So who wants another room makeover? Thought so. Enough with the mushy emoting, tales of friendship and the like – what you really want is to see photos of a semi derelict bedroom and then further pics of how it looked once we’d painted, plastered and bought bijou extras from quaint little french markets – right?
To be honest, I think I’m going to have to add an element of jeopardy to this blog because right now its all going a bit too well. Surely we need to run out of cash, have a roof cave in, discover bats that are part of a conservation order in the barn. Like those bits in Restoration Man when he goes off into his round study and ponders ‘how its all going’ and wether ‘they’ll ever get this project finished’. At the very least one of us needs to have an affair or lose our job otherwise its just two smug, happily married people who own a house in the south of France and no one wants to read about THAT!
Well just to move the plot along a bit, I’m going to sleep with Roman the sexy french builder. Sadly not, I’m afraid. But I am going to start getting a bit disillusioned. We’re almost at our first summer and the house is taking some shape but maybe not as much as I’d hoped. The boys are still sharing a room that could be a film set but its that bit of The English Patient where Ralph Fiennes is bandaged up in an old bed rather than ‘Amelie’. And our bedroom is little more than a mattress on the floor. And this does not please me. As I’ve mentioned, I work in fashion and although I don’t mind a bit of roughing it, I do have to hear constant tales about colleagues travels to villas in Mustique, Riads in Marrakech or even just boutique hotels in the Cotswolds and they all sound rather nice. And I, by contrast, am sleeping here……..
It was around this time, I began to wonder….. was this really what I wanted from a holiday home? Did I even want a holiday home? Was this all Peter’s dream and not mine? I married a man who hates sunshine, swimming and relaxing. His idea of a holiday is to smash down a dividing wall with a sledgehammer. He likes reading books and collecting old junk. I by contrast dream of a Heidi Klein bikini, a white sand beach, a mojito and ideally someone else to do the washing up. My job is pretty stressful and was it madness to think that I would then want to spend my holidays, painting, cooking, lighting fires and all of the above in a run down, dirty house.
I think I may have shouted that at him several times around this period as I tripped over wires that snaked all around the house as we had only about two working sockets and a million extension cables. Or when I trudged through the dark, dingy back rooms of the house to get to the bathroom in my flip flops because the floors were too disgusting to walk on without footwear. Oh and dont get me started on the days spent entertaining the children on my own while Peter was up a ladder painting, plastering or mending. ‘WHY CAN”T WE JUST GO ON HOLIDAY LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE?” I would shout. Loudly and often. And it was this kind of disillusioned moaning that prompted him to start work on project master bedroom. (And not just so he could be on a different floor to me wallpapering quietly on his own – though I am sure this also had a bearing on his decision).
Peter was clearly wise to the fact that the bits I DO like about owning a french holiday home are the shopping opportunities and the interior planning and so it was with project bedroom. As I think I’ve explained – this is a budget operation. In fact the budget is, there is no budget. So I searched ebay and discovered a range of Laura Ashley Josette wallpaper that someone was selling off for only £5 a roll. In many ways having no budget makes all your decisions for you and so it was with this wallpaper. Would I have chosen it if I could pick anything in the world? Probably not. But I love it and I suppose it kind of chose me.
The glass light that was already hanging in the bedroom was cleaned up and I love the fact its been there all along and we’re simply adding to the stories it could tell. The floor just needed a polish and we bought simple white curtains from IKEA. A mirror was sourced on ebay and came cheap because it had some bits missing from it which Peter simply glued back on (it’s amazing how people sell ‘broken’ stuff on ebay that isn’t even really broken, it just needs a bit of tlc) And then we bought a bed. A giant four poster one from IKEA that I’d always like the look of – EDLAND which crazily they have now discontinued -there are entire forums devoted to this online!
And from separate Vide Greniers we found bedside tables that don’t match. Some lights were bought in Marks and Spencer and driven over one trip. And finally a set of HEMNES drawers again from IKEA. I suspect for a more authentic french feel, it could do with some more stuff in it that isn’t from IKEA but you know what – we have the rest of our lives to buy stuff. And Claire Danes’ character in Homeland has IKEA drawers in her bedroom so it’s OK right? (although she is a bit of a looney and in love with a known terrorist and I’m only on season one so please don’t post and tell me it turns out he’s not a terrorist or whatever because I HAVEN’T SEEN THOSE EPISODES YET!)
And so, despite my moaning, I actually rather like going to our French holiday home every holiday. Having jumpers and jeans already there in my HEMNES drawers so I never have to pack to go away. And one day those snaking wires will be gone and we’ll be able to plug stuff into the socket in the same room as the appliance (I know this reader because in real life I’m way ahead of you!) And best of all, I have a bedroom that looks like a boutique hotel. Its a little known place in SW France don’t you know? Mustique – PAH!