Finally the day I have been dreaming about, we drive to our new old house! I
look up at its many levels the fizzing starts around my heart once again. I
feel like a kid!
I tentatively turn the large key to the huge wooden front door.
My heart is
racing as we walk down the hallway to finally see our house again after 6 long
months. The day is warm and sunny and the back garden is filled with
sunshine. The house is still dark because there's no power but some light has
sneaked through under the door as it is a beautiful blue sky day. We slowly walk
through each room introducing ourselves to the house. It is more beautiful than I remember.
All I can utter as I throw open each shuttered window is, oh my god! I feel like
I am just the caretaker of this beautiful house as it will be here longer than we
will, and I will respect it as such. We will try to restore it as best we can. There
is plenty of work to do. Nic and I feel excited about starting but also
overwhelmed by it all.
When we were going through the buying process Claire our realtor had been so helpful, sending photos of the house on the day before the last signing over, to ensure that the Fireplaces and fittings were still intact. In France the house is for sale but you have to stipulate you want the fireplace mantles, mirrors, cupboards, chandeliers, even floorboards etc etc as they can be taken out if you dont agree.
Through the long months, she helped us with insurance and legal jargon, power and water companies to register with etc etc. She was a huge help and has become a close friend. I think so many people viewed the house she was initially complacent about foreigners actually committing to a purchase.
Once we had a celebratory glass of bubbles we decide that we are going to start on the kitchen, which is the worst and ugliest room ( but tres important ) if we want to eat.
After we have bought a couple of items to start with I spend half a day pulling
70’s tiles off the kitchen walls preparing them for new tiling. It’s exhausting
work but every tile chipped away is closer to a new kitchen. The kitchen looks
like it was built in the ’50s, 70 years later than the original house and is long
and narrow and hard to work with. More like a galley kitchen, so we have to
work out what can fit and look good in it.
Nic cutting out the arch to make the kitchen feel larger..
We decide the kitchen needs to have a provincial style that will flow through to the al fresco dining area under the grapevine to the garden. I have a tendency to start off all minimalist and shiny then introduce more and more quirky pieces until the space is filled up, but rich with character. It’s an occupational hazard
Behind one of the stuccoed walls, we find beautiful brick and stone that someone had covered up 70 years ago.
We find an old workbench in a Brocante that Nic oils up to put my coveted Confit pots on and great storage for wine bottles underneath
Nic finds the ugliest bench in the world at a Brocante which he converts (by turning it upside down and cutting its legs off) into a gorgeous kitchen bench that I quickly paint up. Love it!
We have half-finished the space and feel happy with it. We still need shelving and to re-tile the floor but now I have a workable kitchen! Our barbecuing days have come to an end, except for actual barbecues.