Posts tagged “cellar

A second birthday in the French countryside.

August gave way to the celebration of a second birthdya here at Coin Perdu. This time round, we only took a break in between work for early morning croissants and coffee, a gift, a song and continued later the evening with a meal around the fire…where else!

…starting off the day…

starting off the day

The day started off like any other ay the last few months…old clothes, gloves, work and sweat. But no, nowhere on the chantier(construction site)  was I to be seen. After all, I was birthday girl! So for this dayI roamed about in pretty clothes(to be simply translated as clean clothes !)

…brunch…

taking a break for a croissant and tarte peche

And for early morning coffee break, we sat in the shade of the walnut tree. Took of the gloves and feasted on croissants and tarte peches.

…froth on a cup…

frothing a cup

Gifts were unwrapped…no boughs and pretty paper this year though! In the spirit of the working year, they came clothed in newspaper and wrappings from the brocantes where they were bought. I giggled at the gifts, clearly seeing the attention that was paid to my comments on our stroll at the brocantes.

…olde worlde…

memory on a spoon 8-31-2009 8-14-26 PMold plates crumb scoop

And last, but not least. An end to another birthday here at Coin Perdu. A special day with all my loved ones close to me.

…santé!..

Petillante - Vincent Carême

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Ripping out the first floorplanks’

After knocking down all the interior walls, we were so anxious to see the double volume which we were planning into our  house that we thought we would just rip out one floorplank and one ceiling plank to have  a clean view from top to bottom. Did it stay by only one plank?  No. Of course not! The opening was too small to really see and we are far too greedy. Our excitement got the better of us. One plank became two, and then three and before we knew it, several planks were ripped out in the floor and the ceiling and there we stood like stargazers on a dark cloudless night; staring upwards.

…ripping up floorplanks…

ripping up floorplanks 3not light work!

It was great seeing the double volume! Still hight on excitement, we ran right down to the cellar(where we carried out so much dirt!) and once again bent our necks backwards to be impressed by the height of the double volume. We were impressed. Wonderfully high! Open and spacious. Streams of light filtering in through the roof windows.

…looking through to the beams into the opened up attic in the roof…

opening up to the roof 1

…view from the cellar and looking through (which was) the first floor into the roof…

opening up to the roof 5

…standing down below in the cellar, which will become the ground floor living area…

under the ripped up floorplanks(in the old cellar)

I could envision life when it will all be done. Until I bent my neck back into normal position and my brain switched on again, pushing reality to the fore, focusing my eyes on the chaos still waiting. Not one for extravagant optimism, I removed myself from the reality staring me in the face and drove off in our Peugeot bleu for a coffee in town, cruelly leaving the rest of the team-my husband and our two daughters- to deal with reality… It helped.

And to end this episode, like every day here At Coin Perdu: never does a day end without a moment of beauty or inspiration somewhere, making us realize again that all the sweat and hard work is worth it.

…inspiration…

Graphosoma lineatum-Pentatome rayeeMellicta athalia butterfly 1


Where to start?

…let’s start in the cellar…

the cellar

Where does one start a restoration process? Where exactly lies the beginning and does one ever reach the end? It probably depends on who’s doing the job.

As for us, we are those kind of peope who first jump in and then we decide which style to swim. It has had it’s catastrophical results in the past, but it has also been the way to many discoveries and unforeseen adventures. So it is with restoring Coin Perdu. We jumped in at the deep side buying it and we jumped deep side in living in the barn(a story for another day) and now we are jumping smack in the middle in the restoration process. So far so good.

Decicion made and the first blows were felled in the cellar under the house. It is a dark and humid area, with solid rock in parts, water seeping through the rock and steep side of the the hill against which the house is built. Every sheep and goat and animal in search of shelter, slept there. That’s how it was in those days: the family living in the house above the animals in the cellar, close enough to hear any mischief or attacks on the animals at night – man and beast, with their individual smells and flavours and habits snuggly together. Life was about survival and not about convenience or rather, luxury. This wasn’t Versailles. It still isn’t.

This dark and dungy cellar is to become our open and sunny living space, with wide French doors and double volume windows opening onto a patio alongside the old Tilleul tree, overlooking the hills. A pergola and walnut tree will provide cool, green shade in the blistering summer months. This is our anticipation. But first, we have to deal with reality.

…reality…

the cellar1

more rock

solid rock in the cellar

We spent three days working “down under”, clearing away the dirt and grime, while still discovering hidden “treasures: a wine barrel, a barrel top which became our outside table, small bits and pieces we turned into furniture for our living in the barn, preserved plums and peas, a snake, a toad and enough wood and twigs to start years of BBQ fires.

Shoveling away soil and chiseling away on the rocks made room for drainage. We measured levels, got out the plans, changed the plans, paused for coffee and cookies to recalculate heights and widths. I changed my mind about a door from there to a door here. We all stormed to and fro through the low entrance, knocking our heads into chanting mode, uttering some original vocabulary… We toiled on the bend all the time, for the beams are very low and very hard.  Hartman’s tall 1. 95 m commanded a hard hat after a while of which we only had one. Some strong language every now and then would be proof that on a hatless head somewhere, a bulge was growing.

…on the beat…

on the beat

…taking a break…

DSC_0091taking a break

We cleaned out the cellar and decided it was after all not the place to start renovating. Inside the house, knocking out the walls, is where it all needed to begin.

You might think three days were wasted. Not at all. The cellar was clean. The snake took a hike. The toad realized it was summer. It got us in renovation-thinking-mode. A team spirit was built, our heads got knocked into clarity and we were now ready for the work ahead.