House

It was early 2014 when we started looking for land to build a house in France. Now, two years on, we are finally building. This is our space to record that process (for ourselves) and to share it with friends and family across the world.

Videos and Updates From the Beginning

Tomorrow we start

Assumptions about what to expect occupy my mind. Tomorrow we look for land in our chosen area. Read more…

Published February 2014

Anxious Beginnings

We return to the estate agents to see the plots. It has been a month since we made the appointment. Read more…

Published March 2014

A Change of Pace

It took about 18 months to buy the plot of land where we will build our house. Read more…

Published February 2016

A Kick-Start

When it begins, it really begins. Read more…

Published February 2016

Building a home in Allier, France Video

We have bought land in France and are about to build a home. Watch now…

Published February 2016

Massive hole dug on our beautiful plot Video

We are off to Vichy today to see the tile and bathroom fittings people and for our first to the land since we bought it. Watch now…

Published February 2016

Tiles, Toilets, and Taps

So many things to choose. Read more…

Published February 2016

First meeting on site Video

We have our first regular meeting with the project manager on the land. Watch now…

Published February 2016

At First Sight

My first thoughts on seeing the land now the building work has started. Read more…

Published February 2016

Are French snakes dangerous? Video

We visit Moulins to pick doors, windows, and fittings for the house. Graham encounters a snake on the building site. Watch now…

Published February 2016

More Choices

Yesterday was a long a day. Lots of travelling; lots of decisions. Read more…

Published February 2016

Pink String and Blue Pipe

I love that every time we visit the land, there is progress and something new to see. Read more…

Published February 2016

Dealing with Language Difficulties

After four years in France, language difficulties are not new to us, and we have developed strategies to deal with them. Read more…

Published March 2016

We have foundations Video

We visit the building site for our second meeting with the builder and afterwards return to the bathroom shop. There we check our floor tile choice and try to narrow down the bathroom tile choices. Watch now…

Published March 2016

Foundations

The string lines from last week are gone, and have been replaced by concrete foundations. Read more…

Published March 2016

Braving IKEA on a Saturday Video

We brave IKEA and Leroy Merlin on a Saturday to check our choices and to see the latest changes to the catalogues. Watch now…

Published March 2016

Getting Things Right

The past week has been stressful as we’ve tried to manage changes to the house plan. Read more…

Published March 2016

Kink in the Bathroom Video

The builder found a problem in our house plan. Graham talks about the changes to the bathroom wall, and why it was so upsetting. Watch now…

Published March 2016

Designing Bathroom Tile Layouts Video

We have sketches of our bathroom which we can use to play with ideas. In this video, I talk about how we are approaching our bathroom tile design. Watch now…

Published March 2016

First Steps Inside Video

We visit the building site for our third meeting with the builder. The first blocks have been laid and our house is starting to appear. Watch now…

Published April 2016

Going Up

A national strike made getting to Vichy complicated, but we made it, and got to see the walls for the first time. Read more…

Published April 2016

Another Visit, Another Strike

Our last house visit plans were thrown into chaos by a national strike. It was a last minute scramble to reschedule and reorganise everything to get there. Now, four weeks on, and another strike is threatening to upset our plans again. Read more…

Published April 2016

Denied Dessert Video

Two national train strikes alter our plans and we spent the night in Vichy. Our fourth site meeting and lots of progress to show you. Watch now…

Published April 2016

The Basement is Done

Our meeting with the project manager and bricklayer was longer and more detailed this week. It had been a month since the last meeting, so there was a lot of progress to cover. The walls of the basement are now done, and they have poured the concrete floor. They expect to start the second floor next week. Read more…

Published April 2016

Progress Day 3 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between when we found the land and 3 days after building began. Watch now…

Published May 2016

Happy for Rain

I’m sure few people building a house are pleased to see rain forecast. Rain on building sites tends to mean delays. I’m not hoping for rain, but when I checked the weather forecast and saw a few showery days ahead for Vichy, I smiled. Read more…

Published May 2016

Progress Day 5 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between days 3 and 5 of the build. Watch now…

Published May 2016

Suddenly a Ceiling Appears Video

We visited the building site by ourselves and discovered a ceiling has been added to the basement. We expected concrete supports but not the floor slab to have been poured. Watch now…

Published May 2016

An Enclosed Space

Our latest visit to the house was just for fun. There was no meeting with the project manager, we just wanted to see it. Read more…

Published May 2016

First Time Upstairs Video

The first floor has appeared. For the first time we got to see the views from our windows. This was only our fifth meeting with builder on-site. Watch now…

