And here we are 4 months after starting our project it’s FINISHED!!!
Back at the end of June Mike decided I should start marketing without any photos with availability from 1st August…not shying from a challenge I went for it using our other properties as a touch stone and a follow up telephone call to reassure folk we were not talking nonsense! Our 1st guests arrived on the 2nd for 1 week…apart from sewing curtains until 11.30 pm the night before we were pretty well on track.
Our date to be able to say finished for fixtures and fittings was agreed as 30th July for us to stay and try the house out…thus the reason for late night curtain making – street light actually attached to our house between the bedroom windows…we never noticed it until we went to bed (the bed a super kingsize & possibly the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on),turned out the light and then asked Mike to turn his light out as it was light enough still to read…a dash up to Cherbourg the next morning to buy blackout material…but for one reason or another I bought 5 meters forgetting there were 2 windows – I needed 10 meters – so a 2nd trip was needed!!!!!!
So here we go – I’ll try to line up the before’s & afters!! The main bedroom started as 2 rooms.
main double bedroom half way
The bedroom at the back was in a dreadful state, broken windows, holes in ceiling and water penetration destroying all the plaster
The bathroom was a kitchen…holes in ceiling.
Kitchen – oh dear, basically falling down! New roof, walls etc.
unveiling BoB House More pictures here
I’ve embroidered all the towels, put in as many little thoughtful things folk would enjoy – I just hope everyone that comes to stay with us enjoys the house as much as we really did renovating it!
That’s what it feels like now…keep turning the handle, don’t let go now!
In actual fact everything is going really well, but we are tiring slightly…Mike is on a mission saving the original fireplace in the main bedroom…so kind soul has slapped on 2 or 3 coats of what is called ‘crepe’ almost like artex but harder!! 2 electric sanders so far have been burnt out…but as you can see he is half way, when we paint it and get it looking something it will set off the room.
Meanwhile downstairs the kitchen has had plasterboard & insulation put in place, the new window, door and a wall blocked up
We had to lose a window on the left as I want to put in an American Fridge so there is on tap filtered water & ice, no need to buy bottled water!
The electrician plumber is back next week to do 2nd fix, the shower tray is in place, take no notice of the toilet placing here…it’s just out the way!! But between us we’ve designed a great big Italian shower…
So tomorrow, off to choose tiles for the bathroom & kitchen plus the kitchen units, I’ve already bought the cooker which I’m thrilled with!
May is wonderful in Normandy this year the blossom is unreal…the scent is heady – just to give you an idea here is the view from the bedroom now the trees have opened up a bit more … the candles on the chestnut tree are huge!
We’re also starting to see the folk arrive for the 70th anniversary…look what was parked outside the house yesterday! Jeeps all sorts are starting to congregate!
So here we are 3 weeks on…plaster board almost finished upstairs, the electrician is really going great guns with 1st fix electrics and plumbing…we’ve even bought loos now.
I’m being dragged out of bed at 6 am to get to Brico Depot in Cherbourg for doors opening at 7 am with the words ringing in my ears if you want to have a say in how it looks you’ll be in the Landrover ready to go at 6.30 am!
So now the pressure is on me to find the look! It is quite hard as I can’t really see how the light is going to be, especially in the dining room…once the new roof on the kitchen is unveiled I think I’ll be able to judge.
I’ve chosen parquet floatant for bathroom floor and an ultra modern double sink unit with lots of cupboards and draws for the upstairs bathroom…we’ll be building a big shower enclosure in here as well.
The garden has been transformed – over 10 huge sacks of ivy ripped off the walls, poor Mike had 3 trips to the dump with just rubbish from the garden! Hopefully I’ll be able to start planting up in a few weeks once the roofers are finished and there isn’t the danger of building materials, I’m thinking a rose garden with lavender in the 1st flowerbed with a lawn and lots of lovely climbers to enhance the beautiful stone walls.
Our days are like a military exercise …Mike is the go for and the labourer, can’t believe how many times a day he goes to the dump/builders yard or Brico Depot in Cherbourg! Me, I’m in charge of catering as well as everything down here at home, the washing and ironing, day to day running of the other rentals…quite often I’m seen in the boulangerie picking up bread in my pinny en route with piping hot food in the boot of my car at 12.30 (on the dot – I dare you be late for 4 hungry men ).
We’re very glad when it is Friday evening, Mike headed to bed around 8.30 pm and had a very long rest yesterday which enabled me to finally get caught up with all the laundry…today I’m really tired, so I’m having an easy day with tomorrow a changeover, new arrivals and more washing and ironing! Tuesday it big shop for the weeks’ catering & then Wednesday it’s getting the cottage in Ste Mere Eglise I manage ready and opened up for the start of the season.
As I say, sometimes it’s too busy! But wouldn’t have it any other way!
main double bedroom
stone detail in bedroom 1
rear kitchen roof being replaced
the asbestos roof is off!
the garden is cleared
at least a food deep of shells lurking under this roof!
1st April is normally known for All Fools Day or Jour du Poisson here in France…for us it’s Day 1 !!
We signed for the house yesterday afternoon so it is ours now, which is a bit of a relief as we’ve had our roofer mending the leaks and replacing rotten timber all last week…so we now have a leak free roof! But shock horror he told us last night that when he investigated under the asbestos roof he’s found at least a foot deep layer of shells…it must have been some form of insulation, we’re all at a bit of a loss over this – it’s going to be a right mess getting it all down!
When we bought Utah Beach it was a former fisherman’s base, he’d backed in 2 refrigerated lorries and built a garage around them, the floor was sand with thousands of empty bottles laid on their sides…to keep rats away from his fish – we’ve managed to get one of the lorries out by knocking down a wall and rejigging the whole layout…but the other one is there to this day, we keep tins of paint in it!
We seem destined to buy places with a bizarre twist…shells & bottles, wonder what-else we will find…I know Mike would love to find something that sort of declared Rommell took tea in the house…he was here in Sainte Marie du Mont checking the defences so it is possible he came to what now is our house, as it used to be a shop selling vegetables, cream, milk etc. The owner had a big farm in the village so this was the outlet…all way before food miles – how things have changed!
A decision has been made though regarding to layout, we have decided to take the bedroom at the front of the house back to it’s original size, it’s been sub divided with a wooden & hessian back wall, we’ve bought it as 4 bedrooms & bathroom downstairs, but we will end up with a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom upstairs, vacation rental, very much aiming at couples or 2 couples travelling together, or even a small family. The bedroom at the front will be a really great size with 2 windows overlooking the church and a fireplace…Mike want to put a 4 poster in it…we’re thinking on it!
There are plenty, plenty rentals in the area geared up for family groups, we see this house as a grown up’s destination, we want to try to make it just that bit more special, we’re not a Chateau, nor a 5 star place with folk fussing round you and we certainly don’t want to be a soulless rental that feels cold… somewhere that is a real pleasure to stay in with extra touches & good furnishings…my next problem is how to get this across in my marketing!