A Little Renovation in the Guest House


Do you ever start things and then wonder why you started? One job leads to another and so on and so forth and before you know it, you’re up against the wall, with a timeframe that seems almost impossible and you really wish there were at least 48 hours in every days and that’s just the daylight hours!

Over the winter we started slowly doing the regular redecorating jobs in the gîte. Although we have guests staying on and off all winter, it is not as busy as the summer and in between visitors when the cottage is empty we get on with all the jobs that need doing. Normally straight forward things like repainting, always a necessary job.



This year I decided we really had to tackle those tiles in the kitchen. You may remember I posted about them before. I asked everyone’s opinion because the red were fine but just not my personal taste. We ummed and erred and we read all of your comments, and then we took the plunge. The red tiles were to be no more.


Everything has to be considered carefully because we want to keep the original features. We love the ancient marble we found in the barn when we moved here and have used as a counter top. But such things have to work with modern necessities, there has to be a complete juxtaposition between old and new.


But like most things, the work didn’t end there. I then decided that a total repaint of the kitchen cabinets was necessary. A slightly lighter feel. I want the gîte to always feel serene and calm when people walk in. I want everyone to immediately relax and above all it is vital to us that anyone who stays has a wonderful time.

So with lots of colour charts to hand, (again I posted about this), we decided on a Farrow and Ball eggshell paint called Cromarty.

Then I thought it would be rather nice to add wooden panelling along the wall under the window. It is so incredibly helpful to have a very handy, talented husband.


So all was well you may think. Well yes and no. The kitchen went according to plan, and we love it.


But then there was the very, apparently, straight forward job of replacing the bathroom sink taps for new ones. I found a new pair with a vintage look online, ordered them and they were here within a couple of days. Because trust me nowhere around here sells taps that look like this anymore! Roddy estimated it would be a quick hour long job. What ensued was a three day battle with pipes, many many trips back and forth to the local plumbers merchant and a lot of skin lost from the top of Roddy’s head as he struggled away under the sink with ancient pipework that had absolutely no wish to be upgraded. We should have known, it was rather like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Nothing, bar nothing, is ever simple when working with old houses!


At the same time I had this brilliant but utterly mad idea that I would reupholster a vintage chair and the phone table/seat. I purchased a perfect linen fabric and set to work. But everything took a great deal longer than I imagined, doesn’t it always! I worked through dinner, night after night, listening to some fascinating talks on the radio that I have to admit had me intrigued and amused at the same time and made for great company.


I also tackled the mirror over the fireplace in the sitting room. You see I really do listen to you. The gold was a little too bling for a rustic cottage. Chalk paint? Great idea but impossible to buy locally! However, there was nothing to stop me from making my own. I think the end result is far more fitting. There was plenty of help from small hands with the masking tape, the finishing wax and the cleaning. This is a family gîte that we all love and I am so proud that our children all mix in to help.


There were a whole host of other jobs but they seemed small by comparison. When I get a moment I shall take a lot more photos of everywhere else, but time was running out, our guests were due and photographing was not my prime concern!




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