Our 17th century interior walls after repointing.

living room

Much like the masonry work that was done to the exterior walls of “Our Tour”, the completed restoration and repointing of our interior walls has made a huge difference. Like the outside, the work has not only homogenized the stone and gotten rid of any cracks, it has also lighted and brightened the room. We are kinda amazed by the results.

Exposed stone wall living room before/after repointing

The professional crew also entirely restored the fireplace. The funky resin casing was replaced with new stone. The linoleum was pulled back during the process exposing the wood floors and the vintage tile hearth.

after stone work

17th century stonework after restoration and repointing

They also rehabilitated the stone niche we had found behind the plaster walls.

My beau père also prepared le terrain by wiring the electricity directly into the walls. The wires were passed under the floor boards and then through tunnels made into the wall which were later entirely concealed from the outside. Finished, only the switches and outlets will show.

Running electricity through stone wall

Passing electrical work through stone walls

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A practical and durable partition option.


Our bathroom will unfortunately have to be placed between two bedrooms in an area where there is no natural light. Using beveled tiles and overhead lighting will hopefully help us brighten up an otherwise dark bathroom and we need as much of that light to come into the shower as possible.

While I love the look of factory windows used as shower partitions, it seems like they would be really hard to clean (and kinda dangerous too). So we’ve tentatively decided to use glass blocks to divide the shower space.

I love the above bathroom by architect Hélène Silvy-Leligois. This is the style of glass and grout we would go for. Click here to see more images of this amazing small studio apartment in Barcelona.

What’s neat about glass blocks is that they are relatively cheap, easy to install and easy to clean. In addition, there are a ton of options on how to finish the edges. Many block systems have components with rounded or finished edges or you can use tile, concrete, wood or special caps to complete them. (more…)


Trying to wing the floor plans ourselves.


This weekend we took all the measurements of Our Tour with the aid of a Laser Liner distance measurement scanner that a friend lent to us.  Our friend told us it was really easy to use, and boy was he right. All you have to do is set it up against a wall and point. (more…)


Our historic roof is repaired.



The primary restoration work on our beautiful attic is done! See what it looked like before here.

The roofers, equiped with lifelines, came and replaced all the loose and missing shingles (I wish I had pictures!), and the charpentier menuisier reinforced the beams with specially cut pinewood pieces. Then the whole roof was chemically treated to prevent future infestation by insects or fungus. The charpentier menuisier complimented again the beauty of the original work and said we were good to go for another 100 years.

Much, much later when the other rooms are done we’ll come back to the attic. We’ll work on homogenizing the color of the wood and replaster the walls. This will make a beautiful guest room…someday. For now, it’s just  une bonne chose de faite.

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Considering the aesthetic and energy consumption of our wood burning options. 

fireplace collageCredits: 1234

When it comes to interior design, my husband and I are almost always on the same page. I’ll say “I want our kitchen to look like this…” and he’ll say “I was thinking EXACTLY the same thing”. Or he’ll say “I want our bathroom to be like this…”. You get the picture. So it was surprising when we wanted very different things for a very central part of our Tour: the hearth.

He wants to install a new but traditionally made fireplace in pierre de Caen. Something classic like the examples above. However, with all our apparent stone walls, I wanted more of a juxtaposition of materials to give our Tour a cozier feel. I want a cute wood stove.

wood stove CollageCredits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

There are 4 fireplaces in our Tour, but only one that is worth anything. Unfortunately, it’s in the space that will probably become our daughter’s room, so no fires there. We will strip the paint and restore the natural stonework on this one, but it will remain inactive.

fireplace2Left: Our fireplace in pierre de Caen. Right: Fireplace in raw pierre de Caen by Conraud Doye

The other fireplaces in our Tour like the one shown below are just cache misère. That’s not marble there, just some funky plastic resin. We haven’t tore the casings off yet, but we don’t expect to find much behind them. The chiminey structure looks a bit like the one below (minus the brick) and we’ll work with it for whatever option we finally choose.

fireplace3Left: Main fireplace in our Tour. Right: Fireplaces new and restored by Conraud Doye

There are a lot of amazing tailleurs de pierre like Conraud Doye in the region who restore or make new fireplaces with traditional techniques using  pierre de Caen. While I absolutely love the look of a traditional stone fireplace, our Tour has NO central heating, and I think a wood stove would be more efficient. After several heated discussions (pun intended), I sent my husband several articles like this detailing the  energy consumption/loss of both options. I think I’ve convinced him. Maybe.

I also kinda like the idea of having a fun colorful wood stove in enamel or tile:

new woodstoves1. Wood stove VENDOME blue enamel / 2. Wood stove LUNA enamelled red / 4. Stove chimney BOHEME all from Invicta / 3.  Wood Stove Morso 3112 from Morso

Or what about this awesome steam-punk looking wood stove from Marinemine? Estonian sculptor Mati Karmin makes furniture and wood stoves from old Russian mine shells. Now that would be some style juxtaposition!

mine-furniture 06 Marinemine
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