Tuesday, August 17, 2010


We have loads and loads of woodwork both inside and outside our French home (I've concluded it was kind of built as a barn-conversion), and whilst this is a wonderful feature, it really creates a lot of work. You may remember the week of work we put into it last summer - well, last week was our major 'bricolage' week for 2010. My happy little picture-heavy posts about the previous week's gite were a nice distraction from the dust, the noise and the exhaustion!Last autumn we actually had the most seriously rotting part - the front A-frame of the patio roof - replaced by local builders. That was well worth it, but the new, artisan-made A-frame left all the other woodwork looking both shabby and worryingly rotten...
So we got sanding!
The plants that surround our patio became refugees.
The ladders went up!
Now, I have limited ladder-abilities. I can go up them if I have assured myself that they are firmly attatched to the ground or the wall at all points, but I get a bit panicky if they make any sudden movements...
But I got better as the week went on, and also learned when to stop (there came a point each late afternoon where my sense of balance just deserted me, and even a pot of Himalayan tea in the garden with Ben couldn't restore things). Ben and I sanded, we washed and wiped, Ben sprayed wood preservative...
And then we applied the carefully chosen 'lasure', or wood varnish. A number of years spent working with this house have shown me that people do not actually go out and say, 'Orangey pine, yup, that's the look for me!' Instead, they spend hours scanning colour charts and DIY store wood pannels for a non-orange varnish, and then they apply it to their actual pine, and the actual pine turns a varnish described as: 'Mid Oak' into classic 1980s 'Orange Pine'. You've just got to live with it, I think.
It looks miles better, it's not going to rot, we've worked hard on it, and the orange will fade a bit, I think.
Whilst there's still a bit left to do, it's mainly evening work now. I am therefore turning my attention to various little bits of wooden furniture that I've bought and then done nothing with, because I hate sanding, paint stripping and painting, I'm afraid.
Having everything set up already makes it easy to attack these two sets of shelves, which I will paint and we will hang in our dining area, to hold glasses and decorative china.
I'll show some photos when they're up - I need the incentive to get them finished!
I've really enjoyed spending a few stolen moments looking at your blogs over this last week - I didn't have the energy to comment, but it's lovely to see what you've all been doing.


marigold jam said...

All that timber takes me back to our French house! We had it too and the same style with the terrace below! I also have a shelf unit like yours which I bought second hand and sanded and painted soft green and distressed and I love it. Good luck with yours.


carol at home said...

I know just what you mean about limited ladder abilites and orangey pine!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

My goodness, it certainly does look like a lot of work but very much worth it. I'm not sure about the ladders though!!

CJ xx

Serenata said...

Goodness Floss, no wonder you haven't had the energy to comment...you have been working your little cotton socks off! It looks great, although I know exactly what you mean about the colour. It is nice to see timber houses.

Can't wait to see your shelves.

Elizabethd said...

What a lot of work you have been doing!

I'm afraid that whatever the name of the lasure it always turns into orange. The only remedy is to buy in UK and drag it over!

Jane and Chris said...

What is it about orange?
Our floors are reclaimed wide plank,and ORANGE. We intend to sand all the floors to raw wood and leave it that colour. We were discussing the logistics the other evening, and have convinced ourselves that it will "only take a week". Now we are steeling ourselves up for that adventure.
Jane (in Canada....orange is worldwide!)

Sherri B. said...

My, you have been busy and brave! I will climb a ladder but would rather steady it for someone else...It does feel good to put those jobs behind us that we have been dreading.

VintageVicki said...

Oh blimey you have been busy - I don't do ladders - more than 2 rungs up & I am clinging on for dear life!!

Thankyou for your answer to my what is the instrument comment :) Have since found out Serpents come in a variety of sizes - I might one day get one for MrVV/Little son to add to our instrument collection.