Save Our Souls – A Restorer’s Plea

French House Restoration Renovation, Restoration, Restraint.

I have just seen another 100 year old tiled floor and a panel of beautiful wall tiles (reminiscent of those in Monet’s kitchen at Giverny) hacked out and thrown in a skip.

I understand all too well that initial urge to update, uprate & improve when presented with an old French house in dire need of functional, accessable toilets, modern plumbing, efficient heating, hazard free electrics with sensibly sited sockets and walls that don’t crumble when you lean on them.

To make such a house welcoming, warm, safe and beautiful takes a lot of work. I know. But if you want to replace original features you don’t love, remember someone else will always want them.

I am not advocating that we give up heating or insulation or dry rooms, but I am asking you to think long and hard before you jump in with that hammer.

If you don’t want the hassle of taking up those tiles or knocking out that built in cupboard, then put it out there and someone will be more than happy to come along and spirit it away.  In fact you’ll probably be inundated with nutters like me. After all one (wo)man’s tat is another’s treasure and could well be that one piece of character they need to put their particular project back together with style. French house restoration

It has taken us almost ten years to find the architectural features and pieces we need for our French house.

Think twice before you level that slightly sloping floor or plaster that bumpy wall. Doesn’t it have it’s own charm and character? Couldn’t you live with it?

Practice Mindful Intervention…….please.

 

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About coteetcampagne

Artist, period home maker, renovator, restorer, francophile. My mission is to save the old stuff, one beautiful piece at a time
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13 Responses to Save Our Souls – A Restorer’s Plea

  1. Janice says:

    It sounds like there is a great business opportunity for the taking. I keep hearing (from different bloggers) that there are tons of old empty houses in France that probably have lots of ‘salvageable’ stuff just waiting for you to find it a nice home!

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  2. Osyth says:

    It is heartbreaking when things are wantonly ripped out and broken. In Belgium and Germany people put things outside their houses and others are welcome to just help themselves. I’ve spent many happy hours climbing illegally into other people’s skips in London and Oxford and finding some of the treasures I still have today. Your plea is timely and I sincerely hope it will be heard by many 🙂 But I do not apologise for throwing away the ghastly coverups that I have been disposing of in Marcolès 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chris says:

    You are so right, why do people want to take out such gorgeous old tiles etc

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know Chris. I just wish our house hadn’t had a 1950’s make over. I comfort myself with the thought that perhaps anything characterful that was taken out was picked up by a skip-diver/treasure hunter just like me.
      There again, if it had been packed to the rafters with beautiful period features it wouldn’t have been so cheap .

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  4. Reblogged this on husifrankrike and commented:
    Chek out this wonderful restoration blog with a foucs on Le Sud!
    Kolla in den här underbara restaurereingsbloggen med fokus på Sydfrankrike!

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    • Thanks for re-blogging. I think your village house project is very similar to ours, although our village and house is not listed Batiments de France. I don’t know why because it is full of history!

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  5. Well said, who needs perfection? Character and authenticity will stand the test of time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m right with you there. why DO people want to tear the soul out of these old houses?

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      • There is a stunning old maison de maitre in our village which a local builder (French) bought and has slowly been renovating. It started out looking amazing, but slowly over the course of the last year he has taken all the soul out of it, all the original stonework on the outside has been covered over with render, everyone is agreeing it has now been completely spoilt

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      • Yes, I recognise that story. Many people want a more modern look & I guess he knows the local market.

        Perhaps because these wonderful old properties are everywhere in France and not perceived as special, then this is what happens.

        In our case, the core of the village house was built in stone, but parts of the tacked on barn are more recent block construction so stripping back would leave us with a patchwork eyesore; It’s ugly.
        So re render or refinish we must, but in the right material and an appropriate colour that suits the house.

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