Episode 145 part 2- Reflections on restoration, renovation and reconstruction in France

img_20160728_133127Our shopping lists in France rarely have any of the usual domestic requirements such as food on them. It’s more likely to be stuff for the house .

I have no idea why I spelt “filler” with three “ls” . Maybe it’s a reflection of how much of this powdered plaster stuff I actually use? probably a ton to date!

Incidentally, the giant crack I filled in the salon eight years ago has not moved one jot; so I wish poshbird and anyone else with one (or two) of those in their maison the same outcome.

The first, second, third, fourth and seventh items on the list above are in my writing; fifth & sixth by Trevor. Any Graphologists out there are welcome to interpret.

Back to the subject in hand. I’ve been thinking what defines the terms we use to express what we are doing Chez Nous. All those below apply to varying degree.

Though I would say that we are restoring, technically you might disagree because the house was never a domestic dwelling till the 19th century; although it’s bones as junk store and animal shelters and the spine wall bit over one of the village wells are probably 14th or 15th Century. I am not about to recreate a stable or a midden or live like medieval serfs!

img_20160729_114250.jpglime plaster





                                                                    RENOVATION- to restore to good condition; make new or as if new again, to repair.

“ to reinvigorate, refresh, renew ”

RESTORATION- the act or process of repairing the  features, and character of a property as it appeared at a particular period of time by removing features from other periods in its history and the reconstruction of missing features from the restoration period

“ to repair, revive, re-establish”

RECONSTRUCTION – the re-creation of a missing building or element in new, appropriate materials.

“ to recreate, replicate, re-instate”

As I have said many times on this blog, picking a period to restore to when the house has such a chequered history is tough. It’s been a bit organic.

Whatever label we hang our projects on, let’s do it from the heart and truly celebrate the soul of these places. We are but brief custodians.  So let’s leave them better than we found them.


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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9 Responses to Episode 145 part 2- Reflections on restoration, renovation and reconstruction in France

  1. Lynda says:

    This is as it should be! We can add modern conveniences that we feel we can’t live without, but for the sensibility of the structure as a whole we want a cohesive look and try to fit them in unobtrusively.

    I have a pet peeve: here in the US we have homes that are called Craftsman style. They were built by hand, the wood shaped and hand finished to perfection. Much of it was oak and massive. There is a perfect example in Pasadena, California, that is famous and has recently been refurbished to it’s original form. I have added a link to a short trailer for the documentary on the builders, the time, and the home. I have also included the link to the interior photos page so you can get an understanding about what I feel for any owner of a craftsman home who would buy it and then immediately take a can of white paint to the whole interior “Because it’s too dark.” Idiots! If they don’t like it in the first place then buy a different style of home for heaven’s sake!
    Here is the trailer for the documentary: http://gamblehouse.org/documentary/
    And here are the interior photos: http://gamblehouse.org/interior/ (wait till you see all the stained glass!)

    Off my soapbox now.


  2. bizzyella says:

    Sounds like you are repurposing. You are taking the old shed/barn/whatever and turning it into a jewelbox of a house. That is the cool choice, as it essentially states that the significant period is now. While there are reasons you chose and respect this building you have every right to make adjustments and alterations to suit the new purpose. If they turn out half as well as that gorgeous staircase, no one will argue with that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Bizzy, that’s spot on. It has to be right for the way we live, but with a nod to the past which it refuses to let me ignore.
      It’s imperfect and requires imperfect surfaces and stuff in it. That’s fine by me as I am under no pressure to put in expensive, high end perfection!

      Wabi-sabi rules


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