Friday, 3 August 2012

A little folly

When you have been renovating a house for about 8 years there is a chance you lose sight of why you are doing it. You start to cut corners in an effort to finish the job. Thankfully that's not a situation I've found myself in. Now you could say spending 15 hours on a beam to hold up one corner of the salon is a bit, well silly, but that would be missing the point. When you take on a house like this you have to decide why you're doing if from the start. Either you doing a "makeover" a "renovation" or a "restoration". To be clear the easiest is the makeover; laths, plasterboard a lick of paint and a kitchen from B&Q and you're done. Next is the mid tier, change the room layouts and make the house into a modern house; central heating, insulation and gas boiler all add up to a practical and comfortable house. A modern house. Lastly and the most costly is what we have here, a restoration. The difference to my mind between a renovation and a restoration is about how you go about it and the quality of what you do. The feel of a house is very subjective but hand made doors, beams, solid floors, cut beams for the ceiling and sympathetic repair rather than all out gut job is what makes the difference. Ultimately if when you have finished it looks new; it's a renovation. If when you've finished it still looks like an old house, then its a restoration.

This is the beam to span between the old supports and the new, bearing in mind that the main timbers have been raised 44mm, and therefore the floor is higher.
Good old fashioned mortise and tenon joints.
And a half finished floor. 23mm X 200mm pine boards do the job. Not the best or most expensive floor but one that is strong and will last.

Footnote: The essence of life.
None of what I'm doing is difficult, but it is hard work. A friend of mine once said to me; "Walk a mile in a man's shoes". And he was right. Many people are critical of the work that others do, many people like to think they could do a better job. Most of those people have never done it. There are many people renovating  / restoring / making over houses in France and good luck to them whatever their plan. To those who like to think they could but never have: "Walk a mile in a man's shoes". The main difference between anyone I reckon is not skill or talent or intelligence; it's just the will to make the effort.

No comments:

Post a Comment