There are cracks in our floor, but the tiles are almost more beautiful because of their imperfections. Theirs is an honest story of survival and service, the history of the house itself
Yes, I’m charmed by neglected things, always have been. Recently through necessity it’s French architectural salvage, though I’ll never turn down anything pretty or useful
Or in need of help
I have optimistically bought old radiators from Ebay, with no idea if they will function in France (or at all), and I can’t wait to see the plumber’s face when I show him my latest treasures!
But I am sure our very likeable builder now understands some of the vision for this house. Initially I was made aware by friends that he prefers to rip out and modernise everything (and this was borne out in our early meetings), but I have noticed a subtle change in his attitude – ‘un change de tête’ after further visits. Standing with me in the house, he admired the quality of the ironwork on a window one day, and he talked about how attractive the old shutters will be when sanded and refreshed – yet weeks before he might have suggested replacing them. I might be imagining it, but
I think the house is actually getting to him
This house has a true riches to rags story, though no-one seems to know the details. And though it doesn’t need anyone’s approval but ours, I suspect that there lurks in our builder a real admiration of this strong survivor, cherished and valued for centuries before being left abandoned and neglected, exposed to the elements for decades. I think he now has a better understanding of why we are doing this and how hard we are prepared to work towards it
It can never again be pristine. Perhaps it never was, despite its grandeur. But pristine wouldn’t really do it for us – we’re not pristine either
How could anyone not love this house, if only for its total defiance?