Living in a restoration home has its drawbacks, but also some surprising bonuses. Its definitely a world of pluses and minuses, with an ever moving end in sight. But then life is like that anyway. So maybe deadlines, although helpful, ought not to be the ultimate goal.
The home we have bought here in France is old, but we are not certain how old. The house purchase information says late 1800s. The beams in the attic say much earlier. One of these days, like in those restoration programmes I avidly watch, I would like to get the beams dated. But it is not yet top of the priority list.
We did chat with our elderly neighbour about the history and she gave us some insight. Our and her home used to be one. Owned by a wealthy Mining Engineer in the 1800s. He split the house, literally, in the early 1900s between his daughter and son. We purchased his son’s side.
The house is essentially sound, with good walls, windows and roof. We have electricity and hot and cold running water. The basics. When we were purchasing, we knew we would have to live in it whilst doing it up, so buying a complete ruin or dilapidated barn were out of the question. (Though we were lucky enough to have our place come with a dilapidated barn ripe for future renovation. But first, the house.)
What our property doesn’t really have is heat. It does have a heating system; oil tank, boiler, radiators. And in typical 1970s French rebuild fashion the boiler and very very large plastic oil tank have been situated in a downstairs room. Yup. A room. Not the basement or outside, but what was a room that once held a fireplace whose flue is now used for the boiler. It was a very 70s thing to do here.
Because of its location it was one of those first things earmarked to change. Well…, after insulating the attic. And tearing out some walls. Putting in a kitchen. Oh, and a bathroom. And a pub. Yup, a pub of our own. That’s what the boiler room is earmarked for as it just has that vibe. So, there’s rather a long list before putting in a new heating system.
Not to mention there are various grants offered here in France we are looking into. The French government is investing in upgrading old houses. Most of it stems from making them more energy efficient. And we are all for that. But French paperwork takes time. Lots of time, so it’s yet another thing that slows down our progress.
The thing about living in a restoration home is that you have to put up with, make due and definitely compromise. And be willing to give up on some plans and make new ones. In example, the boiler system was so expensive and inefficient, that since the first year we decided not to run it. We have gone with simplicity instead. A couple portable electric heaters. And luckily our winters here are short and not too too terribly cold.
My office has become my happy place, especially in winter. The cats and Sanka gather around me, as the heater is under my desk. I am surrounded by love. When not working, we all like to snuggle on my napping bed. We cocoon ourselves in lap blankets that were made by my Mum and a friend, and as they warm me they also remind me of the effort they went to, which is in itself gives me a warm feeling.
Making due, compromising and putting up with things has its perks.
Our Restoration Finds in our Shop
For more Restoration Home (and Garden)…
We upload pictures (when we can) to Flickr of our restoration home and garden works, if you would like to *see* more. And coming soon(ish) will be videos on our YouTube channel showing work undertaken. In the meantime, our animals general show off their antics, and help with the restoration on Instagram.
Our Restoration Wish List
If you are particularly interested in our restoration work, we have set up a Wish List on Amazon of items we must buy to help us restore our old house and garden. If you wish to help with any of these (anonymously or not), you can purchase and they will be sent direct to us.