There Is Nothing Better than A Lovely Safe Home

Especially when you can just walk in and not worry about renovating and you can do so right now 

Featured Pic the valley from the castle

 

In those troubled Times, there is nothing better than the security of a home you feel well in , is well situated , close to amenities but not trouble hotspots , has the ability to shelter you and your family whilst sitting in a wonderful. unspoilt environment .

And I get it, you want to move fast to avoid all the Brexit headaches !
So here is our home for sale in the South of  France

3+ bedrooms 1 bathroom 2 toilets, lounge, American kitchen, Large loft area ready to turn into your office or video room , Inner garden courtyard 2 storey grange large enough to store 3 motorbikes deep freezes and tool working top , sunny terrace with BBQ , vegetable garden and garden shed. Access via 2 roads endless mountain treks of all levels straight out of the door.. 

Completely renovated, available to move in immediately – all you need is bring your suitcase ! 

Nestled in a small valley of the Pyrenees close to the tiny State of Andorra ( gaz at around 1 euro anyone ?) teaming with history and inhabited since prehistorical  times, the house looks deceptively small .. but that is before you push the entrance door, when we first did .. we were amazed at how spacious it was – as long as a lot of work went into it to break old fashioned, dark walls and clears up the huge cupboards wall to ceiling which ate most of the rooms..

Luckily you won’t have to because we spent the last 3 years renovating this ol’shop in a tiny vibrant village in the high part of the Ariege in France.

Around 300 people a tight knit community, a village school ! Yes it still exists ! Even its own post office a few doors away bakers, local produce grocery shop with the low humming of the river running just behind the village cascading from the 1540 m col with the best restaurant in the area overlooking an absolutely glorious open range.. but I m getting ahead of myself here and I haven’t even mentioned the numerous village activities and fetes punctuating the life here from spring to fall..

So we entered the house and were really surprised at how much it had to offer, Granted it needed a lot of work to bring out its features, but it was already highly original in its outlay which we did little about because it already had a great feel to it.

The house kitchen as it looked then    next what it looks like now

Instead of the dark kitchen, in my mind I was seeing a large American kitchen with a high table top and where the family could sit around close to the stove and essentials. We planned a dining area in the lounge too but to be honest we never used it preferring the cosiness of the new kitchen and , in the summer BBQ ing on the sun drenched terrace . Fun BTW because you can go and pick your legs win the garden and it moves straight from the garden to you plate via a quick wash in the sink and if needed a little cooking .

So the first thing we did was to tear down all those nooks and crannies and replace it with a wide open space which immediately doubled the size of the kitchen. We moved windows, redesigned all the plumbing , played musical chairs with the radiators added all the modern comforts such as big American double fridge, 5 plates cooker , dishwasher and plenty, plenty of drawers and cupboards. Dunno about you, but I love having space in the kitchen to put everything away.

video of the kitchen as it looks like today 

Then I had this brain flash.. I wanted to use one of the rooms in the inner courtyard to create a stand alone wash room – yes he house has 3 other various storage rooms in the inner courtyard – more on this later  .. except it had no drainage to the town system so .. we had to tear all through the house to simply create a proper drainage and add spare pipes to run electrics to the board in the kitchen – So now you can not only have access to water and drainage and electricity to the utility room but also to the grange when you get to fix perhaps an extra granny / friends flat there

Lounge with wood burner

The room had originally (like the rooms above) a massive, pretty useless enormous fire place eating up a third of the space
Once it came down ( as the last part of this antique contraption) lots of space appeared , but the room was still very dark, not least because it was sporting the dark wooden ceilings the previous owners were obviously very fond off, so much so that we discovered not on but 2 of those narrow wooden slates ceilings – Once removed we gained 30 cm in height and we replaced them with clean white painted fireproof plaster boards – Considering we added a wood burner it seemed a more sensible idea than a double layer of untreated wood slates. ..

couple of pics of before and after 

Under the window there was still the stone shelve which once supported the only sink in the place.
Once we removed the space eater, we uncovered par of the original stone wall which we left in part as a feature reminding of the long history of the village.

Oh yes, the floor, when we first walked into the place I thought there was something really weird.. something was not right .. that we discovered, was due to about 9 cm slope that the previous owners did  not want to fix and left it into this interesting slope – You could put a ball near the courtyard door and it would roll down on its own to the kitchen door.

