Bang Crash Wallop

demolition Fremch housePoshbirdy is  having bits of her French house ripped apart. For sound and sensible reasons and with a purpose; but it does not make it any easier for the sensitive restorer. I know- left

I remember the feelings I had when this happened Chez Nous and how  I fretted about what it would do to the old bones of our hovel when we had to wade through thick 14thc stone spine wall to make the necessary access point doorways so the two sides of the house would finally work together.

I talked to the house; I apologised; I hugged it better. It’s forgiven me now but was in a right strop at the time.

Big, Tough Trev, who never admits to unmanly weakness, confessed out of the blue yesterday that he has worried about damaging the house every single time he drills, saws, hammers, chisels, and knocks out anything in there. But then how can you do a sensitive restoration or renovation if you don’t feel it?

I truly don’t think that you can. My heart & my support goes out to you Posh.

Fellow Reno- Blog buddies- you may not suffer the extreme house empathy that I did but it will still stop you in your tracks sometimes when you see this stuff happening to your house.

Is it better to be there to supervise ? Yes , Yes and thrice Yes!  I know…


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 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Bang Crash Wallop

  1. poshbirdy says:

    Thank you for the support today. They were only relatively new walls but it’s hard to let someone else in when they just want to ‘wipe out’ the house, with the kindest of intentions. Have to say that they were very considerate and did everything I asked them to (even leaving Quinn’s spidery corner alone – can you imagine me having to ask them to do that !!!). I just tried to protect the floors and stuff, but yeah, tough day! Glad it’s not every day x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know the feeling; even though you are not physically doing the work yourself, it is draining mentally and emotionally.
      It is so, so, hard to cover everything that you want done. And the modern French (and mostly British) way is to rip out, crisp up and board over .
      The same guys probably did my big structural work and I remember the blank look when I mentioned stuff like rounded corners!
      I’ll be frank, having to leave them to it on occasion meant a couple of things weren’t done quite as I would have wanted it, but that’s partly my fault for not making it crystal clear beforehand.
      It was nothing major; but I’d do things differently in retrospect.

      Any way, once it’s done and dusted it’s not something you will have to go through again


  2. I agree that it hurts to make changes, but I’m thinking of a friend’s house where I grew up. It was built in 4 stages, the oldest one being a little stone cabin from the 17th Century (super super old for an American house!) and the newest being a servant’s wing from the early 20th Century, I assume after the commuter trains were electrified and the area became convenient to Philadelphia. That last addition also came with a lot of tweaks to the original house that are now part of it. A third floor with dormers that are fancier than what’s authentic, a sleeping porch, paneling to dress up the old kitchen fireplace now that it’s in the dining room, a 20th Century cabinet that copies a museum-quality 18th Century one across the room… and all these things are now just part of the house.

    And then of course I was ruthless with my house.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ultimately, if you take on any house it should be about what works for you.
      A restoration back to some romantic ideal of how a historic place might have looked before running water, toilets, electricity and a closed kitchen is going to be a lot less romantic unless a few mod cons are built in. I certainly don’t want to go back to the open kitchen wall and ceiling blackening fire our place used to have!
      Having spent time with virtually no electrics or running water and an off grid toilet I have no wish to live that way


  3. francetaste says:

    I think the foot-thick (two-feet-thick?) walls will be able to handle what you throw at them.
    Our grande dame seems to have enjoyed it, a bit like going to a spa for a facial and a peeling. She came out looking smooth and rejuvenated but still herself, not like what happens with a face lift.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Bev says:

    We are in the middle of ripping out the kitchen in our old French house and it is a total MESS!!! Our outside stone walls are nearly 60cm thick and made from very large rocks, it took our builder quite some time to cut the new window!! Now he has dug a trench right through the doorstep and into the middle of the kitchen for the new plumbing. After taking the cupboards out we discovered at least 3 layers of tiles on the wall (there were 3 on the floor too!!) which probably need to come off!! Boiler has decided not to work so no hot water or central heating, luckily the plumber arrives tomorrow to install new pipes, and fix the boiler 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. bizzyella says:

    Oh yeah. Never just turn a bunch of guys with power tools loose in your house. And if you want to hear a tale of extreme house empathy, let me tell you about the time I had a talk with the spirit of the lady who owned it before me. All I’ll say publicly is that she likes the pink walls and cares not a damn that the fireplaces are gone. A woman after my own heart. So, okay, who was I really talking to???

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know the answer to that: not that it matters anyway, and many folk do leave the workers to it. I have had to do so from necessity some of the time; but I trust my builder , and it has almost always been OK (?!)


      • I like the pink too, indeed I think if I recall I may have been partly responsible for convincing you that would work…..Good job it was approved


      • bizzyella says:

        Well, yes, if you know your guys, it’s fine. My trouble has always come when I get complacent, only to find unintended holes in the walls, etc. These guys are builders but they can be so destructive.


      • Oh , believe me there have been one or two suprises Chez Nous, but there are two reasons for that-
        1) I did not explain myself properly
        2) They struggle with the idea of preserving anything that isn’t museum quality


  6. Osyth says:

    I wasn’t there last year when the ripping of stud walls and knocking back to stone occurred. When I saw it I broke down and wept. The dead bird on the stairs didn’t help. I like your assertion that, at the time, your house was in a strop – mine is without doubt but like you I stroke it and talk to it and ask it to trust me …. and like Trev, Two Brains has acute anxiety about the work we are presently carrying out which involve him, a hammer drill and various other light and heavy-ish tools. My heart too goes out to la Posh and I hope that she and her house are feeling the support through the aether.

    Liked by 2 people

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