternoon.

renovationTwo hours later I had completed the back of the mirror the difficult intricate detail on the front of the mirror was yet to come. After informing Paul that dinner would be a little late this evening I set to work once more.

Another three hours work and the mirror was finished.


DSCN1418The original mirror from the bathroom was taken down and placed onto our son’s bedroom wall. A wooden frame was built and varnished to match the wooden bed on the right hand side of the picture.

DSCN1419Unfortunately Paul realised that the partition walls upstairs were thinner than the length of the drill, he had drilled through to the next bedroom. This is one hole there are three others. Never mind, its just another job on our to do list.

We were only going to re-tile one wall but after completing the one wall with new the tiles, the old tiles looked even more terrible so another two walls needed work, another trip to Sarlat this time for more tiles. Paul took off the old tiles and you guessed it, the plaster came off too. Back to the DIY store for plaster which took four days to dry.

DSCN1421Here is half of one of the walls with the new tiles the other half of the wall took longer to tile due to the undulating nature of our walls.

Next came the wall at the back of the shower and toilet so Paul protected the shower and toilet with plywood and cardboard. One tile fell off, hit the cardboard corner first, cut it and the plywood like a knife through butter and the result can be seen in this picture.

DSCN1422I am glad to say that a new toilet was bought on the next visit to the DIY store and is now in place.

DSCN1432Finished with no further problems and looking great. The wash hand stand was purchased from a brocante shop in Daglan that Paul renovated. It has a gorgeous marble top that cleaned better than we expected and is in keeping with the period of the house.

Events:- Not to be missed- Daglan Art’Ceou Exposition which runs from the 19th June to the 3rd July

Also, Fête de la Musique – 21st June in Sarlat throughout the Medieval town, for jazz, blues and rock music.


The One Of A Kind!

To be really honest, like many people who was scared while watching the Alfred Hitchcock movie “Psycho” in their early teenage years, I had developed a phobia to showers, in particular showers with curtains! So it was a little upsetting to have a one of a kind shower in our small bathroom in France.

To be fair it did not have a shower curtain but it was a strange cylinder shape that made you feel totally enclosed once inside, I should mention that I am also claustrophobic!


Our old cylinder shower


However, I am not one to shrink from a challenge and into the shower I went, panic at first but then I was so busy trying to keep the non closing door closed to prevent the water going all over the bathroom floor, and at the same time trying to regulate the temperature of the water from freezing to boiling point that my fear dissipated long enough for me to have a shower.


Not a lot of room as you can see, it had to go.


After planning the layout of the bathroom and looking at and testing out showers! I must explain that in order to have a new shower in the bathroom I had to step inside each shower on display in the various stores we visited to test out my phobia, panic or no panic! The result is below, a new shower which is perfect, no panic at all.


In with the new


Now all we need to do is to find an antique wash stand with a marble top and a hand basin to compliment it, remove the tiles from the walls and floor and replace them with something more to our liking, paint the woodwork. The to do list seems to be getting longer!


French News:-

Single-use plastic bags are set to be banned from French shops by this month, April 2016. A second law is planned for January 2017, which will ban all other kinds of disposable plastic bags including those provided for packing fruit, vegetables and cheese!

Also, a ‘doggy bag’ law has come into force in France in an attempt to cut down on food wastage in restaurants across the country, brilliant, although I do not remember leaving enough food to take home when I have eaten in a French restaurant!

No radiator leaks

We have returned from our renovation work on our home in Daglan France, with great news – no radiator leaks. I was ready for the annual flood of water which always starts with a small trickle and finishes with an indoor swimming pool, but no leaks, wonderful.

One of our tasks this visit was to make our home more “cat friendly”. This we completed with the help of bamboo fencing on the balcony, veranda and courtyard.

DSCN0772I plan to grow a variety of pot plants that will I hope, meander up and along the bamboo.

DSCN0804The large veranda at the back of the house is still in need of some loving care. We are hoping to replace the windows and install French door’s after our move to France.

DSCN0805More bamboo fencing? Paul relaxing in our courtyard on a gorgeous hot day.”>DSCN0806And we partitioned the chaufferie – boiler room.

With luck the more obvious cat temptations are now less tempting … but cats will be cats.

On A Long Hot Summer Night

Now that Spring is here the thought of Summer is not too far away, my thoughts go back to the gorgeous days and warm nights of the Perigord last summer.

Castlenaud bathed in sunshineCastlenaud bathed in sunshine

a picnic on the shore We had a picnic on the shore and watched the canoes go by.

a swim in the dordogneSo hot that two dogs just had to go for a swim in the cooling water of the Dordogne.

This will be our last blog for a few weeks, we are going to France.
So once again our ‘to do’ list:-

1. Leave home after breakfast, awesome, the flight time has changed to one o’clock, so no getting up in the middle of the night.

2. Frantic rush in France to buy groceries at the Supermarket before it closes.

3. Check radiators for leaks, bucket in one hand and plumbers phone number in the other hand.

4. Clean and make up the beds, the house has been closed since last September but it gets so dirty.

5. We are in need of a chimney sweep before October so the hunt is on.

6. Order and take delivery of a couple of thousand litres of central heating oil.

7. Make a list of everything that we will need to buy at the DIY store-also a list for the market – shops will be closed for two or three days for Ascension Day ‘faire le pont’.

8. Visit friends

9. Work on the balcony-if sunny, it’s too open for our curious cats or make a boiler room door if raining, also too open for curious cats.

10. Enquire about a phone and internet connection

11. Visit Flea market in Sarlat

12. More cleaning and DIY

13. Our treat-visit Chateau de Hauteford

14. Paint the French window in the master bedroom

15. Visit more friends

Next blog on our return


Furniture renovation seems to be a yearly habit for Paul and I; last year it was the linen chest and bedroom chair, this year we have focused on the dining room chairs. At first I did look into stripping and re-varnishing the chairs, but I am not that skilled and we would need then to strip and varnish the rest of the dining room furniture. So the chair cushions it was.

This is one of our chairs in need of new padding and new material.

A chair in need

A chair in need

The colour scheme in the lounge/dining room in our French home is duck egg blue and country cream, so we needed material to match. The material that we found is from Laura Ashley, it is a gorgeous white with a light grey Regency pattern on linen fabric.

1 Paul removed the cushion from the chair, not an easy thing to do, it had plenty of screws underneath attaching the seat to the chair. With the seat free and accessible he had to remove the old material which was stapled every half inch.

Out with the old, in with the new... material

Out with the old, in with the new… material

2 Then he cut a new piece of foam to size

Cutting the foam

Cutting the foam

3 I love the Regency print – I then cut the material to size with about 4cm left to tuck under the seat for fixing.

Work in progress

Work in progress

4 Paul then placed the backing material over the reverse side of the cushion and stapled it in place under the seat base.



5 Screw the recovered seat onto the chair frame and we have one chair complete, only another five to go.

One chair done...

One chair done…

I have enough linen left to renovate our rocking chair seat and back cushions – awesome.