Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Renovation project - We finally have our big original fire place!

Renovation project - We finally have our big original fire place!

Today we are going to try to build our beautiful original fire place (yes I do realise that sounds strange) if you remember when we first moved in we were really excited that we were going to find an old fire place, after all every house in France has a big granite fire place, for some reason ours had been covered up!

We could hear the hollow when we tapped on the wall, so we took off all of the plaster and cement to find an inconsistent stone wall and just a big opening, disappointing didn’t even nearly cover how we felt!!!!!

We must be the only house in France that didn’t have a big granite fire place.

But we have decided to build a fire place that would look original, we have a big old oak beam that will make the mantel piece and we will plaster up to the old stone and make the plaster cover round to where we are leaving the old door way uncovered.

The first step is to decide where we want the mantel piece to go, we want it quite high up so that the log burner can be fully seen and the exposed stone work can still be seen.

The oak beam ways a tonne and we have to keep lifting it into place, John has to use his grinder and a selection of tools to chip out enough to stone to secure the beam.We also use the new chainsaw to cut the beam to size, this is the chainsaw that we need to cut our logs for the fire for winter, this is the chainsaw that John loves, this is also the chainsaw that blew up whilst cutting the beam, you wouldn’t believe how much smoke could come out of one small power tool!

This is a dirty, difficult job but we manage, the beam in place looks fantastic, next is to build a frame for the plaster board, we have not been able to find fire board as yet, but we do know that it is available. We also have to make sure that this part of the chimney is accessible as this is where we have our air distribution system.

Once it is all in place we can see the beginnings of the fire place we had hoped to find originally, and once the plaster is on, no one will know it is new.


  1. You are not alone
    We did not find any large romantic country fireplaces in our hovel either
    I was quite sure that I had the only old house in France without one!

    Gill ( Blog-sur-Aude)

    1. Oh No, at least we are not alone.
      Hopefully when we have finished the fireplace should look like an original one :)

  2. Our French house has been so knocked about and much that was original has "walked" so we are resigned now to putting back into it what we believe reflects the true spirit of the place - if it doesn't work, we try something else.
    At the end of the day, this is your French dream and you will be living there so, if it makes you happy and feels right to you- do it!
    I do have a problem with a partner who likes to see things looking neat, crisp and new.. I am trying to tutor him in French shabby chic, with only intermittent success!

    1. Ha ha ha I know the feeling, but John is getting better, I don't want the house to look new, and luckily the new bits are now looking old or just compliment the old, good luck with your partner :)