Finished. Demolition. Done.

In restoring  “our Tour” we wanted to preserve and showcase some of its most ancient features. Unfortunately, many of those features were hidden behind more recent walls. For a long time we couldn’t make any important technical decisions or floor plans because we just didn’t know what we were working with. Now we do: Demolition is done and phase two has begun!

During the winter break we were able to get a lot of good work done. We’ve exposed all the features we wanted to expose while leaving what we thought should remain.

We tore off the recent plaster work on the walls of the 2ème étage (top photo). It was so thin and wrought with humidity that it fell off like shattered glass at the slightest touch of a pick. Underneath is an earthen clay layer that we’re preserving for insulation. Since this floor will house the bedrooms and we want to keep it warm, we’ll be further insulating the walls with an additional air pocket/modern insulation/dry wall. We’ll also be covering the ceiling joists with an additional insulation/drywall to prevent warm air from going out the roof.

However, on the main living floor the stone walls and ceiling joists will be exposed. While the walls still need some cutting out before repointing, they’re more or less ready to go. Afterwards we’ll get new windows and doors custom-made by a local artisan using the existing hardware on the old ones.


We’re still cleaning off the supporting beams and joists. Originally we had started cleaning them with a metal brush as we were told this was the best way to expose the natural grain of the wood. Well, that was just taking wayyyy too long. So we threw in the towel, er brush, and borrowed a sand blaster from a family friend. It’s so much faster and the beams look fine. We are using a fine grain of sand and the wood has kept all the natural imperfections that make it so beautiful. When we took off the false ceilings we were careful not to disturb the old insulation, a mix of mud and hay. The sand blaster is precise enough that we’re able to strip the joists without touching the areas in-between.


Thank goodness for the linoleum! It was installed by a previous owner and has done a wonderful job protecting the wood floors during our demolition work and sand blasting. The floorboards are amazing, but we won’t be ready to uncover them for a while.

After much discussion and some dispute the floor plans have finally been finalized! I think I drew up at least 15 different options and in the end the simplest ones won out. Edraw Max rules!  We now know how the kitchen and bathroom will be laid out and can go forward with some of the electricity and plumbing. The kitchen will stay in this corner:


After being a bit overwhelmed by the grandeur of this project and unsure about what course of action to take, we now have a much firmer game plan. Even though we’re still far away from making our Tour a modern habitable living space, it feels like we’re finally starting to see the light.

Somewhat related stories from this site

laser liner Using a distance laser: BIG DIY TRY

floor plan Making our own floor plans: DIY FLOOR PLANS

exposed thumb My favorite examples of EXPOSED PIPING

exposed stone My favorite examples of EXPOSED STONE WALLS

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Elle Belle

     /  January 15, 2014

    it will be VERY VERY NICE to have recessed lighting on your kitchen counter that are tuck under over hang cabinet!!!
    keep up the good work and can’t wait to see your progress.


Leave a Reply