Our Renovation Life

The Building Works Take Off..



It has not escaped my notice that whilst I’ve been writing about all sorts of stuff – I haven’t really shown you the progress of the house.  So without further ado and somewhat of an album filler on the blog (although I don’t do many of those #promise), here are some pictures to keep you going. I will keep popping up pictures over the next few weeks until you are up to date.

Some catching up to do as my kitchen currently looks like this!

So, you can read about how and when we bought the house (back in 2004) here. We left it for years – we had kids, we moved, we renovated two properties in the UK and we got married.  Life just seemed to get in the way and if I’m honest, I was more than happy with my lot in the UK.  Things changed somewhat in 2012 when Mr Normandy suffered a bad back injury. Turned out he had two prolapsed discs – years of physical hard graft had taken its toil.  He was able to carry on working but we knew at some point he’d have to take it easy.

We got planning permission to extend the house within two weeks of applying back in 2011. I highly recommend asking the authorities for planning, services or anything you so desire in December. The “yay it’s nearly Christmas”, “we’re winding down” really does seem to get you the seal of approval. In fact, when I was sent the form to declare whether we had finished it or not (so they can put your tax foncieres up), the chap was so chilled out that I actually sent him a Christmas giphy. You know the moving pictures you see on facebook. Yarp I sent the man in the tax office this..

xmas (1)


He replied with this  J’ai transférer le mail au SIP de Mortain pour la taxe d’habitation,  Merci, bonnes fêtes de fin d’année à vous

Did I hear from him again. Did I buggery. I still haven’t seen a cent of all the payments I made for tax habitation – you don’t have to pay this if its uninhabitable and soon to be extinct. I can’t talk about it. The scars run deep. It’s not a huge amount. Let. It. Go. Still he was a nice chappy…

Once we had approval we needed to start works, otherwise it would expire and we’d have to apply all over again. We didn’t want to take our chances. So, Mr Normandy headed on over in 2013 to make a start. Once you’ve made a start you can take as long as you like but start you must. I’ve said start a lot in that paragraph.

Mr Normandy went out for a total of 2 weeks and in true Mr Normandy fashion he made a cracking ….. (fill in the blank!)



I should also say, at that time, you could extend the property by 125 square metres without the need for an architect. You still needed to give 6 duplicates of all your plans, fill in a complicated looking form (we paid someone about £600 or was it £300 – I can’t remember – to do this and submit all the plans etc) which included aerial maps, several photos of the property (taken by my parents who were on holiday in France – but did a detour of some 3 hours) site map and your mother’s maiden name and time of birth. Just kidding.

You could not tear down the building and start again which is what, ideally, we would have liked to have done. So we had our box that needed to be made bigger.

Bearing in mind, we had no electric, no water and no toilet facilities this was not an easy task. Mr Normandy would fill up buckets of water (which would take over an hour to fill) to then put on the back of the truck to mix concrete up with.  Thankfully during the second week, our neighbour offered his water and a hose, to make the job a little bit less time consuming. Merci that man!

A slow way to mix concrete
Romantic sleeping quarters – at night Mr Normandy could hear the mice scurrying around



Yarp I’m not staying there anytime soon. I was happy to man the ship back at HQ.



In true Mr Normandy style, he made the most of the two weeks. Here you can see the foundations for the kitchen and what will lead to the stairway up to the first floor. We then left the property until 2015……

1 thought on “The Building Works Take Off..”

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