We left the unfinished drop dead gorgeous barn conversion house behind us and followed Antony to another little hamlet only a few kilometres away.
Some horse riders waved to us as we made our way between the old houses and we stopped at the end of the lane.
The house we had come to view was actually two old cottages knocked through into one house. This turned it into a substantial sized property and it also had a nice garden with open views at the back.
The entrance hall was in the smaller cottage and was charming. In fact the house was stuffed with lovely old and original features, such as an open fire, a bread oven and lovely beams.
The problem with it was that it had been horribly bodged, everywhere.
All the modernisation that had been done to it over the decades was in a cheap DIY fashion. There were cheap doors, flimsy staircases, wobbly lino and really bad wrinkly wallpaper over everything. The bathroom and kitchen were tired and old fashioned rather than quaint, and needed replacing.
Alterations had been made to put as many bedrooms in as possible and in some rooms there were just mattresses on the floor. This was a holiday home for a family who obviously descended en masse each summer for a few weeks.
It reminded us very much of the little house we already have. Masses of old cast off furniture and as many beds as you could possibly fit in to accommodate a large family gathering. Everything done in the cheapest possible way.
Except that this was on a much larger scale than what we had to tackle in Le Grand-Pressigny. The owners were asking a lot of money for their house and it would cost a huge amount to undo all the bodging and turn it into a lovely home.
The other reason that we didn’t buy it is that it was in a small hamlet where the houses were very close together, quite hemmed in, and all but one of them were holiday homes. When we were looking for a house last time we probably wouldn’t have understood exactly what that means. With our experience we realise that the place would have been spookily deserted for probably ten months of the year, then come July and August scores of people would descend on the hamlet as it became the venue for a huge annual party. Not for us.
Next we looked at two farm houses. Both had a degree of quality restoration and both had a lot of bodging. They also had a huge amount of land and outbuildings – barns, pig sheds, cow sheds, hangers and even spare houses in the yard to do up.
We rapidly came to the conclusion that we are doing this wrong again. We assumed that by spending more money than last time (more than twice as much) we would get a better house. It seems that in fact for the extra money you seem to get more unfinished projects, a lot of land, too many unwanted outbuildings, a lot more work than we want to do and an awful lot of extra money needing to be spent.
What we were hoping for was a nicely renovated house, a barn or garage, a shed or outbuilding for our stuff and a nice sized garden. At this rate it could be a long time before we find it !!