21 November 2015



Progress is good chez nous.  After four full weeks of steady work the living room is coming on a treat. 

(We have also been working on the utility room at the other end of the house at the same time. More about that later.)

The walls, ceiling and radiators are all painted, minimum two coats and three on the ceiling.  We have started to move furniture back into place so that we can be relatively comfortable, at least for watching a bit of TV in the evenings, as we rest our weary backs and aching arms, wrists and knees.  The last time I did this much decorating in one go I was twenty years younger and my poor old limbs do not take so well to teetering on the top of a step ladder wielding a paint brush as they did then.


The weather has been very mild until this weekend and we have hardly had the need to use our new wood burners but they work well and have been keeping us nice and toasty in the evenings.


We have removed the pile of dust covered twigs from inside the old bread oven and cleaned the space out, removing inches of dust and old mouse droppings.  The only way to do this was for Nick to climb inside with a dustpan and brush, a filthy job.  But now it’s done and for the time being a few of our old pots are displayed there, until we find something else.


We’re playing a “beat the clock” game now, working as fast as our backs will allow, to get the living room finished so that we can rescue the rest of our furniture from the barn before the weather gets too cold and damp.  It has been mild and fine for most of the last four weeks, perfect for getting the paint on the walls evenly in the good light and for getting it dry.

However, at the last hurdle we have reached a stumbling block.  The old tomettes on the floor in the dining end of the living room.


We loved them when we viewed the house before we bought it and we still love them a lot, but what to do with them now is a puzzle.  Without a doubt, the more people you ask the same question, the more different answers you will get and, having asked several people what they did with their old tomettes we are now quite flummoxed.

We were all set to treat them with a mixture of linseed oil and turpentine as per the advice of three people who have tomettes, when others threw up their hands in horror, declaring it was not the way to go.  It’s a traditional method but other products are available now and much better.


Desperate to get the job done before the weather turned, we trekked down to the supplier recommended by a friend whose advice we respect only to find the place closed “exceptionellment” on Friday afternoon.  As the wind blew and the rain fell horizontally our spirits dropped.  Passing this field of miserable looking cranes leaning into the wind, (maybe they were blissfully happy, how can you tell) we headed towards the nearest DIY store to explore another friend’s advice and experience of products.

Faced with a confusing array of cans and bottles we came away empty handed and feeling less confident.  Maybe one option was to leave the floor just as it is.

Our tomettes are not newly made reproduction tiles but most likely came from the upstairs floor when the house was first renovated.  We seem to remember the previous owners saying something about that and wish we’d paid more attention.  It’s also likely that they could be a hundred years old or more and have never been waxed or treated with sophisticated products.  The most likely thing is that they were given the traditional old linseed oil and turpentine treatment from time to time.


This morning we are glad to see the back of the wind and rain and to find glorious sunshine and blue skies.  But the mild temperatures seem to have finally gone and it’s decidedly chilly.

We’re off to explore another option suggested by another friend who laid and treated reclaimed old tomettes.  If we can’t suss that one out our fall back is the DIY store for the products we found confusing yesterday but think we now understand after much internet research and a bottle of wine.

One way or another, I’m having my furniture back in the house by the end of next week!

Bon weekend!!


  1. Bon courage. Longer email when we get back from our weekend away xx

  2. Maybe you'll do a before/after set of photos one day (when you get it all put back together)? You've put an awful lot of work into it!

  3. Walt, I definitely feel a before and after post is on the cards!

  4. I think if I was a crane, I'd be pretty miserable in that weather!! xx

  5. If those tomettes came from inside a grenier...
    it is more than likely they'd never been treated...
    so they may only have had whatever the previous used on them...
    which given their attitude toward such things...
    may well have been naught but a scrub...
    or the use of one of those proprietry tile sealants that you can get from Wickes and the like... a sort of milky-white substance that you put on and let dry.
    We've got a Hoover floor-scrubber here...
    if you want to try a patch with some soapy water?

  6. despite the hassles this sounds exciting.

  7. Sounds like you are doing well but there is always some hold up!! The cold weather really has arrived now it seems.
    We have been looking around - it is 10 years since we bought here and there are a number of jobs that need redoing again, restorations never really seems to end but it does slow up. Good luck Diane

  8. The bread oven is really quite lovely, isn't it? And those floors look good to me as they are but they should come up a treat with a coating. It's looking lovely and I'm sure you are both ready for it to be finished!

  9. You are doing well. I need to look into wood burners for next winter! Cheers from CArole's Chatter