Thursday, 18 August 2011

The foyer/entry/hall back-story - circa 1997.

Last week I really enjoyed taking part in the Room By Room party, hosted by cottage and vine, with photographs of the hall here at the Presbytère.
You left me some very nice comments, merci!
After reading some of them the Senior Partner was overheard to mumble "if only they'd seen what it looked like when we moved in"!
Click here if you missed the "after" post.
So I thought it might be fun to show you what the hall did look like all those years go, in 1997, before and during the major house renovation.
We'll call this the "before" post.
I went through all the photographs that we took to document the work done and scanned them into my PC.
Those of a sensitive disposition may wish to look away NOW!

The original, white painted, front doors -  notice there's no lock or door handle.
The staircase and walls were clad in cheap boards and beading. The previous owner removed the wall and ceiling lights, when it went dark each evening we switched on torches to find our way about the house.
This is Sam one of the builders mates.
It was very dirty work getting them off and the walls beneath were in a dreadful state.
Can you see the loops of electrical wire just hanging down?
These wires were taped together and led from the junction box on the landing to the wall lights - very dangerous.

The entire house needed to be rewired. The wall was replastered where needed and battened for the new plasterboards.
The staircase was rotted through in places, serious restoration was called for.

With work going on in virtualy every room of the house simultaneously, tools and implements, not to mention, other things too, came to rest in very strange places!

What was stashed in the hall depended very much on what was happening in the rooms either side!

The underneath of the cantilevered staircase, which rises up through the centre of the house to my attic craft room in the eaves, had to be rebuilt and replastered.

Starting to look a lot better!
Walls plastered and painted, new central heating radiator (1 of 17) installed.

Mr. J Ribet, Artisan.
Jacques is adding the extra finishing touches. Bespoke plaster moulding for baseboards; dado; ceiling coving and interior doorways.

Finally the big day came, new doors!
The new outside lamps had been installed just a few days before.

There may well be bare wires and lightbulbs hanging from the walls but hey, the new doors are on!

Walls finally painted in pale yellow shades (tick), artwork and mirror hung (tick), new rugs and stair carpet laid (tick), 18th century original handmade terracotta floor cleaned and repolished (tick). Chandelier had yet to be sourced!

It took us almost 2 years to renovate this old house. During that time we had about thirty artisans working here, some of them practically living with us every day.
Builders; electricians; tilers; plumbers; master carpenters; plasterers; gardeners and tree surgeons.
I made what seemed like thousands of teas and coffees, the kettle was always on.

Two years ago we finally finished the restoration when we had the house completely reroofed.
Click here to see some more about that adventure!

Hope you've enjoyed the "before" post, it's been fun looking back at what we went through and maybe I'll do it again after next month's Room By Room party?

Linking this post to Debra's Vintage Inspiration Friday party @ Common Ground,
 I always find great decorating ideas there.


  1. Oh my goodness - an odyssey! I am going right back to appreciate the collection of 'after' photos. You must have fallen completely in love with your house to have spent such energy renovating. I am looking forward to more of your posts for this blog party.

  2. Maggie, I had no idea that you two had taken on a project of this size. You must look back now and marvel at it all. I look forward to seeing more of the before and after photos of your gorgeous home.

  3. Hi Maggie,
    All I can say is Wow! What an undertaking and such gorgeous results. You and your hubby are to be commented for living through a 2 year renovation project, I don't know if I could do it. But the end result is just gorgeous!! You have a lovely home. Thanks for sharing the before and after.

  4. Mmmm, been there, done that. Never again!

  5. WOW! That's a huge accomplishment! It's nice that we can take lots of pics now and document our 'adventures'! ♥

  6. Maggie, Your after photos were so lovely. Having never gone through a renovation myself, the before pictures were a real eyeopener.
    I can't imagine going through two years of disruption.

    You should be so thankful it is finished. Any more projects on your list?

    xoxo Bunny Jean
    Wednesdays Bunny Hop Party

  7. What a lot of work but the potential can be seen in the very first photos! I can't imagine having that many workers at once in my home, but that's the way to do it...get it all done as quickly as possible. This sort of reminds me of Under The Tuscan favorite movie! Your end results are beautiful!


  8. Seeing the toilet sitting in the hall reminded me of the time when my husband was re-fitting a new floor in the downstairs powder room. He had moved the toilet out to the garden. Our little 2½ year old neighbor boy (who was in the midst of being potty trained and was VERY interested in all things having to do with toilets) wandered over and asked why we had a toilet outside. My husband said that he thought it would be nice to sit out side and watch the birds while he did his "business". The little one nodded and agreed that it was a really good idea. I've never forgotten that exchange.

  9. Living through such a renovation must make you appreciate your home even more. You've invested a lot of time and effort into it. It's always nice to see before and after shots. You've done such a gorgeous job!

  10. Oh Maggie, this post reminds me of "A Year in Provence". I loved that book. Silly me, I just assumed the house looked like that when you purchased it. I truly did. Your patience and foresight have definitely paid off. I just LOVE the look of your home. Thanks for sharing.


  11. It looks beautiful Maggie.

  12. Your home had great bones. Renovations are always a trial, but your results were so worth it.

  13. I'm amazed that you had the vision to imagine what might be. The two years must have been filled with so many experiences that tested your patience. From the small glances I've seen of your beautiful home all the work was worth it. It will be interesting to follow your story of restoration. i'm looking forward to it!

  14. Hi Maggie
    You are the winner of the Danish porcelain house number giveaway. You can contact me at with your email or postal address and I will arrange shipping for you.

  15. I really enjoyed this post as we are just coming to the end of our own two year renovation! Thanks for sharing with us Maggie.

  16. A lot of work and such beautiful results. I know you are glad it is completed.

  17. What a journey to perfection Maggie! Looks very similar to what my brother went through in the Languedoc! Took them a few years too but was well worth the upheaval - fortunately they were living in their former holiday house in a nearby village so that made it easier. Talk about 'money pit', by the time they were finished I know they were close to broke, ha! ha! Of course they then sold the first house so that worked out perfectly - they've been in the current house (200+ yrs. old) about 6 years and love it - I do too.

    Your beautiful floors...........I want THEM! Wish I was coming to visit with Sarah - know you'll all have a great time.

    Happy days ahead in your gorgeous home.
    Hugs - Mary


Thanks for stopping by, your visit just made my day!