This is Maison Barbe, the cottage we have been renovating since we moved in last year in November. Happy to report that the works are going well and we can finally see it transforming under our eyes and becoming more welcoming than how we found it.
To add more space to its somewhat small rooms (typical for this type of béarnaise-style farm house) we have decided to paint all the dark-colours in white or light grey, as you can see from the photo below, which is the living room. We are keeping the original floor-tile, but all the dark bricks surrounding the wood burner have been covered in light-grey paint.
We found the staircase walls covered in wood panelling (not the nice kind) and decided to remove it, instantly gaining a sense of space that wasn’t there before.
The bedrooms came furnished with great antique pieces in dark wood that were more appropriate to large rooms often found in chateaux and maisons de maitre. In order to keep those great pieces but make them less overpowering and, again, generate a bit more space in the rooms, we have decided to also paint them in light colours, as seen below.
We also found out that most of the walls (including the ceilings) came covered in wallpaper, so Alistair took it upon himself to painstakingly remove every single square inch of wallpaper with a steamer. Here he is at work in the bathroom, after taking down the tiles and before completely removing the bathtub.
We’ve also recently discovered that original exposed beams ceilings still exists under the plasterboards that were used to cover them up, giving us confidence that the rooms will gain in height and character given by the traditional features.
We are still a long way to go from finishing, but we are making great strides. There are still wires to hide, pipes to box and walls to fix even before we begin contemplating the painting and decorating, but we are starting to see how the farmhouse is going to look like when it is ready to receive guests.