Archives for posts with tag: Construction and Maintenance

One of the reasons we bought our home was the potential we saw in the kitchen to extend it to a large family room, with plenty of space for cooking, eating and hanging out. It was, as we saw it, a case of adding a simple bricked box structure onto the back of the house, thereby doubling the existing kitchen size and featuring those bi-fold doors which can open up the back of your house like a giant can-opener. Our architect refined our ambitions and we pored over our resulting plans with great excitement.

We showed them to various friends and family members, and thrashed out a few of the design points. Perhaps one of the nicest and most ingenious additions came from our sister-in-law Ali, who suggested a long strip of window along the dining table side of the extension, ostensibly to break up the blankness of the new-build wall. Thank you to Ali! It is a characterful and fun element in the room, and gets so many compliments.

Pillar box window in a blank wall: not designed for tall cats

Pillar box window in a blank wall: not designed for tall cats

When I was considering it, I realised that the vista was not exactly interesting: a classic picture window normally frames a fantastic view or a feature in a garden, as you can see in this stunning example from Houzz:

I also thought about the clerestory concept, which is a window or strip of windows based high up in a room to let in light.

A view of the sky: designyourinteriors showcases the clerestory effect

A view of the sky: designyourinteriors showcases the clerestory effect

But our slimline window is not a clerestory window, because it is at eye level, and the prevailing view is of leaves on the evergreen trees outside. And that is part of the charm. The white plain walls have a rich slice of foliage daubed across them, whatever the weather or season.

Green screen: leafy aspect

Green screen: leafy aspect

A final small bonus to this clever window is that the kids’ trampoline is located on this side of the garden. Once bouncing begins, from my partial parental viewing gallery the occasional glimpse of a disembodied head reassures me that all is well.

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Well, we’ve been en vacances! It was lots of fun: a few days’ city break in Paris, a luxury week in a manoir near Bordeaux, and a stay in a mobile home on a campsite near Rochefort.

I loved the understated glamour of our converted manor house, which was typical structurally of the region’s low, cool, rambling old buildings. The owners had made clever work of their renovation, retaining the character of the place with original beams, walls and flooring, and adding elegant furniture pieces and fittings which were not ostentatious.

Check it out; sartorially speaking, it's ok to leave your footwear lying around if it looks this cute

Check it out; sartorially speaking, it’s ok to leave your footwear lying around if it looks this cute

The stair carpet was in a jazzy check, which looked smart and classy against the rough stone walls.

Another thoughtful juxtaposition of old and new was the way that the doorways and windows were framed. Rather than plaster smooth right up to the edges, the large stone blocks surrounding the windows and doors were often left exposed. The kitchen featured an even more inventive form of this, with the regular tiling being cut at the same angle and curve as the plaster.

Curvy: plaster and tiling take part in synchronised wave

Curvy: plaster and tiling take part in synchronised wave

Nifty, huh?

I wasn’t very excited by the tiling in any of the bathrooms, which all featured bleurghhh shades of murky green or rust, but I did love this feature:

Framed: maybe you could hang a shower curtain from it?

Framed: maybe you could hang a shower curtain from it?

I don’t even know what it’s there for, but it does add to the quirkiness and detract from the ceramic faux pas.

Stone walls make an appearance again

Stone walls make an appearance again

Finally, some additions to our selection of Things to Put on Your Walls, French holiday home style.

Farming yoke hovers above Toulouse-Lautrec pieces

Farming yoke hovers above Toulouse-Lautrec pieces

Yes, there is a little line of keys, just right to adorn a bare beam.

And a bemused Bordeaux fermier is wondering just where he put all his spare clefs....

And a bemused Bordeaux fermier is wondering just where he put all his spare clefs….

I know I promised to tell the tale of my living room curtains, but I do also have the most amazing Paris shop for you to discover as well. So we’ll see where we end up… à bientôt.

 

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