Episode 16- The Doors: part 1

DSC00172renovation, restoration, repetition….


Let me tell you a little story about DOORS.

We had thirteen. This count has now gone up to sixteen (actual or conceptual at present) thank goodness. I am not superstitious but we need all the luck we can get for our French house renovation project!

Perhaps I should list them individually as this is the sort of day to day minutiae that preoccupies me when I should be doing other things, like working to keep two French roofs over our head , but the doors are always there, rolling around in technicolour slide show, and are critical to the look and use of each room so they do deserve a post of their own.

1) The Front door- lovely 1930’s styling with back glass to let in light. Made from solid mid coloured hardwood and with scrolled metal vintage handle. After battling Trevor who wants to put a nice new (handle) one on, I get my way. We decide to leave it as wood rather than painting it to match shutters.

I take a whole day to clean it , lovingly rub down all the twiddly little bits by hand using copious quantities of sand paper.I then apply three coats of lasure ( now established as optimum treatment for exposed wood as per the French window shutters (see episode 13) allowing each to sink in and dry (day two)

I accidental pass some lasure over the cleaned handle and am so charmed by the vintage rustic effect this adds to said handle that rub some more in – unconventional but gorgeous effect!DSC00172x2

Next time we return, all above work has been undone as renovations on pretty house opposite have spilled out into the street and there is cement smeared everywhere with bits of ground rubble/dust attached and set solid on my newly finished door. Cue French swear words, pointless as this is clearly karma bouncing back for the muck & rubble we have created in the street and we can hardly complain.

Maybe we should take a leaf out of the neighbour’s book, who have apparently taken out everything in their house, leaving only four walls and the roof, and put in new walls, ceilings, floors, staircases, fixtures , fittings……… everything. This is clearly a quicker, easier and less stressful job than loving restoring bit by bit and replacing lost character features by scouring world (via ebay) for suitable replacements to carefully add back.

OK, answers on a postcard please.

  1. The Cave door- I love it’s ancient patched quirkiness (sounds a bit like me) and am convinced that with new locks and handle and glass panels it will look both authentic and rustic; but Trevor is itching to get rid and replace and although I win most of these battles I have to concede occasionally for sake of harmony (do I ? answers invited)

I paint it anyway to show him how sweet it is and it suffers the same fate as the front door………… DSC00171

As cave is darkest part of house due to having low ceiling and thirty feet to nearest light source at back, I decide that a set of narrow French doors here will be more practical and will let in stacks more light . I am now thinking of using original door for interior access door to cave , but the jury (Trevor) is most decidedly out on that idea.


About coteetcampagne

Artist, period home maker, renovator, restorer, Francophile. My mission is to save the old stuff, one beautiful piece at a time
This entry was posted in Renovation and restoration diary- France, What we did, how we did it and what we used and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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