Category Archives: Home
When I passed by this little entrance the other day in Monpazier, the red-checked cloth reminded me of family picnics when I was a kid. My Mom would put together a real picnic basket with a scrumptious lunch when we’d leave the city for the day, heading to the countryside or to Jones Beach in the summer. The red-checked picnic cloth even came out inside our apartment when plans for weekend picnics were dashed by rainy days : Mom would make us a real “outdoor” picnic right in the middle of our living room floor! I know her creativity has definitely rubbed off on me : )
Back in 2006 we sent a container down from France with 90% of our belongings which were going to furnish the home and boutique hotel we built in La Somone (south of Dakar), where we planned to live at least 8 months of the year.
I remember packing everything up into boxes (it was not the first time), thinking how excited I was to start this new stage of our lives. However when all those boxes I had so carefully put together joined the French antiques in the container parked in front of our house, I got all choked up and teary-eyed. I took photos of the container driving away to meet the ship which three weeks later would arrive in Dakar harbor. It felt to me perhaps like sending a child off to school for the first time (but different obviously!); there was my “life” being carted away towards uncertainty.
Since that time, we sold the property up north and bought a plot on the beach in the Casamance. We are still in the process of construction, but all of our belongings have been shipped down here and now makes our little house into our “home”. Unfortunately we do not want to live here year-round, so slowly we are bringing back to France what we can carry: last time it was the antique kilims and our photo albums. This time it is personal collections of little “objets” which I find dear (antique fishing lure collection, wood hat forms, crystal wine glasses from my grandparents). I can only pack up to 30 kilos (66 lbs) and so have to make choices of what can go this time, and what stays behind….
On a lighter note, I thought I’d share with you a few images of the interiors. It’s a mix of French, Spanish and Portuguese furniture, accessorized with the “objets” collected from all over the world.
PS – This post is dedicated to my good friend Cassondra : a fellow maker of “homes”.
The Guest House is which we live, while the “main” house is being finished. Our view over the gardens at sunset.
Another French table with our stereo (can’t believe it still works!), little paintings, kilims. A scene from outside the other day when I was going thru all the boxes we had in storage. Found four dead rats. Yum!
Yes, I am still here – just sitting in limbo as France Telecom takes its sweet old time to connect a phone line to our new “home”. Right now I am posting this from inside my car which is parked outside of a hotel in a Dordogne tourist village. Their WiFi signal is working! Vive La France!
So hopefully my fine friends, sometime this week we’ll be hooked up to the world again. In the meanwhile I am unpacking boxes of stuff which has been in storage since 2006. As a friend recently wrote to me “it’s like Christmas!”. I’m getting a real kick out of seeing my crystal wine glass collection and some other funny stuff.
The house is unfurnished (a first for us in a long while), so we took out what we had in storage (more remains in the “cemetery”). We are living with four French farm tables (one of which had its leg slightly amputated and modified into a large coffee table), a “vaissellier” (to hold dishes), and two “billots” (butcher blocks), both are adorned with metal cow heads. Our new LED TV sits proudly upon the larger “billot” (maybe I’ll take a snap shot and post it here for fun!).
Stay tuned and A bientot!
I thought I’d share with you our Christmas decorations for this year: a branch from the woods, small eucalyptus branches tied on tediously carefully, all spray-painted silver. White fairy lights bring it to life as it seems magically suspended in the once-upon-a-time fire place.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!
Soaring across the great blue, touching wings with golden rays, leaving “home” again.
Doesn’t this just look too cute? And it’s only 12km from Sarlat. And it’s all alone (no neighbors). There is a hectare of land around it, and a nice enough view. What wrong with it? There is no toilet. No electrics. Basically you have the gut the place and start from scratch. And the price to boot. The owner would not even consider discussing the faintest possibility of lowering the price…so we left him with the house and the keys. Au revoir!
Please don’t get too excited by the chateau photo! It already has an owner and someone to mop all those floors, chase the dust-bunnies in the numerous stairwells and to clean the many, many windows! However, you can visit it, it’s the Chateau de Fenelon. By the way, that gorgeous barn in the middle right can be rented for parties. I just need to find a band. And a couple of guests – wanna come?
It was the little farm house shown in the top two images and the middle one left that we visited. It dates back to the time of the chateau, and in fact the owner who died last year (she was 99), was one of the cooks in the chateau, while her husband worked as a gardener. The house requires total renovation, but it can be yours for 180K euros! Make an offer – we passed.
Thumbs down. Next?
We have another visit this afternoon…will keep you posted!
I never seem to tire of old houses: be they crumbling vestiges of earlier days or if they’ve been carefully resurrected. To me, these stone structures are not dead, they breathe of life past and present.
On Saturday our friend L. drove from Bordeaux to visit a property nearby for sale. It has an incredible barn, a long large house and several out-buildings. All are constructed from the beautiful Perigord yellow stone.
These light grey shutters adorn a for-now closed window on an exterior building. Please note the “lauze” roof (pronounced like “hose” but with an “l”). Lauze are solid stones and lay one upon the other horizontally, like very close steps vs. vertically overlapping as with shingles. The wood structure underneath is also designed in a specific way to support the incredible amount of weight from the stones. You can see an interesting explanation here (it’s in French, but the illustrations are clear).
I promised I’d start sharing with you pics from our house hunt – so here’s the first one!
Obviously it’s a very large barn, with a “pigeonnier” (pigeon house). Nice volume but the location was not so great as there was another house very close to it. Also all the land which “belonged” to the house was on the opposite side to the road and was rented out to a farmer (difficult to cancel contracts….).
So this gets a thumbs down. Next?