Friday, December 2, 2011

Presbyterie renovation

Popped into the 'presbyterie' across the lane a couple of days ago (nosey!) to see how the renovations were coming along. Last visited there way back in July (see posting 1st July '11) when they'd just started work on rejuvenating this historic old building. The place has now been transformed and will presumably soon be ready for occupancy. Haven't a clue who's going to live there though rumour has it that a young couple with kids might move in - an effort to considerably lower the average age of the hamlet's few inhabitants. All I know is that the house won't be sold; it'll remain a state asset, which is a good thing.

It's been interesting watching from a distance as work has slowly progressed. Obvious changes include a new roof, new window frames, a new west-facing side window (kitchen) to catch the evening sun, a new front door, re-pointed external walls and structural renovation of the attached barn which, presumably, will become a garage with a storeroom above. All very impressive. But, knowing how the French generally love all things modern when it comes to house renovating, I've been long concerned that the original character may have been gutted from the interior - hence my 'nosey' visit.

Armed with my camera I explained to the workers that I was a nosey neighbour who just wanted to see how work was progressing. Luckily they didn't tell me to get lost so I had a quick look round saying "wow" and "cor, splendide" each time I visited a new room. However, my apparent enthusiasm hid a slight disappointment that, as suspected, the original character had been ripped out. All the internal walls had been plaster-boarded over, the old doors had gone and the original floorboards had been replaced by prefabricated cement blocks. The only original feature remaining appeared to be the fine old stone kitchen fireplace in the new lounge. I then checked the window frames, thinking them to be plastic. Interestingly, they're wooden, despite everyone round these parts reckoning (wrongly?) that plastic lasts longer.

Having said all that, I have to admit the house will be absolutely fab when it's finished. Perhaps a little too moderne pour moi, but a highly des res for a young family (or whoever). I was particularly impressed with the newly installed staircase. A brilliant piece of carpentry. Perhaps lacks the character of our squeaky old woodwormy item but will no doubt stand up to the pitter patter of tiny (and grown-up) feet for many years to come.