Sunday 12 January – No Going Back

I mentioned at the end of last week’s blog that once we had completed taking down all of the Christmas decorations we would start emptying Priory of all its furniture and furnishings in preparation for its refurbishment.  And this is exactly what we have been doing this week.

We did manage to pack away all of the decorations on Monday and stack them in the corner of the store room.  I am convinced they are taking up more space but we didn’t buy many more this year.  I was even organised enough to have left some of the things that I want to repair at the top of the pile although whether I am organised enough to get round to doing the repair in the course of the year remains to be seen!

The remainder of the week has all been about our Priory project – in some form and, you may wat to have a look at the pictures on our webpage to see what it used to look like.  Initially we spent a day just emptying out anything which could be carried and have stored it in various places although principally Granary.  We have managed to sell the lovely Breton beds we bought about 10 months ago for the first floor twin as that room will have a king-sized bed when we have finished.  They are not going very far as our friends who run the campsite at the Lac du Drennec have bought them for one of their glamping tents and they will look as good there as they did for us.

New Priory Beds

The plan for the refurbishment is to replace the fittings which have become a little tired and dated, principally the kitchen and bathroom; to install a new, much more efficient heating system; rewire the entire property and provide it with a power supply independent of the other properties; and create an en-suite bathroom from the first floor king-to-be bedroom.  The division of the current family bathroom will make 2, admittedly compact, bathrooms but we believe having an additional shower room will be much more attractive.

To achieve our plans we needed to rip out the kitchen and bathroom and effectively take them both back to bare walls.  Our builder, Lee, arrived on Wednesday and the real demolition began; we even managed to cut the new access from the bedroom into the new en-suite bathroom and, as it matches the style of the bedroom door, we will recycle the door from the old downstairs loo to use here.

Both David and I had our favourite moments when the pieces we least likes were ripped out or dismantled.  For David it was dumping the old sink in the déchetterie yesterday as it was an odd material that marked very easily and took ages to clean.  For me, it was breaking up the kitchen island which, while providing worktop room, was otherwise a complete waste of space as it had no storage incorporated (had we not decided to refurb the whole gîte we would have added some cupboards underneath).

Another of my least favourite parts of the kitchen was the seat in the old fireplace which again served limited practical purpose.  That has now gone and I have started smashing up the slate step below which will take a little time.  Our new kitchen plans will make better use of this space – indeed the whole room we believe!

As we are re-wring Priory we have dismantled the four-poster bed on the mezzanine as we plan to replace the dark wood and lighting behind it with something much more attractive.  It will also allow our electrician to hide the wires behind and should allow us to move the bed a few centimetres closer to the wall – every millimetre helps as we know it is a little tight to walk along the end of the bed.

One thing we have asked Lee to do is construct some cabinet doors so we have access to the electric water heater in Priory as, at present, it is blocked in and very in accessible.  Sadly, as he started this, we discovered that the heater wasn’t working properly and needs replacing.  Thankfully it had still been providing hot water so our last guests were able to shower, but it had developed a slow leak that would have got worse over time.  We don’t know how old the heater is although we assume about 15 years so was probably nearing shelf life anyway.

This was added to our shopping list for Friday, which was always planned to be spent in Brest choosing a number of things for the project so it made what was always going to be a painfully expensive day into an even more painful one.  At least now we have lots of things on order to allow us to progress and refurbish – including having bought a new dishwasher for us finally ours having packed up before Christmas.

We are really excited about how Priory is going to look when finished although that feels like an awfully long way off at the minute.  Tomorrow our electrician arrives and, we hope, begins work in earnest.  He is fitting the new heating system which will use an air-source heat pump so should be very economic as well as doing the rewiring.  We are now reliant on him making rapid progress before we can start rebuilding things – that and waiting for delivery of everything we ordered on Friday.

Thankfully there are lots of things I can progress inside next week as, looking at the forecast, the next few days are going to be particularly wet and windy – no fun.