May 25, 2011

Restoration in the Limousin, France - II

As you probably know by now, I have always wanted to live in France and the desire just gets stronger. I came across this old farmhouse and several outbuildings and, after much thought and consideration, realised this could be my golden opportunity. It's situated in a small hamlet about 10 minutes drive from Rochechouart in the Limousin, Central France (about an hour from Limoges). For me, it is essential the region enjoys all four seasons and it has to be either rural or semi-rural as I aim to restore this property environmentally and as ecologically friendly as is practicable. In a village, the neighbours would not welcome the solar panels and wind turbine and I've been told that planning permission would be very difficult too in this type of locale.

I've spent the past week trying to decide how each of the buildings will be used; essential when having to replace the septic and plumbing systems. Finally, I am happy with the proposals and layout for each building. Of course, this could change overnight but for now, it's the way to go. Finally, I can focus my attention on the house/s...

The two houses will become one 4 bed home and the attached barn a workshop, office, art gallery and design studio. I want to salvage as much of the existing materials as I can and try to go for minimal structural change but there's clearly going to be some.

Starting with building A, I am hoping to be able to widen the stairs and install a cloakroom underneath. Next would be to knock through to building B just in front of the stairs (building A). I want to remove the stairs and replace the front door with windows in building B. At the back of the houses, I am planning an addition so that I can have a large eat in kitchen and a library. I want to open up the back of the house into the addition and install French windows on the back of the addition leading straight out onto the proposed patio and gardens.

As you can see there is much to do. The good news is that the structures are solid and the roofs are in great condition. The windows need some work but they are not too bad and have been doing a brilliant job of keeping the elements out. I've also been told that the beams are good, floorboards excellent condition albeit really dirty and the fireplaces/chimney's are in pretty good shape too.

Although, this project is somewhat daunting, I am actually looking forward to getting my hands dirty and enjoying life in semi rural France. Watch this space...


Jo xx

Your comments are always much appreciated.

May 14, 2011

A Touch of France on W 34th Street, Houston

If, like me, you have a passion for all things French, then you too will enjoy paying Judith & Darrel a visit on W 34th Street, Houston...

From the moment you enter, you will feel as though you have been transported to France; I'm instantly reminded of Paris, Lille, Burgundy, Alsace and northern parts of the Limousin where the colours are usually more natural and soft.

You'll find a series of little rooms and vignettes styled for your pleasure. One room, namely The Paris Apartment, houses an exquisite antique daybed (one of a pair) packed with crisp white monogrammed and embroidered pillows, pretty natural coloured linens and fine lace pieces.

As you walk around this spacious building you will be delighted by the stunning old armoires, painted country cupboards, chandeliers, gilt mirrors, linens...

and so much more!

It's my favourite place to shop... could be yours too.
Perhaps I'll see you there...


Judith McClellan
Darrel Davenport
713 880 9449

Hours: Monday - Friday 9 - 5pm

If you can't make it to their showroom, you'll find them at:

The Urban Market
Marburger Farm, Round Top
(Please call for dates and times)

Your comments are always very much appreciated.

May 4, 2011

Restoration in the Limousin, France...

It's very early days but, all being well, I may have found my restoration project in the Limousin, Central France. It's a wonderful collection of old stone farm buildings in a small hamlet dating back to the late 1800's. There's a main house, guest house and attached large barn. Across the courtyard are additional outbuildings, bakers oven and a well. The land is situated behind the main house with another small parcel behind the bakers oven and well. Paperwork and endless questions fly back and forth via email and I've been told that the process may take a while. I am not going to bore you with the details of structural surveys and septic tank installation but get right down to the good bits...

While I wait - relatively patiently - I have decided to create a mood board for each room in the main house, starting with the living room. It's a wonderful size and happily has all it's original features; lovely windows, an amazing beamed ceiling and a stunning old fireplace. I don't usually go for this style of home because I like high ceilings, crown mouldings, etc. but they are a good height for a farm house and the price is right! To balance out the heavy beamed ceiling, the room will require a light and airy palette. With this in mind, I am drawn to the chalky shades of linens, creams, ivories and taupe's. I'm also fond of pale powdery blues and lavenders.

I love simplicity and timeless elegance. I don't like to finish a room completely but prefer to add to it as I go along buying only what I feel would live happily in the space. I want this room to be welcoming, calm, comfortable, a space where my guests will feel they can kick their shoes off and curl up on the sofa.

When it's time to shop, I will open up my storage units first and plough through my English furniture pieces, chandeliers and mirrors to see what would be a good fit. The budget is limited but there will be just enough to indulge myself and introduce a few French and Swedish pieces.

I love old houses, their history, the way they feel and I particularly enjoy restoring them to their former glory. This project will be a work in progress but ultimately transition into a wonderful home for my husband and I; a place to share with family and friends.

I welcome your comments and if you have any ideas you would like to share with me, please feel free to do so...



Eliza Interiors and Design

1. Velvet Linen, 2. Unknown, 3 & 6. Powder Blue
4. French Country Living, 5, 7, 8 & 9. Unknown