 

Pic of work in Lounge

It took a lot of efforts to regard the floor and bring it to a more conventional fait level and we finished the work with light grey ceramics which brings out the light from the window and patio door. Door which we changed from dark solid wood into a light doubled glazed one opening the view into the inner courtyard and letting the sunlight flood in .

pic hangin the door

In the heigh of the summer where temperature can reach a sizzling 32 34 C in this par of the world, this room remains a cool place to spent the hot hours of the day and in the coller evenings, we just get the woodturner going and cuddle up with a good book to wash the stress away .

video of the lounge today

The American Kitchen

This was it – this room did it for me – or rather what I saw instead of the amazing cupboard like room with extra thick wooden kitchen shelving .
No kidding you the cupboards were actually made of .. dare I say it ? No I won’t till you come over !

Still what I saw instead was the untapped potential of the space, large airy kitchen with plenty of light coming in and that can stil be improved by a wise choice of entrance door but that will be for you to chose just to add your signature on your new home..

So we went to work to dismantle the cluttered area, knocked non weight bearing partitions and added a central pillar to hold the large American styled bar/ table, we designed the kitchen elements to make sure to have plenty of storage room – we are all cooks in the house so we tend to love spending time in the kitchen as long as it is functional.

pic of kitchen then and now

We added a double American fridge freezer a 5 lights cooker with a huge oven and of course a dishwasher. It’s a homely place where we love to start the day , come in for cooking or snacks welcome the neighbors for an aperitif or a quick cuppa and watch the children leaving fo school in the mornings – Yes this place still has its own school despite its tiny size!

other pic of the kitchen showing fridge/ cooker 

The kitchen is also the place where we have the electric meter which was redone professionally when we moved in and now has a switch to flip to solar during the day .

There is another pretty cool feature located in the kitchen – but we’ll talk about it when you visit !

video of the kitchen now 

Separate toilet

We have a separate toilet under the staircase with its sink so it’s rally pretty convenient and probably one of the few houses in the village with that option !

 

Pic?

1st floor

You access the first floor via a polished old wooden staircase which proved wide enough to bring all the junk we removed from the upper floor including remember? The upper chimneys and their tons of debris .. and bring the new furniture up without hassle, on the right you get to the NY Room m so called because of the room’s theme and our previous globe trotting days.

video of going up the steps? or looking down from 1st floor so you dont see the wall ? 

To your right is the bathroom which we also remodeled entirely from top to bottom as you will see on the pictures !

Further left still is the Health Room so called because we have gym equipment there when not using it as a spare room for guest

The NY bedroom – Balcony

2- 3 pics of before
pics of now

(Bed 1) Large and airy and spacious we removed the old covering and discovered  nice wooden floor which we took a long time cleaning and polishing- it was still in a very good state and it’s certainly both more pleasant to the eye and kind to your health than the previous parquet. We removed the spaceship wardrobe and the room really came to its own opening up with a pleasant balcony overlooking the inner courtyard, where the ones are now growing to form a canopy you will enjoy for years to come .
Fro the balcony this feature laden home gets you into a

video showing the NY Room 
views from the balcony ( tidy up the courtyard again !) 

With hidden ensuite

Hidden ensuite. We haven’t done much to this part apart from using it as a spare office but it has several interesting options you may decide to pursue – first it could be connected back directly into the NY bedroom without having to walk on the balcony – not that it is an issue because it is not even 2 meters away and totally covered by the upper balcony .

show pics of where it could be used 

Still you could add an ensuite there or a walk in wardrobe ( water and waste through to the utility room below so not a lot of work)

Alternatively, you could open the partition ending on the tunnel balcony and cross over to the grange or install a winter garden on that balcony – lots of ideas to play with but certainly untapped potential stil there .

Bathroom.

