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.

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Renovation

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.

Recovered

Recovered

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.

Renovating the kitchen

The kitchen is slowly coming together, it has taken years but we are nearly there. One of our tasks on our last trip was to complete the tiling of the worktop, grout it, seal it and place a trim all the way around the top. Sounds not too bad however it was difficult due to the fact that we had to lift the cooker top and sink to a level where we could tile underneath.

The cooker top and sink were placed onto wooden blocks.

The cooker top and sink were placed onto wooden blocks.

After a few days work it was more or less complete and we were able to give up on that dreadful chore of having to go out for meals 🙂 …

The completed work, it is looking great.

The completed work, it is looking great.

The kitchen area is quite dark so our final task was to fit under shelf lighting

Lighting under the shelves.

Lighting under the shelves.
www.sdllighting.co.uk

We looked at various DIY stores for cupboard doors and drawers that would fit our kitchen, no luck. So I asked at the local builders if they knew of anyone that could make them for us. They were very helpful in recommending a carpenter in the next village. Which we found and explained what we wanted, he asked for the type of wood to be used, sizes, and photographs. So armed with all of the information the carpenter required we returned the same day. One look at the photographs was enough to tell him that he knew the house. He had made the staircase etc for the previous owner. We are now waiting for a quote to complete the final stage.

This is a 3D model of our kitchen complete with the new doors. It was developed by our very talented son and is particularly useful when I want to know if our existing furniture and new furniture will fit into our home in Daglan. The basic colour scheme for the kitchen was helpful in choosing what type of wood and colour wood we needed for the doors and draws.

3D model of the kitchen

3D model of the kitchen
www.thevicker.com

A birds eye view of the kitchen and part of the lounge area.

A birds eye view of the kitchen and part of the lounge area.
www.thevicker.com

If you would like to see more of his work, check out www.thevicker.com


The “first leaks of the year” Working holiday

I had better explain the above, every time we go to France for our first working holiday of the year we experience radiator leaks. Our first was the most dramatic with Lake Garda in the bedroom and last year we had leaks from three of the downstairs radiators, not serious and easily fixable.

Well my list gets longer and longer for things to do when we get there:
1 Leave home in the middle of the night for a very early flight, find the airport, then where to park, the usual check in hassles then the long wait for that first flight of the day. With only a few hours sleep this is quite difficult.
2 Arrive in Bergerac, tired, find the rental car firm then find the rental car and find the way out of the airport – it always reminds me of the film ‘A Good Year’, where Russel Crow drives around and around in ever decreasing circles to find the exit of the airport car park.
3 Find a supermarket and shop quickly; it will close at 12’oclock. We have seen people having to leave their shopping and walk out of a supermarket at 12’oclock.
4 Check out the first leaks of the season, mop in hand ready for the deluge of water.
5 Look at and check our new appliances that were fitted over the winter period. See Tah Dah – the on going saga of the Kitchen
6 Have lunch, then clean several months of dust, make up the beds and fall onto them warn out.
7 Measure the interior of the property, so that Adam can create his 3D magic. He will model the interior so we can plan how the furniture will fit.
8 Trip to a brico (DIY store) to buy paint, wood, cupboard doors, knobs etc for the kitchen
9 Paint all of the downstairs, this will take about three or four days.
10 Work on the kitchen, shelves, cupboards, worktops etc.
11 Visit friends. I think that this should really be at number 7
12 Go to the local markets, always a must.
13 Pick up my sister from the airport, her first visit.
14 Visit the local tourist sites, restaurants and of course more markets.
15 A little early in the season for Brocantes, but I am hopeful.
16 Another pre dawn trip to the airport, arrive back in England and sleep for a week.

Our gorgeous village of Daglan, just to get us in the mood for our visit.

The village square, Daglan

The village square, Daglan

This is a small part of the large park at the back of my favourite Chateau in Daglan.  You can just see the forest that surrounds the village in the background.

Daglan

Daglan

Sarlat – this picture always reminds me of Christmas Carol:-“up a lane, where it has so little business to be. That one could scarcely help fancy it must have run there when it was a young house, playing hide and seek with other houses, and had forgotten the way out again”.

Christmas Carol?

Christmas Carol?

Sarlat – we shall be sitting at a local café next week sipping our morning coffee before we go and buy the fresh produce for dinner.

Sarlat

Sarlat

This will be our last “blog” for a few weeks, I will have lots to tell when we return

Tah Dah – the on going saga of the Kitchen

Renovation takes time. It is an obvious statement but very true. It is particularly true when we live so far away in England and can only work on our property for a limited amount of time each year. No builders to rely on, all our own work, so it takes years to complete. However, there are times when an expert is called for and gas fitting is one of those times. Great news, we have our white goods installed in the kitchen, tah dah.

This picture was taken before we started to remove the tiles from the wall. We only had a small four ring hob and no oven. Also half of the old hob was gas powered and the other half was electric. I imagine it’s a good idea in case of power cuts but not really very practical otherwise. I have tried many times to light the electric rings with a match, not good first thing in the morning, when you are tired out from yesterdays renovation work.

Before

Before: please do not look at the bright orange walls, our aim is to paint them this year

The start of the transformation, the gorgeous new travertine tile splash back fitted . The cooker, cooker hob and dishwasher were still stored in the lounge.

The start of the transformation

The start of the transformation

I am so excited, I have never had a dishwasher before, (except for Paul and Adam). I know that I am easily pleased and that I should get out more but it is great.

Our dishwasher

Our dishwasher

Cooker hob, looking good, a great improvement over the 1960s unit.

Cooker top, looking good

Cooker hob

The oven, complete with clock.

The oven, complete with clock

The oven, complete with clock


All we need now is a new refrigerator, chest freezer, cupboards, worktop, shelves, complete the tiling, paint the walls etc but it is a good step in the right direction.

The new cooker and dishwasher pictures were taken by friends in Daglan who had also organised the plumber/electrician who fitted the white goods along with some other behind the scenes work to the gas piping.

We have not been over to France yet this year but are very excited for when we finally see our new equipment and are able to really make the most of that wonderful fresh food.