La Petite Touche The Story Begins

2007 - Research, Find and Purchase

In March 2007,

we went to a French property exhibition in Birmingham and spent all day talking to agents from different areas in France. This led to a firm decision that our first trip to France for 2007, in June, would be a house hunting trip.

By Summer 2007,

having done a considerable amount of research on the web and after many long discussions over (French of course) wine, we set up appointments to meet with a number of agents to look at specific properties. In mid-June we set off for the Loire where we had the first in a series of appointments arranged to view properties. We saw several, including one which we had fallen in love with electronically so to speak. We made an offer on this but it transpired that unbeknownst to the agents, the property had been sold already!

As they say, every cloud has a silver lining and we were about to find ours! We went back to the same agents the following week having decided that we definitely wanted to find a property in the Loire area – we cancelled the other agents' appointments. We looked at several more properties but when we chanced upon La Petite Touche – that was it – our fate was sealed!

New Velux

We committed to the purchase in July and stopped by to visit the area again during our August foray into France. Arriving back in the UK, we knew it would be less than a month before we were back in the Loire to complete on La Petite Touche. Needless to say, September swept past and we found ourselves trekking back to the Loire yet again.

September 2007,

at 2pm CET on Friday 28th September 2007 we found ourselves the proud owners of La Petite Touche and so commenced work on the task of restoring and where necessary rebuilding it. We also have to decide eventually what to do with the ‘dependances’ – but that is definitely for another year or even decade!

The pictures below show how the interior looked when we took possession.

Gite 2 - the workshop Gite 2 - grenier
Gite 2 - the workshop Gite 2 - grenier
The Great Room Winter Salon
The Kitchen Upstairs

In November 2007,

we signed the contract for the Master of Works (Project Manager cum Architect) to seek formal quotations from the various French artisan builders, and building trades. Our intention was (and remains) to retain as many of the original features as possible; such as 300 to 400 year old Oak beams, the original ‘Four au pain’ (Bread oven) and not least, the 80 centimetre exterior walls.

In December 2007

outline estimates for the work, described as "worst case" were received. These were quite a bit higher ("worser") than expected but when you gotta do it, you gotta do it! We were led to believe that when the final, detailed, estimates came in a bit more sanity would reign and we might get a pleasant surprise. (The final cost was more than we expected but less than worst case!)