Finding a house in France Part 2

The “Which?” guide’s House-viewing checklist is extensive. Apart from the obvious pointers – road noise, damp, cracks, overlooked and so on, it recommends trying all the taps and light switches and opening the windows.

But often a house is “sold” after viewing one or two rooms. And so it was with the Stripy House, thus named by the estate agent because of the timbered “colombage” walls on one side.

The colombages on the Stripy House. Large verandas were a key selling point for us for the long hot summers.

The Stripy House had character in spadefuls as well as a peaceful setting.

The rest would be down to our renovation skills, patience and bank balance!

For me, the exterior was the huge challenge. I had had visions of my new French garden, creating avenues of shading trees, leading to dining and seating areas, swathes of Mediterranean style planting framing a valley view….

Yes, we had purchased a house with enormous character but the scrappy bits of land, often sloping, scattered with decaying outbuildings, a ragged road circling three sides of the house; it was all very disappointing! And it was small, very small. Was there a view behind the choking conifer hedging? Could we get rid of the drive encircling the property? Was a quick coat of paint all that was required on the exterior? Could we fit a pool in? Yes, yes, no and yes.

The driveway encircling the house

Two years later, much structural work and some planting completed :

Of course it had been a marathon of work, mostly supervised by the husband whilst I was renovating in Johannesburg (see earlier post). There have been many more changes since this photo.

Please come back to see how I tackled this French garden and its verandas. And then there is the interior….

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