Posted in Blog, HOUSE & GARDEN, The Garden

Sue’s Secret Garden – a Fairy Heaven

Spent a delightful Sunday afternoon over at a friend’s place recently. Sue and her partner Alex have been living here in this part of South West France for about the same length of time as us, although we’ve only just got to know each other when Sue bought some of her paintings to us for framing prior to an exhibition. Their home is enchanting — they have an unrestored large stone farmhouse in the Aveyron with outbuildings and a separate pigeonnier in which they live. Although they’ve improved the property greatly, and created a lovely garden with lots of informal planting, they have neither the stamina nor the finance to continue with the larger building. They’re leaving that to the next owners!  Fancy a challenge?

Long ago, the roof fell in on an adjoining barn and this is now a lovely private hidden space — their secret garden — for contemplation and quiet reflection.

Posted in Blog, HOUSE & GARDEN, Pool Project, The Garden

Pool Project part 1 — hole, sketch, and a little bit of philosophy.

Patrick – Friend, Neighbour, Electrician, Electronic Engineer, Guru……..called in yesterday to disconnect the 3-Phase circuit breaker at the main supply box (le tableau) — no longer needed now that the crane was down and away. That only took 5 minutes so then I asked him about the electrics for our new pool and this is what he left me with.

Patrick pool schema

The ONE thing that I have learnt over the 20 odd years of house improvement and renovation is this.  

Every minute spent thinking, researching and planning before starting the work is worth a year’s peace of mind after the job’s finished”.

Of course, we’re not professionals, and we won’t get everything 100% perfect — but don’t let that put you off. I’m often asked how we’ve got the courage, the confidence, even the stamina to do all this — a total remake of an old stone house. I suppose for me, it’s a challenge that I never tire of — creating something worth having out of something that’s been neglected and left fallow. And when you’re motivated and truly involved in any project, you’ll get results in the end. Patience, steady application, — Oh, and keep fit and healthy. Ask advice at every opportunity and don’t take risks trying stuff that could be really dangerous — for instance, I do 95% of all the new electrical work BUT I always get Patrick around periodically to finally connect a section to the “tableau” and to verify that everything is kosher.

So, the next stage for me, whilst Ed the diggerman is completing the excavation, will be to prepare a drawing/plan of the pool and terrace areas with all the “bits” in place — pool, pump-house, rainwater tank, and lighting circuits — so that all the pipework and electrical cabling is in the correct place and can be “buried” and lost under the future landscaping.

Posted in Blog, OUT & ABOUT

Vallée des Moulins —St.Michel-de-Vax

Valley des MoulinsA Study in Green,  A Walk on the Wild Side,  A Glimpse of the Past — Call it what you will — this little valley just 5 minutes from us here at Fabre is a little gem. It’s part of a wonderful leisurely walk of about 2 to 3 hours, ideal in the heat of summer due to lots of shady trees, which takes in four former water mills, now decayed and derelict though still retaining an eerie silence. The stream carries little water now but you can still see the remains of the water races and sluice gates. It wouldn’t have been that many decades ago when these mills were still in use. Local paysan and smallholders would bring their grain here for milling, paying a portion of their grain or flour for the service. This landscape has remained unchanged for centuries—my old Forester friend from Scotland was ecstatic one holiday seeing all the indicator species for ancient woodland. As I say, it’s a gem and not to be missed when you’re in the area.

Planet Earth : 44 ° 06′ 03,12″ N.  –  1° 48′ 57,78″ E.   –   Elev. 268 m.waterfall


Posted in Blog, Framed Images, Inspirations, Let's Be Creative!, Wall Displays

Shabby White Frames and Vintage Lithographs – the Perfect Combination

Well creative people – what did you do with your shabby chic up-cycled frames that I hope you made after following my three part blog post last year? My frames were hanging about the workshop for months waitng patiently for me to find the right images. AT LAST – I found the perfect solution!

The images are from a 19th century book of  lithographs. The book was too damaged to keep as a whole, and I bought it with wall art in mind – the book may be damaged, but the images were hiding there ready to see the light of day.

My plan is to a grouping of these shabby white frames and their lithographs ready for a wall hanging. What a difference to see these bits of Victoriana in nice light pale frames, such a difference to the thin black narrow frames that you normally see these black and white images in. Up-cycling is the name of the game in today’s modern interior decor.

Here are a few more of my Shabby Chic DIY Frames that have received the same treatment. Now, Which wall to use?