Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Sunday April 9 - A Cottage in the Country

Les Celliers - Vauchrétien
We're the red dot, 3.5 hours from Paris
We have once more found a charming place to live while in France. We used AirBNB this time to locate a lovely cottage in the country in the western Loire valley.

Les Celliers is a 3-bedroom cottage in the countryside. We are surrounded by farmland and vineyards and it's ever so peaceful here. (Of course, the stunningly bright and warm weather helps our first impressions of this place.)

our neighbors raise chickens and sell fresh eggs
The house across the road raises chickens and we're told we can buy fresh eggs from this family.

Our little place started as 2 houses about 200 years ago according to documents the owners have been able to find. Nathalie, the owner, has kindly allowed me to share these before and after photos of our "gîte rural".

Until 2002 when Nathalie bought the property, our cottage was 2 separate buildings. At first homes for two families, by 1902 the buildings were abandoned as homes and used for farm buildings. A neighborhood vintner stored a wine press and barrels of wine in these two buildings. However, for many years the barrels just sat in these farm out-buildings and turned to vinegar. (What a waste!)

And the buildings were literally falling down. (See photo of general view before restoration.) (And please forgive the quality of these photos, they are photographs of photographs, so there's a bit of glare.) So the first order of business for Nathalie was to empty out the wine barrels and dispose (safely) of the vinegar.

Because the buildings are historical, plans had to be approved before making any changes to the buildings.  They included joining the two buildings by an extension that included a kitchen and bath. The second story had fallen into the house. Windows and doors had to be built individually as each was a different size. The renovation took 3 years of work.
view after the extension was built and second story added back

Both the inside and the outside were restored as faithfully as possible and it can be seen in the details of old beams and stone fireplaces. But the inside, while appearing old, has all the modern conveniences plenty of lighting, a functional kitchen, good beds and hot showers.

The smaller of the two houses had a lower floor of just 5 1/2 feet. and just one room with an attic above. This is what was left of the fireplace.
The blue bedroom - attic floor removed, skylights and cathedral ceiling and restored fireplace 

The larger house had 2 rooms - a bedroom and a living/cooking room with a large fireplace. The roof had collapsed over this part of the building. 
Walls are 16 " thick as seen from the windowsills

Living room with restored fireplace

The orange bedroom had the wine press inside.
The wine press now sits in the garden.

The orange bedroom now has a bathroom left of the bed.

New construction was added to join the two houses and included the kitchen, bathroom and shower room for the blue bedroom, storage room with washer/dryer off the kitchen, and new entrance with hallway connecting the two buildings.
Kitchen with American-style equipment

Bath vanity made of reclaimed wood from the house.
Outside is a lovely and quite private picnic area with wrought iron table and chairs, umbrella and charcoal barbecue grill. We are surrounded by beautiful flowers and the promise of roses in future weeks. Right now the purple wisteria is blooming over the kerria bushes with small yellow flowers. Pots of ranunculus sit outside each door welcoming you into the house. 


wisteria on kerria bushes hides our table and chairs
Our car just narrowly fits through this lovely gate

our garden looking toward the blue bedroom and new entrance

Where the aperos and many dinners happen

No comments:

Post a Comment