Renovating a house in France

Hello Dear Reader,

I used to watch those programmes where people would decide on a home in the UK or a home abroad. We had debts, a house too big and I knew it would never be me. However, we paid off the debts, drastically paid down our mortage, sold the house, downsized to a tiny cottage and when we came into some money bought a doer upper in Huelgoat in Brittany. We’ve owned it since the 21st December and have had less than two weeks and a small budget to work on it. We’re waiting on quotes from trades but I can see us learning how and doing it ourselves to keep to a tight budget. 

All of our shutters will be sanded and painted by me. They are so heavy and it took both of us to get them on and off.

There was no kitchen when we arrived and DB has built one from a DIY store kit. He’s taking his time, getting it right and thinking it through. We need to get some more bit from Brico depot tomorrow and then he’ll be able to finish it. 

It’s just a kit really, a big puzzle. 

Work tops ready to cut.

We’ve experimented with keeping the little French sink, it is cute and I’ll go with it for a while. We’re going to turn the downstairs bathroom into a utility room. I don’t think anyone want to wander through the kitchen in a towel to have a shower. We’ll keep a downstairs loo as every house could do with more than one and two flights of stairs for a pee is a bit much! We’ll also install a new 200 litre hot water tank in the main bathroom so the small kitchen tank will just be for washing dishes. 

Here’s the kitchen progress so far. There’s another wall of units to finish, wall units to put up and the cooker will need to be placed on bricks. Everything French is about 5cm lower and at 177cm tall, everything is already too low for me.

I’ve also sprayed the back of the house with anti- mousse to kill the orange a lack lichen, emptied another wood shed, moved the dry wood with my other wood delivery. I’m now ready to stack the green logs to season for two years. 

We’re off to the dechetterie and brico depot tomorrow and then back to work on the house. The manual work has been relaxing, sanding, painting or making puts you in that moment when you can’t think of anything else so you leave any worries else where. 

It’s now time for our even walk with the dogs, supper and a glass of wine.

See you tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx


22 thoughts on “Renovating a house in France

  1. I’ve so enjoyed this past weeks blog. Its great you make the time to keep us updated. You’ve done so much in so little time.


  2. I agree the sink is lovely. People are renovating and building new and looking for those sinks, so I think you’ll be happy you decided to keep.


  3. Everything is coming along nicely and looks wonderful. Does is cost a great deal to get the hot water on demand (here we call it tankless hot water).?It costs a bit more upfront, but then you usually pay less for electricity over the long haul. Just wondering.


  4. all fantastic progress. I didn’t see this change of direction coming either, but I must say I am really enjoying reading about it. Good for you!


  5. The parquet floor is amazing. OMG. I am v proud of you for working so hard in the holiday just think of the fun you will have when it is all ready. I think you are having fun now though as you make the most of everything. kitx


  6. hi! I am enjoying your new blog, it has a very clean feel to it. Love the work on the house in Brittany, you have been very busy, it will be all worth it. I read a few posts back on learning langauges, when you have time, maybe you would like to look at Duolingo. Its free, has lots of languages and is a fun way to learn. I have been doing Spanish there. We love French supermarkets, so amazing. Keep up the mojo! Renga C.


  7. Coming along very nicely – wow the difference is amazing!

    Just a point about hot water, we now have ‘heures creuses’ which is night-time cheap electricity from EDF. We also have a 200 litre tank which we have to heat up 5 nights a week, which gives us 3 or 4 scant showers plus washing up (kids aren’t here all the time, I cange it to 7 nights in the hols) but since changing, we have saved 30 euros a month. We bought a timer from one of the brico shops (can’t remember which but all similar) but paid for itself many times over.

    It also pays not to have the hot water tank far from where you need it most – ours is some distance ie in the loft , so we do waste some cold water waiting for the hot to arrive!


    • Hi – we have plumbing plans that we’ll save for, better drainage as showers drain slowly, bigger water tank, new shower itself, turn down stairs bathroom into utility room but it all takes time and money and we’ll have to be patient and learn as we’ll do it ourselves


  8. you two make a wonderful DIY team…thanks for sharing your progress…it’s a charming house and getting better every day…you’ve inspired me to do more around my place…


    • I would use the wood shutters when possible. If you ever have a storm where you NEED the shutters, you might be very glad not to have lightweight plastic. I am not a complete traditionalist–we have a liquid propane fireplace as the only heat in our second home, and we installed Pergo-type flooring. But I would rather re-paint real shutters as needed than replace with something that might break in a hard wind. I have a real wood front door and the side door is fiberglass. Metal dents too easily–and we are not hard on our doors.


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