Episode 60- Tall Tales.. A journey toward terrace chic

DSC01624Renovation, restoration, elevationDSC00067

The most dramatic change, to date, in our ongoing project to renovate and restore a village house in the far south of France  has been the genius addition of the roof terrace.

We started (see episode 2 of early posts) with the view from the small, high window at the back of the smallest bedroom on the second floor .

Planning permission has changed recently, but the first stage in establishing the likelihood of permission being given was for our estate agent to approach the village Mayor  and get and idea whether permission was likely to be granted in an historical village. Fortunately Campagne -sur-Aude is not (yet) under the auspices of “ bâtiments de France” heritage body which  would have restricted where and how we could change the building.Dining Room Ceiling SteelsAlthough few of the village houses here had terraces built, the Mayor saw no issues in principle.

We were originally advised (by English house owners) that it would be a simple matter of providing detailed drawings of the back elevations “before and after”  and filling in a few forms.House Roof TerraceI suspected this was inaccurate and I was proven right, so we put the matter into our builder’s hands and he navigated the maze of planning and building permissions effectively and professionally as he is also a trained draughtsman.

The old crumbling roof was removed and to support the new structure, steels were cut into the dining room ceiling and the house walls-left and above- On this base concrete block work and metre height walls  went around with drainage spouts at the back which will eventually feed in to a gutter and  downpipe to the courtyard below. New hardwood double glazed French doors and shutters were installed with traditional black metal fittings

The terrace was finished with a heavy duty, non slip tile and the walls rendered  IMG_0069018

Handy hint- Don’t try this yourself!

Unless you are experienced in constructing exactly this type of project, I believe this is one for the experts. A mistake could compromise the whole property ( a family in Provence found that their roof terrace was pushing the walls of their house out and  down and the whole place had to be reconstructed from the ground upward!)

Jean-Marc achieved engineering perfection, although the terrace appears perfectly level and flows virtually seamlessly from the bedroom, it has a subtle slope exactly right for allowing water to drain away as it should.

Handy hint- Consider carefully position and aspect of your proposed terrace!

DSC01627 South facing in full sun might be OK in the UK or other cooler countries, but as summer temperatures here are high and there is no natural shade at roof level, you may find your new outside space unusable in July and August! Our terrace is oriented east-west, so coffee and breakfast and evening drinks are pleasantly sunny- at noon, the parasol goes up or we can move to the shady spot by the French doors.

Because the terrace isn’t actually at the  highest point of the roof, we have the low pitch of our neighbour’s wall and roofs offering  protection  from winds and we have our own little micro-climate up here which will be perfect for the plants that we will add when we move here.

I have ready to install traditional style black metal scrolled screens which will admit all the light but provide privacy on the one aspect where we  might be slightly overlooked from a couple of windows in the next street      sept13 072

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.

2 Responses to Episode 60- Tall Tales.. A journey toward terrace chic

  1. Dominic billing says:

    The pictures look great and a real improvement. I’m thinking of getting a terrace built ,with permission. Would you be able to give me the builders details? If you don’t mind me asking, how much did it cost?
    Many thanks


    • Hi Dominic

      Our builder is Jean-Marc Marin of
      Entreprise ” Roger Marin et Fils” his office is on Avenue du Roussillon, Campagne sur Aude 11260
      His sister Cathy deals with the admin side & runs the office.
      Our terrace cost 9,150 euros , but that was in 2008 as one of the first things we did structurally. So will be a bit more now!
      Jean-Marc is also a trained draughtsman and organised all the building permits- where are you in France?



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