Appartement de Roses et de Vignes
Renovation of the Apartment
July 2019 - August 2020
Another huge room to renovate and we also had to continue to ensure that the dust and rubble didn't go into the rest of the house which seemed harder in this room as it was in very bad condition. The ceiling and walls had to be re-plastered, plus all the wiring and plumbing had to be renewed - there was a lovely old sink, which we managed to keep, but this caused problems with the size of pipework as it was no longer standard - but a way was found to make it work. The floor was in a terrible condition and tiles had to be 'borrowed' from places where they wouldn't ultimately show such as under the cooker, then they all had to be thoroughly cleaned and re polished so they matched (well, more or less). The window had already been replaced with a new double glazed window but it still needed to be properly fitted and a windowsill made.
After pulling off plaster and making channels for wiring, I started renovating furniture we had accumulated as we were not going to have a modern kitchen, but one more to our taste utilising some of the wonderful vide grenier finds we had made over the years. Many doors needed stripping, all were very old, some with hand made nails, and I was glad of the good weather so that this could all mostly be done outside. I also re painted some items such as a lovely little cupboard and a bookshelf, which was going to be turned into a dresser to accommodate some of the crockery and kitchen memorabilia that I had also collected. In between I painted the walls as the plastering was finished.
We retained the lovely Languedoc fireplace with its traditional rounded shape. The chimney will not be used but the fireplace was too gorgeous to take out.
When all the work was done I was able to clean the floor and to bring it back to its original colour and shine with some products recommended to me by a French friend who remembered cleaning her Grandmother's floor (under her eagle, and very critical, eye). The antique unit that was to hold part of the work surface was sanded and painted and my husband then cut some very old marble to fit after first making shelving to hold the rest of the weight. Cutting marble is not easy, especially to an exact size, but he did it and the unit and work surfaces were united.
While Peter did the tricky plumbing and wiring I painted chairs and made curtains utilising the wonderful hand made and embroidered pelmets that were made and used in this region. I also managed to buy a frieze for the edge of the Landocienne fireplace, as is traditional. We could have removed the fireplace to give more space but it's such a wonderful feature we decided to keep it and put there a feature wood burner of the same era.
The kitchen has been restored and decorated with love using antiques and collectibles but it is also eminently suited to modern life. There is a full size electric oven, a fridge/freezer, microwave and the best quality crockery, cutlery and glassware so that you can enjoy all the wonderful produce this region has to offer. The dining table seats up to eight, so you can share a meal with friends, but there is also a cold box together with picnic plates and bowls if you would prefer to eat at the beach or river or down in the garden at the wildflower meadow.
Cupboard painted and antique frieze used to decorate
Original Languedoc fireplace restored.
Antique light fitting, height can be altered by moving weight which is filled with sand
Curtain made using antique embroidered frieze
This cupboard door started life as a window in an ecclesiastical building, inside you can see the small window ledge
Ancient cupboard door, no handles originally just holes cut into the door for fingers to use.
Work surface made of antique marble and placed on very old cupboard
Curtains edged with a hand made frieze
Dresser filled with kitchen memorabilia and antiques
Provence Santons on mantelpiece as they would have been many years ago.