Published May 2016

Up, up, up

The house is progressing so quickly that every visit offers an exciting surprise. For this site visit we got to go upstairs and look around for the first time. Read more…

Published May 2016

Progress Week 2 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between day 5 and week 2. Watch now…

Published June 2016

Progress Week 4 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 2 and 4. Watch now…

Published June 2016

Progress Week 8 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 4 and week 8. Watch now…

Published June 2016

Progress Week 12 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 8 and week 12. Watch now…

Published June 2016

Progress Week 14 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 12 and week 14. Watch now…

Published June 2016

Progress Week 16 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 14 and week 16. Watch now…

Published June 2016

Misdirection Video

Continuing trains strikes prompt our trying a new route to reach the house. We try taking the bus instead of the train. Our day does not go entirely to plan. Watch now…

Published June 2016

Progress Week 18 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 16 and week 18. Watch now…

Published June 2016

Transport Troubles

With worsening train strikes, the search was on for an alternative means of getting to the house. For this visit we tried the bus instead, but soon encountered other problems. Read more…

Published June 2016

We Made It

After all our transport troubles, we didn’t get much time at the house this visit. As always, the progress continues, and we are excited afresh each time. Read more…

Published June 2016

The Roof Begins Video

The roof has begun. We learn more than usual in our latest site meeting. Details about tiles, electrics, and the telephone connection all become clear. Watch now…

Published June 2016

Starting the Roof

Less than a week after our last house visit, we were back for a site meeting with the project manager. The roof trusses, which were waiting on site last week, are now up, and it is an amazing transformation. Read more…

Published June 2016

Progress Week 19 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 18 and week 19. Watch now…

Published June 2016

Electric Decisions

As the builders prepare to start work on the inside of the house, we have another round of decisions to make. At the top of the list: electrics. Read more…

Published June 2016

Windows, Doors, and Water Tight Video

With two invoices since our last visit, we expected windows and doors. What we found was much more. The house is now water tight and the garden is blooming. Watch now…

Published July 2016

Progress Week 21 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 19 and week 21. Watch now…

Published July 2016

Tile, Shops, and Tile Shops Video

We stayed in Vichy after the last house meeting. Once again return to the tile shop to tackle the floors and bathroom wall choices. Disappointed, we explore what options other shops in Vichy have to offer. Watch now…

Published July 2016

Windows, Doors, and a Key

From the outside, our house is really a house now, complete with windows, doors, and a roof. Inside, it is still a shell, but that won’t last long. The internal walls should be going in, and we’ll soon be able to see how the rooms fit together. Read more…

Published July 2016

Yet More Tiles Video

We visit tiles stores in Lyon and learn more about what we like and do not like. At last we discover a couple of sets of tiles that we are happy with. Watch now…

Published July 2016

Sunflowers! Video

Our eighth meeting and our struggle with the trains continues. Progress on the house ticks along with numerous bits and pieces coming together. The inside is being transformed. Watch now…

Published July 2016

Unexpected

Unexpected train troubles, unexpected progress, unexpected activity. So much of this site visit didn’t go as we expected. Read more…

Published July 2016

Progress Week 24 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 21 and week 24. Watch now…

Published August 2016

In The Garden

Our garden, impenetrable jungle though it may have become, is full of lovely things. Read more…

Published August 2016

Measure Everything Video

We visit the house to see how it was left during the holiday season. We discover unexpected progress and spend five hours taking measurements and making socket placement decisions. Watch now…

Published August 2016

Divided

We visited the house this weekend. There was no site meeting, and being the summer holidays, there is not even any work happening. We visited just to visit, to look around, and decide a few things before work picks up again in September. Read more…

Published August 2016

Progress Week 28 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 24 and week 28. Watch now…

Published September 2016

No Exposed Wires Video

The French summer holidays are over and work has resumed. All the internal walls are in place. Internal insulation is going in and the electrics are being brought on site. Watch now…

Published September 2016

Back to Work

Welcome to September. I’ve come to recognise this period of the year, from September when everyone gets back from their summer holidays until Christmas, as a very productive time in France. Work has picked up again and we are back to a regular schedule of site meetings. Read more…

Published September 2016

Learning about Log Burners

We plan on putting a wood-burning stove in our living area, but looking into their installation requirements has made us question some of our design choices. Read more…

Published September 2016

Progress Week 30 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 28 and week 30. Watch now…

Published September 2016

Cables Everywhere Video

There are tubes stretched across every room, doorway, and open space. The electrics are going in and causing Graham concern. Watch now…

Published September 2016

Progress Week 32 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 30 and week 32. Watch now…

