The best laid plans of mice and men and French country village house restorers gang aft astray. They do.

When I bought this heavily carved buffet de cuisine it was always intended to be the dramatic focal point of the kitchen diner. I thought we had done enough planning and measuring to accommodate it in the centre of that room but no.

First of all we wipe it down (it has been in the cave for nine years). Then we take it apart into three sections (cue Trev tearing his hair out) then we fetch the base upstairs.

And I find woodworm holes….

There is no other woodworm activity evident in the cave, probably because we spray every scrap of new or old wood that comes into the house. So are they historic? It looks like it, but why did I not notice this when I bought it?

Then we note that the damage, particularly to the six doors is quite bad;obviously allowed historically to get damp and it has separated the veneer (the doors aren’t solid wood like the rest) but the cave is not damp so it’s historic.


So we put it back together upstairs, put in the back section and lift the top cupboard  into place. Call me Superwoman.

Then we find that we have a grave issue. Someone has knocked this piece about and put it back together very badly. It looked fine in the brocante but it was obviously cleverly staged. Now I recollect, the vendor was unwilling to remove all the junk on and around it on the basis she was on her own and couldn’t manage it. And she intimated that we couldn’t help due to health and safety issues.

Then it was delivered in two sections and chucked in cave under a tarpaulin.

Caveat emptor. wp-image-20368716jpg.jpg

Now don’t get me wrong. I have bought and sold old stuff for decades and there is always a risk but this buffet is not quite the  reasonably sturdy piece that I thought I was getting.

Basically to fit it back together properly we are going to have to partly remake it and fit it to the wall at six points for stability.

Plus fitting it between the plug sockets and light switches had been a juggling act ( I know. I decided where these would go… )


Of equal concern is that, although the wood is of medium tone, it is adversely affecting the balance of light right at the centre of this long room


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 Antique and Vintage finds, Renovation and restoration diary- France and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Quandaries

  1. Lynda says:

    Definitely, if it makes you unhappy get rid of it. Life is too short.


  2. I await with baited breath to find out what you decide to do with it…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on husifrankrike and commented:
    Sometimes we long for a a time in the future when also we can start to think about furniture and interior design but for now we have to stick to reading excellent blogs about it, like Blog-sur-Aude…


  4. francetaste says:

    Xylophene is the nasty chemical you need for the woodworms.
    As for the piece itself, the fact that you sound disappointed is a clue. I can’t say about how it works in the room–that’s up to you–but the piece is pretty unusual with that airy part between the top and bottom. And the carving is beautiful. As bizyella says, you can always sell it on.


    • Yes, we xylophene everything that comes into the house, new or old, in fact we are on our second monster tub with it’s attached pistolet!!

      The carving is beautiful, but it’s not right in situ..

      Liked by 1 person

      • En fait, this was the only thing we haven’t xylophened. Because we were advised it had been treated. Maybe it had, we have had no woodworm infestations since we acquired the house. Touch wood, hahaha


  5. bizzyella says:

    Yeah, great minds and all. It’s a big, dark piece that seems out of proportion to the room and out of period, neither of the time nor of the mood, the scale, etc. You have such good instincts and skills. I am sure you will work this out, if only by putting it back together in an honest fashion and selling it on. Keep us posted, of course.


  6. Osyth says:

    Please don’t get cross with me – but I actually find this the exception that proves the rule that I love everything you have done …. I don’t particularly like it. Not sure why but at the moment it doesn’t grab me. Maybe I’m just cross with it for causing such issues …. but I don’t love it the way I normally love your stuff.


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