We’ve been in the main house now for a little over two weeks. And it feels great — like home.
The details of finishing the interior have kept me buried and exhausted. I think of blogging often, but then fall into a coma from the day’s challenges. Sorry to keep you in the dark, but as things start to slow down, I’ll get caught up. Promise!
Here’s another little tour of what we’ve been up to.
In anticipation of finally being able to start hanging light fixtures, I started cleaning the chandeliers…
Step 1: Hang them from a tree in the shade.
Step 2: Strip them of their jewels and their dignity.
Step 3: Soak in hydrogen peroxide/soap mixture and hand polish each crystal.
Step 4: Hang the girls upside down so their electrical parts get dry.
(Step 5) Try to remember how all the parts go back together again! I don’t recommend mixing wine and crystals…
And speaking of light fixtures, here’s a funny story of my greatest bargain so far! Theo requested a ‘Ralph Lauren’-inspired man cave, so I found a great light fixture that looks like it’s made from wine cask ribs. So in my never-ending search for a good deal, I found one on the ever-questionable AliExpress.com (every single thing from China, every single day). Did some research on the company and they looked okay, then got a coupon for their first anniversary with everything half off. So I waited until the window for the deal and pushed the order button. It arrived in a small flat box. Uh-oh. Obviously needed some assembly. With no help (or encouragement) from the men on site (only disparaging rolling of the eyes), I set out to redeem myself.
I’m gonna do this, dammit!
And so, here is a peek at the chandelier in place (thank you very much). And here, too, are the guys assembling the bookshelf/tv wall unit I had made in Portugal.
The man cave coming together.
The kitchen is together and functional at last. Just need to finish the backsplash, install the radiator, and seal the floors. This first photo is before appliances, countertops and light fixtures, but the last and final window (a behemoth of a single-hung solid oak beauty) is awaiting installation over the sink.
Then I had the wrenching decision for a countertop. The choices of stone are surprisingly slim here in France. We worked with a wonderful young man who tried to source some wild ideas for me, but in the end, I decided to just use what he had in stock—a honed black granite. And since there is so much visually going on in the kitchen, I’m positive it was the right decision. And I do love it. Interesting, though, that they don’t routinely bullnose granite here, they simply use really thick pieces and polish the edges. Here are the guys installing the countertop.
And here’s my baby being installed. It took nearly a whole day to figure out how to get her inside, install her, and tweak and test her. And I love her. I’m convinced she is inspiring me to be a better cook!
We’ve enjoyed visitors from Germany, with Sybille leaving after just a few days for a trek on the Camino de Santiago. The boys dropped her off in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port for her journey and she plans to go the entire way to Santiago de Compostela. Go Sybille!!!
In the meantime, we’ve finished the oak flooring. Decided on an oil and wax stain that should wear well with the dogs and be easy to ‘spot treat.’ I am impressed with the soft glow of this finish and am surprised it’s not more commonly used in the US. This is the dressing room with the cabinets all painted. My laundry machines will go on the right underneath the window.
From time to time, we get some rain. And this is what the patio looks like. Chunks of old moss from the roof (still need to power wash and treat the roof tiles) and muddy footprints galore. But we’re always glad for the green it creates.
And here’s our best worker-bee, Claudio, getting a big hug from boss Ribeiro, while installing the stone baseboards. The cabinet on the right is an ancient cabinet purchased by Theo’s mom, that we simply HAD to bring with us.
And so the decorating begins. Had the guys cut this out for me to make an upholstered headboard for the maison d’amis. In my spare time. Ha!
Slipping in a little fun with dinner on Wolfgang’s birthday. ‘Thet’ and ‘August’ celebrating their 50+ year friendship!
And, lastly, our boxes await. We have everything from America in the pigeonniere, and I am literally ITCHING to get in there and unpack. But I must wait until the floors are sealed and the furniture is in place before weighting it down with all our crap.