Reflecting on almost 2 years of renovation work.
“Our Tour” doesn’t just represent a change of address, it represents a whole changement de vie.
The adventure started 3 years ago when we toyed with the idea of buying a small second residence in Normandy. My husband is from the region and we wanted to be closer to family and near the sea. But the more time we spent in Normandy, the more we realized that we didn’t want a second residence. We wanted a new home and the new life that came with it.
We visited some beautiful properties, though most were either too expensive or too much work. In the beginning we were looking for something easier, which is ironic considering the huge project we later embarked on.
Then there was the one that got away. A nice little home with not a lot of interior work and an already amazing garden. We tried to close that deal for a whole summer before having it slip through or fingers for reasons we didn’t understand. C’est la vie. It wasn’t meant to be.
6 months later we found “our Tour”. The price was more than right and in our enthusiasm for the potential we saw all around, we decided to make it the project of a lifetime. My husband often tells me “we’re never doing this again”. And that’s OK, because at least we got to do it once.
Left: Living room after full demolition and repointing | Right: The tower stairwell
And so we started working. But before things got better, they got worse. A lot worse. If you’ve ever done demolition work you know what I mean. It seemed like we were just destroying stuff for over a year and that the livability of the house kept getting further and further away.
So much left to do. Everything left to do. Still no plumbing, no heat… This year we’ll tackle it all. At the same time we’ll try to unlock some of the mysteries of our Tour: Who were the original inhabitants and how did they relate to the history of Bayeux?
Left: Cathedral de Notre Dame, Bayeux | Right: Inscriptions found in our stairwell
We did, however, manage to make it the bare slate we wanted and needed it to be in order to uncover any trouble spots hidden by more recent renovation work. We wanted the house to breathe, to insure its basic structure, and to give it a new life starting from its “bones”. Once those bones were exposed we were able to solidify them and a second stage of really making it a livable home is now in full swing.
So, this is the road we’re on and there’s no turning back. It’s not easy, but there’s no where else I want to be.