Well, we made it. And, unusually for us, we completed the work the day before the gîte’s first guests arrived!
In last week’s blog I was reasonably confident that we were well on-track to have Granary ready without having to work through the night at any stage – which we did for its first refurbishment in 2015. Our memories of that first refurbishment are not terribly pleasant ones, or at least the last week of it. I recall having VERY little sleep in the last 4 days, and re-reading the blog I wrote back then, it says that the only thing we ate in one 48 hour period was a breakfast!
It is always easy to be confident you can meet a plan, although that can easily be knocked if you find problems you weren’t expecting and we have always felt that, for much of this refurbishment, Granary has been fighting us and didn’t want to be improved!
There were the inevitable small issues (mostly plumbing related) and one more major – the discovery of yet more rotten woodwork in the fabric of the building. This one was the sill underneath the window of the master bedroom. We don’t know when the windows were installed. While attractive, they are certainly not original to the building. Whoever replaced them, rather than get windows manufactured to fit the gaps, used off-the-shelf smaller windows and then a number of ‘imaginative’ ways to fill the inevitable gaps created.
One of these was a baton of wood under the master bedroom window which, with lots of other bits of wood we have found in the house, had evidently got very wet at some point, and had rotted away to dust. When I was preparing to repaint that area of the bedroom this became evident and needed to be repaired.
Thankfully, because it was so rotten, removing the old piece was fairly easy and the rot doesn’t appear to have spread to the surrounding area and window frame (I suspect it was a softer wood). Having removed it, I replaced it with a treated hardwood piece and sealed the area outside to prevent future water ingress. Once done, it could then be painted.
Another wall that took a little longer to prepare for painting was the ‘problem child’ in the first floor living room. This was the one that I spent hours scraping back and had previously been painted a mushroom-coffee shade to hide whatever the stain was that was leaching through the paint.
Having scraped it back, I used a specialist undercoat and sealer to, hopefully, prevent any future leaching before painting the entire room.
However, all problems aside, yesterday afternoon we had thoroughly cleaned and re-built the cottage such that it was in a state to accept our guests for this week. We were ‘helped’ a little as these guests are here to participate in a course organised by someone else centred in walking and fasting. As such, the organiser asks us to remove certain kitchen items – coffee machines, microwaves, toasters etc – so we didn’t have to put everything back in.
Equally, we have not yet replaced all the pictures and deco items as we now have the opportunity to decide if we want a ‘theme’ and how to make it look even better.
We have de-scoped a couple of things that we still want to do and will return to in the quiet weeks during the year. One of these is that you will see from the pictures we have moved the washing machine out of the kitchen and placed it under the stairs. It is not the most sightly thing there so we plan to build a cupboard under the stairs (as we had done in Priory) but that won’t be until these guests depart.
So, I have kept you waiting long enough. How does Granary look now? Amazing, I hope you will agree with these pictures.
First floor living room:
The biggest changes have been to the kitchen and family bathroom which are completely new. The bathroom before was the last remnant of the previous owners that we have wanted to change for some time as it was dated and unappealing.
Everywhere else has been repainted and made-good where necessary. Gone are the obviously rotten beams in the kitchen and master bedroom; the extractor fans in the bathrooms work again (they hadn’t for some time and, knowing this project was going to happen, we hadn’t prioritised their repair); light switches are in more sensible places and 2-way switches actually work as 2-way switches!
Frustratingly, some areas don’t look as though we have done much. Lots of the work is effectively invisible such as the complete rewiring and replacement of the internal render in the ground-floor dining room, but we love it and think that it looks even better than our first refurb.
One major project done and so time to turn to another on the list – and there remain plenty to choose from! However, I think a couple of days of ‘light duties’ and relaxation before we embark on the next. We always thought 2022 would be a productive year.
We hope you like the pictures and that it was worth the wait. Let us have your thoughts – we’d love to know – or come and see for yourselves, Granary really is the perfect place for that Breton self-catering holiday.