The house in Laroque, 10 years on

I was going to post some photos of the bathroom, now it’s done.  But I seem to be unable to take good shots – not only of the bathroom, but of any room in the house.  Whether it’s the gloomy weather, or the fact that I have taken on the local failure to offer convincing visual ‘marketing’ of any house advertised courtesy of an estate agent I don’t know.  The fact remains I’m not pleased with a single shot.

Inadequate as they are, however, I’ll post a few, together with a selection of photos taken in the very early days of our ownership.  We bought this house exactly 10 years ago, though we’ve lived here only six.  When you look at the ‘before’ shots, you’ll wonder why we ever bought it.

It was, quite simply, a ‘coup de cœur’.  We loved the old woodwork, the spacious rooms, and the way the house had evolved, higgledy-piggledy, over the years as the needs of its owners changed.

And you may understand why getting to the ‘after’ has taken so very long.  We do have more photos of the really bad old days.  I’ll  dig them out and post them one day soon.  They may horrify you.

But back to the  bathroom again.  It’s maybe 5 years since we enlisted the help of a local plumber to get the ancient cast-iron bath out.  As he chipped and broke tiling in a whole lot of places besides the bathroom, he’s not been asked back.  Getting off tiling that had been cemented to the walls was a whole other saga.  So was straightening the walls.  So was dealing with the fact that the ancient steel pipework was deeply – deeply – embedded in inches of concrete that several friends and two different sets of plumbers, all with heavy-duty drills, failed to excavate.  Continuing to use it was not an option, as it had got lined with decades of detritus, and emptying so much as a washbasin could take an hour or more.  Eventually, we had new piping constructed alongside, and had to box it in.

One way or another, as real life got in the way, there were long pauses between each phase of bathroom construction, and it’s only today we can finally declare it officially open (though in the manner of all such official openings, we’ve actually been using it for some weeks, slightly unfinished).

In among we: refurbished 4 bedrooms and the living room; made a study from a lumber room with rough-plastered walls that had never been used as living space; made a shower room from a nasty corridor housing a museum-piece toilet; refurbished a kitchen; arted up the atelier; knocked down storage huts in the yard and created a ‘relaxing outdoor living environment’, as a certain Harrogate estate agent prefers to call a garden; made the roof terrace another pleasant place to idle away an afternoon or evening; made two storage rooms from the old shop cold rooms; smartened up the garage: re-worked the downstairs washroom – all with or without the great help of friends, neighbours, professionals.

Time for a rest then?  Nope.  Games room next, we think.  Unless it’s time really to get to grips with the atelier.

20 thoughts on “The house in Laroque, 10 years on”

  1. Well done ! The house looks smashing, and I particularly like the dark wooden door in the bedroom … It has a lovely 18th century look to me … Don’t forget to enjoy a nice well-deserved rest …


  2. What a fantastic job you’ve done! I agree – the dark wooden door in the bedroom is gorgeous. I’m also in love with what you’ve done in the kitchen – those red tiles and that butcher block…Just beautiful. Hope you give yourselves a chance to rest and enjoy before you tackle the game room 🙂


    1. The Greeks have a saying apparently that when you finally finish your Big Project, you turn up your toes and die. No problem, we’ll never have nothing to do in a house like this. But best not stop. Whoever’s in charge might think WE think we’ve finished.


  3. You’ve done a brilliant job. We still have so much to do to our house, but seeing what you have achieved gives me hope. I think the before & after shots are good for inspiration, I will be referring back in years to come.
    We’re coming over in August with reinforcements so should get quite a bit done, looking forward to seeing you then.


    1. On the contrary, YOU get us re-motivated. You’ve achieved such a lot. Most of our ‘before’ shots are pre-digital. We’ll bore you with them one day. What a wreck it was!


    1. Well thank you. You’ve often been in my thoughts recently, and wonder how things are just now? This must stll be a raw and difficult time for you, But I’m sure you have many friends – and fellow-bloggers – who care about you. All good wishes.


      1. You are right, I am blessed with all of my friends both here and in this wonderful blogging community. As I now tell people how I am feeling…today is a good day – many happy memories.


  4. I knew you had done a huge amount but the ‘before’ pictures really put the work into perspective; I’m in awe at your tenacity. Keep up the good work! I hope to see the progress one day.


  5. Andrew really enjoyed this post! The museum loo got a “I remember those!” He wants to know what the secondary cylinder is above the hot water tank in the lumber room. He also loved what you’d done with all the woodwork (as do I – that bedroom floor is stunning). There was a slight whinge as there wasn’t a ‘before’ on the sitting room fireplace 😉 And he liked the diamond bond tiling on the bathroom wall. Me? I think you’ve done a terrific job, an amazing transformation, and photographing interiors is hideously difficult. You may notice I rarely do whole rooms, I cheat with detail shots. Oh! I love the chair in the study. I hope we can see more in the future -now go put your feet up.


    1. Aaagh! I just wrote a long reply and it got lost. Let’s start again. The cylinder? It’s just a bog-standard French hot-water cylinder, which in our case operates off peak – in the small hours and at lunch time. The sitting room fireplace doesn’t merit a ‘before’ as it hasn’t changed. Sadly, at some point in its past it was varnished and we simply can’t shift it, not with nasty chemicals or sanders or anything, though we wish we could. What I’d like to do now is scan in all the ‘before’ pictures which were largely taken in pre-digital days, and do a real ‘before’ and ‘after’ rogues gallery. Praise from you two is really worth having. Thank you.


  6. Good work! Congratulations! But what I prefer is your garden and your “atelier” so what do you want to get to grisps with it?
    On Saturday I went to listen a young Irish baritone in P.Chalmers’ Leran house. It was perfect and so nice in their garden and veranda!
    Bonne semaine! See you later. Noëlle


    1. Ah, Noelle, how nice to hear from you – we still haven’t had that coffee! Next job is a room you probably haven’t seen – the ex-shop, where we have a pool table and ‘baby-foot’ for younger visitors – the games room, in fact. WE went to a concert on Leran on Saturday at the same house – Baroque chamber music. It was wonderful: as was the house and garden. See you soon? I hope so!


  7. …………what courage and good will, patience and hope…..the changement looks great, love your bedroom-window as well ……excellent work, love, AnnA


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