I want, I need


Trevor has been boxing in the radiator/pipes as we finish off the kitchen floor.
As I said to him yesterday, we now have several spaces that are looking dangerously close to the finishing line, can we cope ?(haha!)

This house, more than any other project, has taught me some serious home truths.

It had to be stripped of some terrible 50’s features, fittings and decor. No room worked exactly as it should. Spaces had to be reconfigured, some new doorways created, some more blocked up.
We were forced to think hard about how the house needs to work for us and the way we will live in it. We are both serious cooks, we like to make food and we like to eat with friends and family, so it made sense to take a (partition) wall down and make the biggest room our kitchen and diner.

We moved the chimney in the salon, or rather reinstated an old stove pipe aperture so we can sit around in there the way we like to. We reduced the size of the shower room because I am of the opinion that large bathrooms are a waste of space unless you possess a mansion.
Through all this we lived in the most basic way in the building; starting off with a table, two camping chairs and a blow up mattress. The kitchen facilities were a kettle, an electric slow-cooker and an old fridge.

We still don’t have a cooker, dishwasher or washing machine or any gadgets beyond a corkscrew.

For three years we had no hot water in the shower room.
The only toilet in the house was about half a mile(OK,  I exaggerate) from the bedroom.

We survived all these privations, so, what DO we want and what do we actually  need?
Certainly not a lot of space and a lot of the stuff I used to think I needed a few years ago. I’ve got used to needing less again and I like it.

I think we need something to sit on, sleep on and cook on.
We need water and power of some sort.
We need food, some of which I will grow, though we aren’t talking field of tubers here; anyway the vegetable farmers need me to buy their produce!

We need a few clothes.

I would perhaps say that I need to see some art on the walls and books on the shelf but that’s probably on the “want” list.

That’s about it. Really.

I’m re reading some French classics this summer. I have just finished Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary”. Now there’s a woman ruled by wishes and wants and must haves, and so utterly self absorbed and delusional that she reduced her husband to penury and despair and the child she neglected to what would clearly be a poverty stricken, hard,  bleak life.

So will our pared back new life with mainly “needs” and a sprinkle of “wants’ work out?

I’ll keep you posted.


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 Art, design and inspiration blog, Renovation and restoration diary- France and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to I want, I need

  1. poshbirdy says:

    Looking forward to toasting all your recent successes in your lovely home. You are going to be so happy there x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great to see your progress. Keep up the good work…. and let us know if you need any help wearing out the corkscrew.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Osyth says:

    Nearing the finish line …. woot woot hurrah! You know my thoughts on want vs need so I won’t bore your audience with them but what I will say is that I had a Bouvier des Flandres once who was called Flaubert – Madame Bouvier … il m’amuse! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bizzyella says:

    You’re getting there. Excellent! Yes, it’s amazing how little we really need. I am starting to unpack. I spend a lot of time thinking really? Red Quinoa? How many glasses are in those boxes, anyway? It will feel great to be settled but then what will there be to write about?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ellen A. says:

    As we are also renovating on less than a grand budget, it cheers me no end to see your slow but steady progress, and that your good taste and sense of humor are winning the day. I’ve begun periodically reading your posts from the beginning, and have had many a good laugh and sense of recognition. Onward and upwards!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well then. There’s at least four of us doing mini budget in France!
      I am very happy to amuse.
      Although guilty of a touch of hyperbole here and there its all true!

      I see so many grand projects with huge budgets I felt duty bound to set up this blog for those who don’t .
      I wished many times that someone would publish something to help us as we grappled away at the hovel over the years.


  6. Nadia says:

    The more we have, the more our wants become needs. ( in our minds)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. francetaste says:

    Good for you!
    Did you ever see the movie “Burnt by the Sun”? It takes place in a dacha, and everybody sits in armchairs around the table all day. I have always thought that was a good idea, especially if the armchairs and table are in the kitchen.


  8. Madame Bovary is SUCH a good book!!! xo Whitney

    Liked by 1 person

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