Wednesday, 22 October 2008

From Rick to Ruin

Not quite a ruin, but certainly a wreck. We are buying a house.

I know, I know. What happened to the straw bale house? We're still ready to build, but we cannot find a piece of land to put it on. The land is either classified flood plain (most of it), agricultural, with no building allowed (much of it) or it's mountain (or next to it) and protected. My theory is that the French government, while boasting of its rural underpinnings, secretly wants everyone to move to the city.

So we are buying this house. It includes the bit at the right, but not the car.

It's main drawback is it is smack on the road. The second drawback is that it has a great view of the Citroën garage facing it. However, since it's also smack in the middle of the village, the speed limit is restricted, giving the cats a sporting chance, and the family that own the garage are really nice; it's the garage we use.

Here are the good bits (besides being available).

The house is an old postal relay. Please note that, having moved out of a former school, we are temporarily resident in a former gendarmerie, and are moving into a former relay. History 'r us.

On the ground floor there is plenty of room for Nick's workshop and wood storage as well as a -- ta ra! -- shop.

The left end is a garage leading into a tiny inner courtyard. I love inner courtyards! Removing the garage doors and part of the wall will get us back to the original arched entryway. We'll put in a grill cum door, tile the garage floor and courtyard and it will look very Spanish.

At the side entrance there is a bathroom, built into -- ready? -- an old wine vat painted white. Cleaned up, it will be fantastic.

The floors are a combination of old dark red tiles, called tomettes -- not beautiful, but interesting -- and rammed earth. We plan on keeping as much of the floors as we can.

Upstairs will be our apartment: 2 bedrooms, bathroom, a real kitchen and big living room in stone. In back, at upper floor level (the house backs onto a mountain) there is a strip of land that will be ours and an olive orchard that we can stare at. We'll open up the back end of the living room and make a terrace, so the dogs can be upstairs or down. Maybe the cats can learn to roam the mountain instead of the road.

Because it needs new everything, including a roof, we'll be able to do much of the ecological stuff we wanted to do in the straw house: eco insulation, solar hot water, underfloor heating, at least in the living room which, currently, does not have a floor at all, and in the bathroom, which currently does not exist at all, water recuperation, LED lighting and so on.

The village is only 11 km from Rémuzat, so we can still get back easily. There is a little grocery, the garage, a bakery, hotel, restaurant, bar and magazines. It's closer to Nyons. Farther from our doctor (on the other side of Rémuzat), but closer to the hospital. It's friendly. It's called Sahune.


  1. I have beautiful visions of this house and what you'll make of it.

    Congratulations :)

    Olga, will build for rooms

  2. Thank you. I have you on my Beg for Help list.

  3. Wow!!!! I didn't check your blog for a couple of days and lookee this. Wow. Rammed earth and tile floors, even. And courtyards and land. How old is it?
    Congratulations! Oh, and when do you move in?

  4. Lanc-ish. Enough to hang the washing out on the terrace to be built. It's about 1800, maybe, and we won't be moving in until late winter or spring. After we've done enough work to camp out in it.

  5. That was supposed to say land-ish.

  6. Congratulations. I can't wait to see pictures!! Sounds like it's going to be beautiful when you and Nick put your personal stamp on things.
    Karen, I'll rent my husband out to help (of course, I"d have to come along to be sure he didn't screw things up. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make)

  7. It sounds like a really cool house! Can't wait to see pictures of the inside.

  8. Yes, yes! Must see more pictures!

  9. mazel tov! sahune is lovely!