Friday, 17 December
“Stop being such a pessimist.”
“I’m not being a pessimist. I’m being a realist.”
This exchange occurred between my husband David and me on several occasions last summer, i.e., every time someone asked us when the renovation project on our house in the Perche would be completed. He maintained it would be mid-October; I predicted Christmas.
Turns out we were both wrong, that we perhaps should have listened to our dog Tasha who declared in a recent blog post: "I'm telling you, this is never going to be finished." I do think she's being overly pessimistic, but Christmas is next week and finished we are not.
Since readers continue to express confusion about what we’re actually doing and how on earth it could be taking so long, here's a recap.
In April 2019, we bought this:
On the left is the 16th century seigneurie; in the middle a 19th century barn; to the right a 20th century wooden farm building.
Step one of our project was turning the barn into living space for humans...
The starting date was delayed by our first Covid lockdown. But once we were freed early June 2020, work began promptly. Despite supply chain delays and artisans being stretched to the max by the many homebound people wanting to spruce up their houses and by the Covid-inspired rush of other Parisiens to the Perche, the project inched forward. We considered ourselves lucky to have bought just before prices skyrocketed, to have got our renovation underway before the surge of newer arrivals.
By December 2020, the 500-year wall had been breached, thus connecting barn and house...
After several more months and a fair amount of inconvenience...
...the barn was finished enough for us to move all our furniture and ourselves mid-March.
Meanwhile, after lengthy, existentially fraught discussions, we decided to transform the farm building from a shelter for tractors and farm animals to a covered swimming pool for humans...
Work on the main house began in earnest this last April.
In stripping away cement, some wonderful discoveries were made...
...which boosted our work-weary souls.
By early August, the cathédrale à la natation was finished, at least enough for a chilly swim. Late November, it was blessed with a floor...
And the house at this mid-December point? See top photo.
To be fair, my news is four days old. Tasha and I took the train into Paris on Tuesday to start Christmas preparations. David, who remained to manage deliveries and various surprises like the furnace having a melt down, assures me much has happened since our departure...but not enough to even near completion.
When the project will actually be finished-finished, who's to say. This is our third renovation in eight years, and to quote myself from an earlier blog: "If there’s one thing we’ve learned from experience, it's pay no attention to predicted time frames."
The job will get done. In the meantime, we are happy to be spending Christmas in fully finished comfort.
Wishing you all bonnes fêtes too. And stay well (away from Omicron).