salon above fireplace
Above the living room fireplace

The front apartment is getting closer. Jacques, the painter, is amazing. He’s meticulous, organized and acts as site manager, coordinating the other artisans. He also cleans up after them a lot. And we are grateful.

salon betw windows
In the living room, between the windows

We are happy with how the color turned out. Gray wasn’t our choice–we wanted a creamy off-white–but we were required to paint the windows and shutters RAL 7035, so we adapted. (RAL is a color system like Pantone.)

salon floor 2
The living room floor…a little wet because it had just been cleaned.

The painting in the front is nearly finished. The tomette expert has to come back to wax and seal the living room’s tiles, which we decided to leave their natural color. They had been painted before.

bedroom 1 floorThe bedroom floors just need to be waxed. They are a different kind of tile.

bedroom 1 above fireplace
Above the fireplace in the bedroom
bedroom 1 door
Do you see the little door?

The passage to the other side has been sealed. The doorway, which is two feet thick, will be filled in on the other side with acoustic insulation and a bookcase.

SDB 1
The front bathroom

Do you see a problem in the photo above? A wall was erected so all the pipes could pass behind, out of sight. But the plumber stuck a pipe on the outside. He has to redo it.

He (or his assistant) also messed up the connections, so when the water was turned on, it ran all over the floor. More to fix.

WC 1
Powder room for the front apartment

The lighting and space is difficult to photograph in the WC, but we are proud of the sink in its pretty converted dresser and with its pretty gray marble. The tile on the floor is the same as on the bathroom wall.

cuisine 1
The kitchen of the front apartment

The lighting in the kitchen also is difficult. The floors match the living room (they’re covered with plastic protection now). We have to get the cabinets and appliances installed as soon as they’re done. We are looking for cool sconces. Brocante time!

cuisine 2 both walls
The kitchen of the back apartment…don’t worry, the door will be painted.

Some progress has been made on the back apartment. The kitchen backsplash was tiled. I really like how it turned out. The tile was chosen to go with dark red tomettes, but we since learned that tomettes come in many shades. The floors here haven’t been treated yet, so we don’t know what we’ll find.

WC 2
The sink has yet to be installed.

The back apartment’s WC is tiled and painted and just waiting for the sink to go in. Another tight space that’s hard to photograph.

The second bathroom is installed, but not yet painted, so everything is covered with plastic.

It isn’t all about decorating. Behind the scenes, important upgrades happen.

Luckily there’s a chimney that goes straight up and out for the ventilation from the bathrooms, kitchens and furnace. And lots and lots of NEW wiring. We love the electrician.

Stay tuned.

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21 thoughts on “Renovation update

    1. We hired an expert in tomettes. Seriously. He’s an adorable young guy who totally lights up about anything old. He was on hand when the electricians revealed the straw walls under the plaster and he nearly jumped up and down with excitement telling me about the history of it.
      He treats the floors with I don’t know what, then buffs off the gunk. It takes many passes.

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  1. All very interesting when I compare it to our renos. I love your encaustic tile (lookalikes?) for kitchen and bathroom. And nothing beats old terracotta tiles if you can leave them in situ. Yours have been there a long time. Your tile expert probably told you, but if they are laid butted up together like that with no grouting/lime mortar between it means they were laid before the days of vacuum cleaners. In the old days the idea was to fill all the little irregularities with the daily grime of life as you swept. Once vacuum cleaners were in common usage they sucked all of it out and the tiles began being laid with a 5mm gap that was filled with mortar. I’m interested that the tile guy is going to wax. We were advised by our tile manufacturer (we bought direct from a local factory) to treat new and old with heavy naptha and liquid teflon. It requires less renewal over the years and is still breathable. Our tiles are at ground level so whatever you use to seal them must be breathable. We were strongly advised not to use any of the old fashioned household mixes of linseed and vinegar, nor should we wax them. Waxing upstairs is OK though.

    I sympathise re the plumber’s lack of aesthetics. We liked our plumber and he did a great job generally, but he simply didn’t see there was a problem with visible pipes.

    We also could not convince any of the local artisans to run pipes up an old chimney. ‘No, no, it is forbidden’ they kept telling us. In the end we gave up and our range hood does not vent to the outside as we wanted. We could not convince them that it was only illegal if you also used the chimney for a fire! Since the wood fire had long gone and the chimney at the top had been demolished we were amazed at how reluctant they were to do the job.

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    1. Our apartment is upstairs, so I guess the breathability issue is resolved. I wonder whether the grouting (or lack thereof) is why somebody painted the tiles later. I’ll ask him about products. Thanks for the tips!!!

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      1. Lack of grouting would have made it easier to paint the tiles, but I bet they were painted to freshen them up and seal them. The product used by your guy to clean them was probably sulphuric acid. The products we used to impregnate ours were from our tile manufacturer (who has French heritage artisan certifcation). The brand name of the heavy naphtha is Sarpasol. Heavy naphtha is a petroleum product and at first I was really dubious about it, but essentially you are impregnating the tiles with an acid to stop them blooming and taking up stains. The liquid teflon stuff doesn’t seem to have a name. It’s just labelled as a hydrofuge/oleofuge. The more light coats of the naphtha you can put on initially the better. I would limit the teflon stuff to two or three coats at one time as it gets a sort of waxy build up.

        I assume your straw wall is colombage. We had a crappy old wall up one side of the staircase, made from what looked like literally bits and pieces they had found in the back yard, including some colombage. Our builder used an old fashioned mix of hemp (chanvre) and lime render (enduit/chaux) to cover it all and make a bit of a feature.

        I know what you mean about not intending to choose grey. I never thought I would have a grey kitchen, but in fact it looks great. We’ve got used to the traditional colours and now are advocates of them. They really work with the traditional building materials of limestone, lime render, slate and terracotta.

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  2. It is all looking really lovely, what a privilege to live in such an old property, our house is over 200 years old and we very often try to imagine how the original owners lived, can’t wait for the next installment

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    1. And my husband usually is on site at all times. He missed them (because they didn’t come when they said they would) and they screwed it up.
      The color thing goes with the historic preservation authorities. The entire neighborhood is historically classified. Certainly some people do what they want and just don’t ask. I don’t know how much power they have to force owners to make changes, but I don’t want trouble either. We are doing everything by the book.

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  3. What a beautiful job. The apartments are going to be lovely. Are you and your family moving into one of them? Will you be sharing photos of the furnishings also?

    Ali

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  4. I love the tiles in your front bathroom – they look great!! Where did you find them? The whole renovation project is looking wonderful, and I can just see that the apartments are going to look lovely when they are finished!!

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