To say that the existing bathroom was a  disaster would be an understatement . Its location and mini landing stripe positioning had us scratching our heads perplex as to what we could do to make this a nice, fun and .. safe place to enjoy.
This is what it used to look like and this is what we came up with with light bright colors to counter its natural disadvantage.

before and after pics

The health Room (Bed 2) / Lounge

The big fitness bench came in several years back as a birthday present and took position in our guest room – in fact this is one of the few things that did not get moved about, we simply add one or 2 beds (Easily stored in the loft above) when we have family and friends coming over .

pics/ video of room 

From the window all double gazed BTW,  we can spy on the market place a few hundred yards away where each year from spring to fall village events take place flea markets, local produce seasonal markets, and the big apple festival event where all the villagers from the Valley bring their apples to be pressed like in the olden days and can keep bottled up for the rest of year.

pic of the market festival 

See more pictures and videos from the event in the culture tab

2nd Floor

Taking the second flight of large easy steps you get to the landing on your right the garden room , on your left a big open space which begs to be turned into another bedroom  with ensuite . At the far corner are the steps to the Loft

pics and video 

The Garden Room Balcony (Bed 3)

The Garden room has beautiful views not just above the courtyard but beyond on the roof tops of our back road and the mountain behind it. It’s sun drenched like the NY room from morning to evening facing south slightly S/W so you get both sun rise and sunset colors illuminating the skies right ahead of you. Often times in the early mornings, you have the mist rising from the over that runs just behind the lane and envelops the hill with elaborate scarves playing with the rising sun rays around the tree tops. It is really difficult to figure out whether you are still asleep and dreaming about the birds chapping away ( and yes sometimes venturing way beyond the balcony into the room if you are lazing away ) or you are awake and about to start another beautiful day .

pic of mist in the valley 
sound of birds chirping audio

So you guessed it, the main drawback about the Garden Room is that you don’t want to leave it too fast !

That’s perhaps why I installed a working area in the

Office ensuite

Sitting atop of the NY Room ensuite is a lovely hideaway where I do most of my work from
That’s something which works very well from this home, if you are self employed or want to work remotely.
Excellent internet connection that ensures that you don’t have to leave the house – unless you chose to to get stuff done !

Needless to say that with both NY and this room ceiling have been redone entirely not just to remove the dark narrow wooden coverings but also to insulate the ceilings and roof

pics of before and after

It is so smoothing to sit in the evening on the balcony watching to world of the forest slowly winding down, the birds doing their last minute worm picking and singing the day goodnight. The night draws in and the moon appears tracing wide arks over the horizon and above the mountain in front.
Because we have no light pollution ( street lights are even turned off from midnight to 6 am!) you can follow the dance of the constellation right there  and often see the space station blinking in the night sky – I have the app that tells me when it flies over even ..

video 

link to app 

In the morning the scent from the forest nearby and the faint murmur of the river awaken the senses just like, I guess it has been over the century and when you see all the chaos and confusion , fear and tribulation so many are experiencing the world over, you often wonder if you are not living on an alternative planet, right there in our little tiny village hidden away at the far South Corner of France ..

The 4th room we never made- and or bathroom 2

All right here is where you can add even more to this deceptively modest looking home
The landing to the left of the staircase is a large unused area with a sharp slopping roof. .. which does not need to be !

pics of what to digg

Looking from the outside a strange shape was created in the roof. Cutting off the potential of an even bigger room than the health room below.
Can you see what I mean in that picture?

pic of house from the outside roof 

It is by no mean necessary to do – the roof is sound so no need to do anything there – except if you want to add that extra room / or bathroom or ensuite or office to the place . Like all the places we fixed, there is a great amount of space wastage that can easily be recovered , should you want/ need to – and of course there by adding to the value of your home. And BTW there is already a skylight and a radiator there so you’re good to go !

But that’s not all!
This is another hideaway in the house, Negotiating the steps you land in the large loft space .
Originally I was going to make a video studio there but life got in the way and other projects came to fill that space .
We insulated the floor and fixed the exit of the wood burner double conduit which had been shaken during a bad wind bout.

pic of wood burning conduit 

In fact there is over 8.5m of that expensive latest model double flu from the wood burner to the chimney at the roof just to say how deceptive and unassuming this house looks from the outside…

So there you also have a sky light, its totally dry and you can either carry on using it as a spare loft space or make a new room out of it.

Which would make a 5th room !!

The Loft – Studio

Originally I was going to make a video studio there but life got in the way and other projects came to fill that space .
We insulated the floor and fixed the exit of the wood burner double conduit which had been shaken during a bad wind bout
In fact there is over 8.5m of that expensive latest model double flu from the wood burner to the chimney at the roof just to say how deceptive and unassuming this house looks from the outside…

So there you also have a sky light, its totally dry and you can either carry on using it as a spare loft space or make a new room out of it
Which would make a 5th room !!

