April 18, 2014

BODGE CITY

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.

bodge city bodge city2

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.

 bodge city3 bodge city4

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.

bodge city5

The problem with it was that it had been horribly bodged, everywhere.

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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.

bodge city7

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 !!

24 comments:

  1. Hello Jean:

    House hunting, which should be a pleasure, usually ends as some kind of a nightmare or, at best, exceedingly tedious and very time consuming. But the right thing will emerge, but it may yet take longer than you would like.

    Meanwhile, we wish you a joyful and peaceful Eastertide.

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    1. Happy Easter to you too, Jane and Lance.
      It's nice to see you back!

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  2. Jean - come and look in Australia - well maybe not if France is your spiriyual home.
    Have you ever been to Australia?

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    1. Leon, I've never been to Australia, it's on my bucket list.

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  3. Welcome to the real world... Of the 50 plus houses we viewed many were as you describe. They were very nice but you would have needed a wealthy banker behind you to raise the quality and maintain it in that condition as well as heating it in the winter. I used to survey buildings for a living so if you need another pair of eyes when you find what you want let me know!!!

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    1. Colin, thanks for the offer, we might just take you up on it!

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  4. "Bodge" becomes "botch" in Am. Eng. -- they botched the renovations. The main thing is to find a place with potential charm and renovations that are not too time- and money-consuming. Are you willing to widen your search area?

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    1. Ken, at the moment we are looking in an area from Loches to the north as far as Angles to the south, that kind of circle.
      But really it all depends on the house itself, we will look at anything, anywhere.

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  5. Even in the Orne department? If so, I'll keep an eye out for houses for you when we're near Mortagne-au-Perche in May and June. The Perche is a beautiful area. I don't know how prices compare to the Loches area. I just know they are all too expensive for us!

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  6. bodger is someone who makes bentwood chairs. Not many people know that... P.

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  7. There is a house with your name on it...somewhere!

    Perhaps when everything else is sorted you'll enjoy the house hunt more.

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  8. Sorry you have been having such a horrid time in your house-hunting. It seems there have been quite a few places with real potential, and real problems. Sigh!

    But I'm sure there is a good place for you; just be patient.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

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  9. Jean, you find either an old house with problems and quirks, or a new house in top condition, like the one you have found recently in England. I guess that's the reality. And I think that's why younger French people are attracted to new houses. The Brits buy the "charming" old places. And some Americans.

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    1. Ken, we think we would be happy with a house that needs some work as long as the price is right.
      We can't go spending all of our budget on somewhere that needs as much again spending on it to make it a real home.
      We are thrilled with our purchase in the UK. The house is 70years old but with a brand new interior, including the kitchen, the plumbing, the electrics, the decorating.....everything!
      We are so lucky to have found it and are quite looking forward to moving in.

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  10. Sadly there are a lot of houses for sale which have been bodged, either partially or completely, yet the owners have completely unrealistic ideas of their value. Is the area you're looking in particularly expensive or desirable, that the prices being asked are so high? Keep your spirits up: there's a house out there just waiting for you to find it.

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    1. Perpetua, the area is not at all expensive, you still get lots of property for your money, but it's a case of "never mind the quality, feel the width"!

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  11. Your search sounds frustrating, but I'm sure there is perfect house just waiting to be discovered by you. Bonne chance.

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  12. House hunting in France is the most frustrating thing ever. I lost count how many we saw, and apart from the one we eventually bought (and one other 60's house which was not really old enough) we saw complete rubbish that would have cost an absolute fortune to do anything with. You will find the right place, it will happen.

    Other bloggers who we have got to know quite well have been searching for ages for the right place. They have at last found it and will be signing all the papers next month. We are looking forward to seeing what they have now bought. They wanted in our area but have ended up about an hour North of us.

    Meanwhile you at least have a home here which makes life considerably easier than finding accommodation each time you come over.

    Bonne chance. D & N

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  13. It's hard for me to believe that it took us just four days to find our French house, where we've lived for 11 years now.

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    1. Ken, I think a lot has to do with luck but also with your agent understanding what you really want.
      The system of finding houses in France is so secretive that it's possible to waste a lot of time looking at totally unsuitable properties. Sometimes I think it's because although the agents know it's not at all what you want they will take you there anyway, on the chance that you might just fall in love with a total wreck in an awful position that needs a fortune spending on it !!

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  14. There are probably language issues here. Unfortunately... The agents make their living by selling whatever they can to whoever they can.

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  15. So sorry this is not as easy as hoped. Like last time, I was so excited at first glimpse. Wish it hadn't been so disappointing for you. Hope "the" house appears soon!

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  16. Hi Jean,
    I've enjoyed reading your blog over the past couple of years. I'm a little confused about your house hunt.
    Didn't you buy a holiday house in Le Grand-Pressigny a few years ago? Are you moving from that house?
    Thanks for the clarification and best of luck in your search!
    Dean

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    1. Hi Dean, the idea is that we're downsizing in the UK and upsizing in France to spend more time in France.
      The UK side of things is almost done.
      The holiday house in Le Grand-Pressigny is lovely and perfect for holidays but we're looking for something bigger for when we spend more time there.

      I hope that explains everything!

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