WHEN renovating a home in France it is always best to start by getting a professional survey of the property.
This will give you a clearer idea of what work needs to be done to the property and should stop any nasty surprises later on in the project.
It is important to try and keep your property as true to the surroundings as possible, there is nothing worse than a Mediterranean themed building in the middle of Brittany.
The best way to keep the property looking as local and authentically French as possible it is a good idea to use as many of the property’s existing assets as possible.
When items such as beams, alcoves, fireplaces etc, are cleaned down or restored it immediately gives a home a real rustic French look.
When painting your French home think earthy, terracotta shades for a true rural feel. Creamy stucco walls in old buildings accented by blues and yellows are a good French palette. Olive or sage greens are perfectly suited for a French country bedroom and muted colours work wonderfully in living areas.
If the property has beams, these should be kept bare and cleaned down to add some real French charm. It’s a mistake to stain or varnish oak beams as they look after themselves, getting better with age.
Stains or varnishes tend to crack over time as the wood naturally moves with the changing temperature of the building. If you like the look of the grain, instead of a varnish you could brush linseed oil on. This will take a few coats to work, depending on how dry the wood is, but enhances the wood better than varnish.
As the French do not seem to use gloss finishes, it is sometimes difficult to source an exterior matt finish product for window and shutter woodwork that will last some of the extreme weather found in France.
In order to rectify this problem, try adding a matting agent into the exterior gloss paint. Before painting, remove any loose or flaking paint then just apply the appropriate coats, this will add to the rustic, French charm of your property and still be sound and livable. If surfaces are compatible, use an all weather, breathable masonry paint for the exterior.
In order to buy some really unique pieces for your home, try shopping at the local French markets. Not only is this a cheaper way to furnish your home but it also adds a truly unique and French look to the property.
It is so easy to get caught up with images of the ‘dream’ property but it is important to keep to a realistic design. Imagine the property in all seasons and plan for this, for example if you would like a terrace make sure it is put where it will receive the most sunlight in the evenings and the winter.
About the author
Hurding & Ferri is a decorating company that brings a modern and unique twist to the painting and decorating business, delivering optimum design solutions to meet the needs of its clients.
Website: www.hurdingandferri.co.uk, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +44 (0)208 653 1791
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