Saturday, 30 April 2016

House



Our house is not very grand or posh but it is very, very old.  We know from maps that it pre-dates the Napoleonic era and was probably built during the1700’s.  It probably started off as a modest stone dwelling and has been added to over the years.  We know the stones used for the original roof were re-used to build the top storey before the roof was rebuilt using clay tiles.  The pigeonnier tower was added at a later date.

Arched entrance to the old forge (now guest bedroom)

The building was in a derelict state before restoration began in the 1980’s.  The ground floor was used as a forge with a big open fireplace. We still have the giant bellows.  All the living, cooking and sleeping areas were on the middle floor, with another large inglenook fireplace.  The top floor was just an attic room used for storing tack.

A large barn still stands that once housed the horses and cattle. An open grange for carts and farm equipment now acts as covered parking for cars and a ping pong table.  The old piggery completes the quadrangle.

Surf boards stacked up behind the old cattle stalls in the barn

Today it is a comfortable home.  We have tried to retain as many rustic, original features as we could.  Someone once said that the insensitive restoration of ancient buildings is like removing an old master from the Louvre, scrubbing the canvas clean and re-hanging the picture with a factory produced print in the original frame.  But a house is for living in, it is not a museum piece. The rough stone internal walls remain. A wood burner has replaced the open fire, internal walls have been removed to give it an open plan feel, and the top floor has been converted to provide bedroom space.  Our bathroom is in the pigeonnier.  (The owls live in the attic above the bath.)

In winter it can feel a bit cold and draughty but during a hot summer the thick stone walls and cool terracotta floors provide welcome relief from the heat. 

 Forge bellows



  



12 comments:

  1. It looks ecclesiatical, more church than house. Is that before it was restored? I love it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that photo was taken in the 1980's. The ruin of the old piggery can just be seen on the right.

      Delete
  2. Have you 'done' it all ? How long has it taken? I gather it has not been full time. Have you been blogging about it elsewhere with before/ after/ and blow by blow?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We bought the property in 1999 after some restoration had been done. We've been working on it ever since and continue to do so! Never blogged about it but have a wealth of before and after photos.

      Delete
  3. Oh, I forgot to give you an electronic sprig of muguet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1st May! Thanks, such a sweet tradition. My neighbour always brings me a bunch of lilac.

      Delete
  4. I love the house. I wish you shall post more photos of it than and now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Yael. I will put up some more photos on future posts.

      Delete
  5. Having been a near neighbour for many years, I do remember when your house was still very much un-loved. Such beauties used to be quite common, now they are mostly restored and lived in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are still a few around waiting to be rescued. The French seem to prefer efficient and easy to maintain square boxes.

      Delete
  6. It looks wonderful. Nothing is very old here in Oz of course and especially not here in Queensland where the first houses were built of wood and the termites made short work of them then and continue to be a huge problem these days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My daughter lives in Sydney (emigrated 8 years ago) and says she misses some of the old European architecture. We have our own problem with termites in this part of the world.

      Delete