Our Grand Design in Montemboeuf, Charente, France

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Veiled in Grey – Voilée en gris

This is where our kitchen will be

This is where our kitchen will be

Although I have been quiet on the blogging front recently, things in Montemboeuf have been moving forward at a pace.  Unfortunately, plaster boarding, and taping and jointing are not the most exciting things to be writing about or to show in images.  They may be an important part of the whole build process, but they don’t get the proverbial juices flowing!  There is quite a lot of house to plaster board so it is not surprising that it has taken a while.

We hope that the plaster boarding will be finished by the end of the month and then work can start on the painting and tiling.  This has meant that we have been trying to chose colours for the house. Fortunately, a lot of the house will be painted grey or white, but with a few splashes of colour.  We have a rough idea of the colours we would like, but when it comes to tones – there is a lot to chose from.  We have also been warned that French paint is not as good as English paint, so we’ve been going through swatches from Dulux, Little Green and a few others.  There really are 50 Shades of Grey!  Grey may sound dull to some people, but if used well and with the correct contrasting colours, it can be very effective.

Tom is also planning to contact our kitchen supplier to arrange for them to come out in July. Hopefully, they can install it in time for our visit in August/September.  In the meantime, Tom and I will be not only be choosing paint, but also furniture and kitchen equipment. Our first guests (my sister and her family) are booked in for late August, we need to be ready for then.  Hopefully, there isn’t a classic ‘Grand Designs’ moment coming up!  Still at least there is a nice Chambre d’Hotes in Montemboeuf if things are not ready!


Over to you Mystery Jets

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These wires are out of control – Ces fils sont hors de contrôle

Kitchen wires

Kitchen wires

Apologies for the lack of posting recently, but life sort of took over.  Molly started nursery, but was then sick and I was due to go back to work, but then also became ill.  I have just about recovered now and I am recuperating in France! Sadly not in Cannes where most people seem to go for that sort of thing, but La Rochefoucauld is very lovely!

We are also a little behind schedule, but inevitably these things happen.  Unfortunately, not having been on site for six weeks has meant that things have moved more slowly than expected.  Even though we are behind on the program that the builders had given us, the site had changed considerably in 6 weeks.  Externally, the site is looking a lot tidier for a start which makes the approach to the house a lot more welcoming.  This is further helped with the very beginnings of the landscaping. We’d contracted ‘An English Nursery in France’ to plant a hedge for us and to do some tree pruning and the work they did has made a big difference to the front of the house. Hedging plants seem to be very expensive in France.  We were very keen to use our local pépinière, but it would have been cheaper to buy the plants in the UK and drive them over.  This of course, would have not been very good for the plants! 

The pergola had also been finished and we were now able to see Tom’s design of a seamless continuation of cladding of the house and pergola in action.  I can’t wait to be sitting there with a glass of pineau watching the sun go down.  I am sure some of you would like to join me!?

However, it is on the inside of the house that the biggest changes have happened.  We now have some walls, ceilings, the beginnings of a staircase and lots and lots of wires, pipes and ducts everywhere.  As I have mentioned before, it is difficult to imagine how the layout of the house will look or gauge the sizes of the rooms from the architect’s drawings. When we were last in the house, before the partitions went up, I could not visualise the space and wondered how we would fit two en-suite bedrooms downstairs.  Visiting the site again, with the partitions up, I can’t believe how large the areas are.  It just goes to show that you really need to see a house with internal walls before you worry about the space!

The walls that have been put up enabled us to see that all important framed view that I had wanted Tom to design right from the beginning of the project.  It was very exciting to finally see it. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks all the walls will be up!

We now have a bit of careful time and project management to work on.  It is also vital that the interaction between our mason, plumber, electrician and main builder works as smoothly as possible. We have to time the delivery of our kitchen correctly because there was no way our mason, who is doing the tiling can do a good job on the tiling with big kitchen boxes in the way!  It is therefore important therefore that the tiling is finished before we take delivery of the kitchen, but this meant that first fix plumbing and electrics had to be finished before the tiling can start.  This organisation of the trades was going to be difficult once back in the UK, so we will have to keep our fingers crossed that until Tom can get back to site things run smoothly with all the trades!


Over to you Franz Ferdinand