Episode 157 – In which I think that I may have pushed my vision more than a tad further than anyone would deem standard French house restoration

Nothing here is straight, or straightforward.

We knew that in principle, but in practice the reality is that sometimes even more creativity and lateral thinking is required when finishing off our projects.

Because I will not let Trevor demolish or board over any wonky walls that can be saved, or refinish any old lime plaster we can preserve,  he is having to balance the straight, neat, level predictable outcome way he prefers to do this stuff with  my vision and a stubborn old French hovel.

Whilst this shower room wall is new -above and below left- The doorway to the right is 17thc and completely wonky. We believe it was the door to the original  open ladder staircase at the front of this building. New plasterboarding over the new wall is having to be laboriously matched in, piece by piece to the remains of old walls. Then there is the door issue.

We first attempted to hang this door two summers ago when the family were imminent. Trying to put the door frame straight into the old  wood surround was a mistake. So Trev has had to start again by shaping and adapting the recycled door frame and setting it so that IT is straight within a very un-straight opening.

Am I making ANY sense?


Eagle eyed viewers  will notice that I have changed the handles and locks from 2015 post to more authentic ones. Trev is not keen. I don’t think he loves my paint job either. After showing an acquaintance around whose eyes were so glazed by what I am doing here that she couldn’t even find a polite platitude to stutter out  has confirmed my conviction that I am right out there now. But back to the saga..

Apart from the necessary shaping at the bottom to accommodate the original floor,   this door is now, believe it or not, straight . But I did make Trev use declassified wood with knots, splits and damaged areas without planing it back to perfection so that the door still feels old.

I am also making him insert a walnut fretwork panel in the new wall -above left-which will be backed in glass to keep the light levels high in a dark bedroom.

I really am the Renovation Stress-Witch. If you have followed me from way back you might get it. If you have just picked up this blog you will be wondering what  I am doing, why I am doing it this way and how long this process is going to take.

Right now, I can’t give you an answer to any of the above. And I don’t know anyone this crazy, even Poshbirdy who comes close with her quest …….


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.

11 Responses to Episode 157 – In which I think that I may have pushed my vision more than a tad further than anyone would deem standard French house restoration

  1. Osyth says:

    I think you and I should work on chainmail suits and shields for fending off the effects of dotty doubters who simply don’t get it. I get it by the way. What you are not just visualizing but achieving is absolutely incredible. For those that don’t get it – move over and stop blocking the light for the rest of us. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks.
      Sometimes I have the courage of my own convictions but its been a tough week.
      It does not assist that Trevor will do what is needful and put these ideas into practice but does not understand why he is implementing my schemes most of the time


  2. gabriele says:

    Back when I was very young and one bought a book of paper dolls to cut out with various garments for her to wear and accessories to carry…I remember one somewhat high fashion paper doll and in addition to much fancier clothes, her hands had individual fingers. My round children’s paper scissors couldn’t cut that fine a detail. I asked my mother who fussed a bit, but then said ‘give it to me’ and what she returned was the doll with the fingers not properly cut. To make it easier for herself she had extended the fingers so they came to a point (well-past the finger) so it appeared that the doll had long claws. I had always been the quiet one, undemanding and when I wanted something, this is what I got? I made her give me the scissors and properly trimmed the fingers and everything else about the doll and her wardrobe. My mother didn’t understand that it was important to me, I was just being difficult.
    I continued on not being difficult most of my years of childhood but there were things on which I could not be moved. I refused to go to my eldest sister’s wedding. No, I couldn’t or wouldn’t explain
    why but I knew it was wrong. They divorced 5 years later even though this was in the early 50s and he a Catholic. I would refuse to wear a dress that was bought for me even though it fit fine and was a nice color. As I grew older I came to know that some things were unacceptable, no matter how much other people liked them. I didn’t try to understand it and didn’t try to explain it. When I could finally move to San Francisco and go to museums (they were free) I could sit for a long time looking at something other people ignored. I came to love some Japanese art and the imperfections of their beautiful pottery.
    I’ve no desire to see the Sistine Chapel. It may be overwhelmingly beautiful but I don’t like to be overwhelmed. There is no space in such works of art for my own experience to expand and encounter something of what called the work forth. The most wonderful pieces of music have a space where what we experience can take flight beyond where the music takes us.
    I love your house and what you’ve done and are doing because within the force that drives you I feel a companionable need for space for imperfection to exist and call for the experience of the living work. To anticipate what something might be is nothing compared with opening one’s self up to what has come into being…not completed because that would mean a finite plan. In the dreaming, the wishing, the touching, the testing, all the mental and emotional processes that are invoked to let something become itself…and then to quietly say to one’s self: Yes, this is good. It is as it is, as it might be. Not perfect, thank goodness. Save me and all the work I do from perfection.
    And those who cannot move beyond their own inherited sense of what is desirable, well think of them as Roundheads, and you a Cavalier’s Lady in satins, ribbons and feathers, making the world a better place or at least less depressing.
    Some may gallop ahead, flat road and no time to observe the scenery. Let them. Take your time because it is in the sum of ALL the parts that the magic of Chez Vous will really shine.
    My good and dear friend told me one time that he thought that for many people they didn’t need any form of religion because they used their esthetic senses to bring order and balance into their lives…not consciously, it was just the outgrowth of being themselves.
    Sorry, I didn’t plan on writing this much, it just sort of poured out as I remembered my responses to various stories and photos and things of beauty I’ve come across here.
    A motto for you: “Les têtes-rondes ne doivent pas s’appliquer”

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lynda says:

    Loving that door! And, hey, even a new(er) house has its wonky bits. We are constantly trying to make square pegs fit into round holes here. Our house was built from a Sears and Roebuck kit in the 50s. Sears sent directions with all its bits, and the owner/builder had a few skills… Trust me, we have irregularities. So sometimes you just have to make it work with what you have and say, “That’s good enough for me.”

    Wobbling? Thick skin? Nah. That person doesn’t have to live there; you do. So who are you trying to please? Well, YOU of course. If it puts a smile on your face to look on it, then call it wonderful! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. francetaste says:

    Your place is going to be so much more interesting and charming for all these efforts.
    I love that door!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. poshbirdy says:

    Loving that fretwork. Looks amazing (always knew it would, though sort of hoped you’d decide you couldn’t use it and pass it on!). Loving this and you should be very proud. Can’t imagine anyone not having good things to say, but there it is…

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s