Sunday, August 29, 2010

Then & now

'Le Petit Lapin' as I firsat saw it
I promised to write a bit about renovating ‘Le Petit Lapin’, so on this sunny Sunday morning, I will try to remember how things were in the beginning.  The cottage was quite a derelict stable when I purchased the property.  It had housed pigs once, so throughout the renovations we called it ‘La Porcherie’, the pigsty, a name which happily grew less and less appropriate as time went on.  
My sons and their friend Sidonie
When I first saw it, the roof was covered in lichen with missing tiles here and there; the entry was just an opening without any kind of door; and there were stalls inside formed by granite partitions that went up as high as my shoulder.  The building had been extended in cinderblocks-- not very pretty-- and there was a sort of window-- an off-centre hole covered with corrugated plastic.  And attached at the back there was a large wooden hanger with a tin roof.  There was clearly a lot of work to do!

Durng the Easter holiday, I came over to Sains from England and my four children joined me.  The three at university brought two friends with them and together we began to take on the challenge of opening up the interior space of the stable by destroying the walls we didn’t need-- there was no way that guests were going to fit into the tiny stalls, so there was a lot of granite that we needed to chip away at with hammers and chisels and picks.  You can see in the photos the product of a hard day’s work, the result of the children's enthusiasm.

Renovating is, of course, a matter of both construction and destruction, and the latter is always easier and faster.  Building the cottage was invariably harder and much more time-consuming, but for that I needed to call in the professionals-- the subject of another blog.
Sidonie in the future diniing area

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