We arrived back in France for the last week of March to magnificent spring weather. The journey down through France, had, for the first time in years (or so it seems) been relatively straightforward. With a trailer, top box, dog, cat and kitchen sink we decided to do it all in one go and get it over with rather than have an overnight stop. It took thirteen hours door-to-door and we arrived tired but ecstatic to be back in France and out of Brexit Britain at last. Hugo had travelled really well and Daisy not too badly, only becoming fed up and vociferous for the last hour or so. We were all thrilled to be back.
Within days we had started another project.
This picture shows the guest bedroom side of the house upstairs, taken when we looked round the house in 2014. Sadly I can't find any more recent similar photos but it gives you the idea of the layout. From the landing you step through a door into a middle room, which we have called the "room with no name" and use as an office or study. You walk through this room to the guest bedroom via an opening, not a door.
We have always loved this room arrangement but the two rooms are classed as bedrooms, even though they are not separated by a door. However, when we have had visitors that need separate bedrooms, it has presented a problem. We have had to move beds around and erect screens and curtains so that the person in the study has some kind of privacy but it was not ideal. So we decided to bite the bullet and get on with some alterations as soon as we landed, to get them done, out of the way, finished off and ready for this year's visitors.
We emptied most of the furniture and stuff out of both rooms ready for the work to begin. Essentially the middle room/study/room with no name is being cut in half with a wall along the middle, dividing it lengthways. There will be a new door into the front half of this room which then becomes a separate single bedroom at the front of the house. This leaves a space or corridor which is amply big enough to continue using as a study. The opening into the original guest bedroom has been made smaller and moved over a bit to have a door which can close this room off properly from the study part. That will then give us a new single bedroom at the front of the house, a walk through study at the back of the house and the original double bedroom room at the end. Much more practical.
After just one week work is progressing well. The walls are up, doors and new lights fitted already. It will take some time to be completely finished and of course there will be some painting to do. We're very pleased with the result.
Well, kind of. When we were house hunting (five years ago already) we viewed numerous houses that had had the upstairs carved up into multiple small and poky bedrooms, especially the ones that were used as holiday homes. One of the things we really loved about this house was the spaciousness of the layout upstairs, impractical as it was. So we feel sad that we've lost that effect but it will make a huge difference when we have guests and will be a lot less work for us. Putting clean bedding on a bed is much easier than shifting and rearranging furniture and beds.
At the back of our minds is that it might just also make a difference if we need to sell up. What the future holds in terms of whether or not we can afford to keep the house is still a complete unknown. We are holding our own at the moment but it's not entirely unlikely that we could end up putting it on the market at the same time that hundreds of other similar houses come up for sale. Maybe having three proper bedrooms instead of the funny arrangement there was before might just make it more attractive to a buyer. Who knows.