Hazel over at Mud Walls & Beams gave me a great idea for today's post. Hazel and her husband, Richard, are a further down the road on their "living the dream" project than we are and she posted some photos to show just how far they have come. They are now living in France full-time so they have had the time to make so much progress and we are very envious, but know that one day soon, we will be in the same position. Their house looks absolutely gorgeous and it gives me inspiration.
When we first saw our house, it was looking quite sad and even the estate agent's ad was entitled "Save Me"! But we were immediately smitten and could see all the potential. You couldn't actually approach the house from the rear or open any windows due to all the many years of overgrowth. That's Mark, our estate agent, in the picture.
I remember how we spent the days after closing (several months later than the above photo, so even more overgrown) clearing all of that overgrowth. Notice also the dilapidated roof.
This is how it looked this summer, two years on. New roof, new dormers, cleared overgrowth, but still plenty of ivy, that really is being a bugger to get rid of and we spent many hours when we were there in December removing yet more of it, it is actually growing in the wall, we cut all the roots a while back thinking that would kill it off.
And this is the rear wall just a few weeks ago, almost ready for rendering. We are hoping to be able to remove the last few bits (and any new growth) when we are back next time, hopefully in April, and get the wall rendered and the area cleared to start a patio. This spot is a real sun trap so we plan to build a gazebo/pergola type construction to provide some shade with roses, jasmine and honeysuckle - doesn't that sound heavenly?
In the first two pictures you can see the door in the rear of the kitchen and the window on the side. As I write, work is underway to change these over so that we will have french doors on the side where the window is and a window in the rear, where the door is currently located. Stand by for more photos.
Thanks for the inspiration Hazel, doing this post has reinforced that we have come a long way, even though there is still a way to go.