A very complicated wreck!
Well! This was supposed to be the year of zero surprises and in many ways it remains just that! Still we both had nagging doubts about our very own French Wreck ever being done and dusted. We really, really want it on the market this summer. So, we needed a concrete action plan and we talked endlessly about how to make this happen? We agreed to stop the drip and start moving things forward in a big way and that meant, a nice wad of euros would be the key, to ensuring there was no more dillydallying! Reluctantly, we've raided our pension savings and are hoping the risk will be worth it in the end?
We aren't very good at sitting still generally, but in contrast, managing The French Wreck has tested us in every way possible. Poor workmanship, lack of value for money, hard to get decent, reliable workers and because we weren't there, project managing, the whole project drags on and on with no end in sight. It's been a discombobulated trickle.
When we totted up what we have spent so far and how little has been achieved, we were quite upset. Most of the time I've been all for throwing the towel in frankly, however, we've come that far, we simply cant go back. That grand town house will be an amazing home or business for someone going forward, we just need to get it done!
We achieved quite a lot of momentum last year but even then, the speed of the work for two men wasn't as expected. So in the end we decided to stop until we had a better way ahead. I'd really expected to be finished last summer, so it's been a really challenging time.
In a blog I wrote last year, I explained about the first carpenters poor work on one of the large original arched windows. I won't go into detail about that problem again, but suffice to say, the windows are a big deal! Now we are putting our money where our mouths are and getting quotes to replace the windows, all of them! We can't save them if the skill level isn't there to do them justice, so new windows are needed and soon.
One, we need triple glazing at a the front because of the road, two we need double glazing at the back, for nothing else other than ensuring the house is warm and draft free going forward and finally its all about the street cred! The old dame needs an entirely fresh face from garage doors to down pipes and so on. No more messing. We've spent an awful lot of money having all the walls re framed and insulated properly, so it makes much more sense to make sure we continue in that vain. In the end we will have built a house within the original walls, modern and warm. I believe in the end the only original feature left will be some oak flooring in the salon, oh and the beautiful original radiators, which have had a makeover! Although that said, we have purchased original oak parquet flooring (herringbone style) to lay throughout the ground floor. I will certainly try to give her back some period style without sparing the modern conveniences.
Last night, we talked and talked, reminiscing about our 'naivety' in buying that bloody house in the first place! This June, we have owned her 6 long years! Buying a wreck in France, unless retired and in situ, is indeed a folly and a half. Truly, we only have ourselves to blame and we so need to move on from this period of our lives. It's time.
Will we loose money? I don't think so, but it will be down to the wire. We have heard that the tumble down wreck next to ours is bought and being developed, which is fabulous news for the area. When we bought we certainly felt the area was up and coming, it turns out we were right, it just takes time. The old pink apartments across the street were an eyesore and are also getting beautified, it all helps improve value! The town is now bustling with new business and the shops/cafe's are coming back finally. It's all groovy!
The action plan started in earnest yesterday by putting the feelers out for window quotes and working on the specifications for the whole renovation. It means us spending more time in France this year to ensure we keep a closer eye on it all, but thats no bad thing really. I need to do the 'pretties' list which I'm rather looking forward to. It's all going to start very, very soon and its finally rather exciting. If we can make this happen, we can move on next spring, which will be a good thing for both of us.
Buy in haste folks, repent at leisure eh!
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