The Renovation - The Story So Far...
Francie is a Montessori-trained teacher and started own her interior design business on our return from Paris in 1978. It all started in one small room and grew from there www.franciereadmaninteriors.com
Francie’s family had owned a holiday house in Aldeburgh since the early 1900s that was finally sold after the tribe of owners grew too numerous. We thought about re-establishing the idea but, this time in France where it is mostly warmer for old bones.
Apart from annual skiing trips, our main holidays had previously been spent in the highlands of Glen Lyon in Perthshire. There was always a special magic in the remoteness, power and beauty of the hills and that of itself is a powerful recharger of the batteries. Le Pastoureau lies in an area with no pollution, stunning views, a peaceful valley and the majesty of the Pyrenees at hand. It imbues the same magic.
We had spent a warm but disappointing week in the November sun traipsing round some 14 possible, 5-bed houses in the Gers, all of which appeared good value but, in each case, there was a good reason why not. On our penultimate night we stayed with Francie’s cousin who pointed us to a local agency in Castera-Verduzan run by two Brit ladies. They had nothing that fitted but insisted that we see an old 4-bedroom farmhouse that was exceptional.
Francie got out of the car, took one look and said, “This is it!”
And we have indeed landed on our feet.
The girls also found us an ingenious architect (a Brit) with 20 years of experience in the Gers. Tam has not only handled all the planning applications but has a comprehensive list of wonderful artisans to cover all aspects of renovation. Now, we also have an English chief d’Equipe, a regular gardener who knows all about trees and a lovely, smiley daily. Together, they manage every aspect of the house when we are in UK – which is be most of the time.
Below are a chronological series of photos of the most important parts of the renovation so far.