Monday, 25 February 2019


The river Corrèze
Work on 'La Grange' is getting quite exciting now as we're slowly moving away from building works to decorating and design. I'm rarely seen without my design folder (which is getting fatter by the day) and am constantly on the look out for furniture and styling items.

As I write, we are a good two-thirds of the way through laying the upstairs flooring. We were lucky to have inherited several piles of chestnut parquet with the house. Never used, filthy dirty and assorted sizes but beautiful. Because it's been sitting around for a couple of decades I have to sand each tongue & groove before handing it to Andrew for glueing. The jury's out on the likelihood that we have enough, but there is a Plan B. We're hoping to get it down and treated before the kitchen arrives at the end of the month.

Two thirds done 
Andrew's cunning solution to put pressure on the floor overnight 
It took some planning but I love this detail
The plastering has been finished downstairs and Andrew has made headway with the plumbing, just as well as the en-suite fittings and tiles have arrived. We have decided to put underfloor heating in both bathrooms, it's so nice underfoot.  Design decisions can be put on hold here for the moment.

Plastering finished
Andrew keeps reminding me how much painting I have to do once the plaster is fully dried. I'm ignoring that at the moment and am trying to get ahead on some of the furniture and soft furnishing projects. Before we left the U.K. I bought a small Parker Knoll bedroom chair which needs recovering. I love this make of chair, beautifully made and timeless style but the downside is that they can't be recovered, you have to start from scratch. I've stripped and painted it and am now waiting for my new toy to arrive so I can start work. We were gifted my father's compressor and Andrew has ordered me a stapler that I can use with it which will make my life so much easier. I am also fortunate that our next door neighbour is an upholsterer (with an atelier that I covet) and is happy to sell me any supplies that I need.

Before stripping 
Stripped and part painted
Other projects are lining up behind the chair, some furniture I've chosen to paint, which are quite simple projects, but I've also been inspired to make some lampshade covers, which is completely new to me. I've commandeered one of the old notaires offices as a clean upholstery room whilst the summer kitchen has become the painting room.

Ready to be painted
I'm avoiding the French shabby chic look in the gîte, it's a very popular but not really our style. I need the spaces to be practical, easy to clean and robust but I want to have some fun as well so I'm throwing in a few mid century design element. There are plenty of funky items around at the brocantes and vide greniers and they'll work beautifully with the contemporary feel we're after.

A surprise delivery from a French friend - crêpes and chocolate mousse
We do feel that we've hunkered down since the New Year, most outings have involved either a D.I.Y store or searching for inexpensive furniture. It has however been so much better than last year as the woodburner has kept us cosy and, on the whole, the winter weather has been quite benign. We have had snow and it has been very cold but not nearly as wet. The last few days have been really warm, I've even seen some of our friendly lizards basking on the granite walls and lunchtime baguettes have been eaten outside. I'm not saying it too loudly but I think spring is just around the corner.


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