 

pics/ video of the loft 

The inner courtyard

Let me take you back down to the lounge door where you reach the inner courtyard,
On your right are 3 doors housing various storage spaces .

pic to courtyard from the door of the house 

On your left is our newly built wall garden with , if we get time to install it a forthcoming water feature using rain water

But first the The 3 store / heating rooms

show a pic in each description 

The first room I mentioned above now houses a 300l water heater, so you can have 6 people in the house and still al have hot showers!
It is fixed on our choice of cheap night electricity so only comes on from 23.30 to 7.30 am > Unless you decide to change the electricity plan , you won’t have anything to do to carry inhaling cheap hot water in the house.

We also have the washing machine and there is plenty of space to add some shelving over the washer or a drier or whatever else you need to put stuff away . I just love not having the noise and attuning of the washing machine in the house so as mentioned above we did mammoth work to make sure we could join the village drain going across the house back to the front door.

Got to say was the craziest part of what we done so far but now it’s done, well worth it.
The added benefit is that I had a Y junction added so if one day you want to turn the grange or part of it into a flat you won’t have to go through the mess we did ..

pic of the work int he house when we dug the floor 

Ok so the second door is where the fuel boiler is
Totally isolated you can keep it or install another type of heating if you so wished without any structural work added. For ex right now in France there are new heating equipment you can avail yourself of for .. nothing – yes there are conditions of income but changing your boiler has never been that encouraged as much as now.
You can stick with oil ( 1000L tank in the third door) or become more ecological with wood pellets for instance .
In any case no infrastructure cost and inexpensive.
Just to clarify you have one or more radiators in each room , bathroom and of course the wood burner as well that carries the heat through to the bedrooms above when there is no need to put the big boiler on
Note there is no gaz in the village so yeah I forgot to mention that the cooker works on gaz canister we also get with our neighbors 2 doors away !

The Double storeys Grange

The inner courtyard opens in
Ground Floor Garage for 3 Bikes/ Freezer/ Tool bench

Pic of lower ground floor 

Upper floor Fit a extra guest room,  or kids play area

pic of upper floor 

The Balcony

One of the most unusual feature of this home is the wooden balcony built above the 3 service rooms.
If you don’t want to create an open pathway from the NY Room, and even if you did! , you could add a winter garden there to overwinter your plants .

The Terrace with BBQ area

This year we have created this sun drenched terrasse which got Italian slabs.
There is a plan to finish the walls with lather and plaster but to be honest I am not sure whether we’ll have time to execute, but you’ll have all the material we already bought for doing it or can get a local builder to help you ou if this is too intimidating.

pic of a lather and plaster finish look of the terrace 

Solar panels ? Yes we have them too overhanging the terrasse
We can show you how to install yours or negotiate the existing installation for you to keep.
When you come and visit, we’ll show you how this has significantly cut our ordinary electricity bill already and we just got them up during the lock up time !
So if you are into green living, you might want to consider it.Currently we have a portable BBQ but the area is set for you to bring your own or get one here

pics of your solar panels metrics ? 

There are some fabulous looking ones in the local shops and we absolutely love using fresh and locally produced meat and vegetables on the BBQ then laze in the sun on the terrace  .

By the way , my son was a Chef and we can introduce you to the best providers – food wise in the area.
You know where things come from and I think it’s so very important nowadays, if you are still reading, so do you obviously .

See the FOOD tab for more info

The vegetable garden

I have been growing vegetables since we moved  in 2017, slowly adding to the area
using mainly permaculture principles to maximise the available space
I grow tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines, peas and beans, Peppers, salads, potiron, cucumbers
potatoes, carrots , herbs, garlic, onions, strawberries and other soft fruits .. well I am sure I am forgetting a few things but all in all it feeds the family in from May to November and I freeze the rest for the winter. I also need to add that I don’t spend as much time as I would like to in the garden so anyone a little more organized than me will get even better yield !
The grounds are incredibly rich and fertile never used any GMOs stuff nor pesticides/ chemicals etc

More Facts and info

overall size 140m2 not including outbuilding
Kitchen
Lounge
NewYork Bedroom
Health Room
Garden Room
Landing – 4th potential room

Loft – not included in overall size

Grange floor base