Published September 2016

Catching Up

Our next site visit is rapidly approaching, and I’ve barely had time to catch my breath after the last one. Things are moving quickly, and combined with a busy work schedule, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Read more…

Published September 2016

Measure Everything Video

After an anxious meeting, we return to the house during the weekend to better measure and track what is happening. We find problems, fixes, and encounter our first snake in the garden. Watch now…

Published October 2016

Gathering Walnuts Video

The plumber introduces more problems for our bathroom and we gather our first bag of walnuts. Watch now…

Published October 2016

Model versus Reality

From the beginning Graham has maintained a detailed model of the house. With the build underway, we learn just how accurate the model has been. Read more…

Published October 2016

Progress Week 34 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 32 and week 34. Watch now…

Published October 2016

Plumbing, Pipes, Burners, and Tiles Video

The pipes across the floor trouble the tiler and we change our minds on tiles in the bathroom. Watch now…

Published October 2016

Progress Week 36 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 34 and week 36. Watch now…

Published October 2016

Small Changes

Progress on the house has felt slow the last couple of visits. It’s not that things have slowed down, there have actually been a lot of changes, but they are small changes and they don’t have the same feeling of progress as the big changes earlier on. Read more…

Published November 2016

Concrete Covered Electrics and Plumbing Video

Concrete has been poured over all the tubing. Inside those tubes, encased forever, is our electrical wiring and plumbing. After the meeting, we use our external stairs for the first time and try to coordinate the mains electricity connection. Watch now…

Published November 2016

Progress Week 39 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 36 and week 39. Watch now…

Published November 2016

Tread Carefully

The floor inside has been returned to a level surface. All the tubes carrying cables through the house have been covered with a layer of concrete, ready for the insulation and underfloor heating to go on top. Read more…

Published November 2016

An Unwelcome Lack of Progress Video

For the first time since building began, there has been almost no progress on-site. The electricity connection has progressed but is not complete. No sign of the expected underfloor heating or next layer of insulation. Watch now…

Published November 2016

Little to See

As we prepared for this site meeting, there was one thing I wanted to know. Would we get to see the underfloor heating? Read more…

Published November 2016

Underfloor Heating Video

Having endured freezing winters in old French apartments, we delight in seeing the underfloor heating pipes laid in the house. Pipes cover the entire floor of the house and will ensure this will be our last cold winter. Watch now…

Published December 2016

The Most Expensive Optional Extra

We finally got to see our underfloor heating this visit. I had spoken to the project manager a week before, so I knew they had started it, but we weren’t sure how far along it would be. Read more…

Published December 2016

Progress Week 43 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 39 and week 43. Watch now…

Published December 2016

Coloured Render Video

Two significant changes to the house this visit. The coloured external render has begun and looks great. Inside the final layer of concrete has been poured and is drying. Watch now…

Published December 2016

Transformed

For almost 3 months, bags of render have been sitting in front of the house, and every visit we have wondered whether it would be done. It had been there for so long that I had given up on it happening until after winter when the weather improves. Read more…

Published January 2017

Progress Week 45 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 43 and week 45. Watch now…

Published January 2017

Utility Connections for a New Home in France

What we did to get to our new house in France connected to the major utilities: water, electricity, and phone. Read more…

Published January 2017

Electricity and Final Concrete Pour Video

The electricity has been turned on and the final layer of concrete has been poured on the floor. The internal floor of the house is at the correct level and we can turn on and off lights. Watch now…

Published January 2017

Progress Week 49 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 45 and week 49. Watch now…

Published January 2017

Getting the Electricity Connected

We left for holidays with our electricity connection unresolved. We had signed up with a supplier and were waiting for the electricity network to connect us up. It was supposed to take 8 to 10 days, but two weeks later, we’d had no news. Read more…

Published January 2017

Road Trip, Stone Masons, and the Log Burner Video

We take a road trip to visit three stone masons and a log burner store. The house is locked up and being kept warm from the recent glacial temperatures by numerous heaters. Watch now…

Published February 2017

Waiting to Warm Up

We are still waiting for our heating system to arrive. Both the main heating system and the temporary one they were going to install while waiting for the main one have now been delayed. Read more…

Published February 2017

Expensive Heating Video

The heating system has yet to be installed and temporary heaters are burning through electricity. During the meeting we discover tiles need to be ordered. A rushed trip to the tile shop follows. Watch now…

Published February 2017

Progress Week 52 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 49 and week 52. Watch now…

Published February 2017

Floor Tiles and Fatigue Video

The tiler has laid most of the floor tiles. We have a less than ideal visit with unexpected painting, furniture, and fatigue. Watch now…

Published March 2017

Progress Week 55 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 52 and week 55. Watch now…

Published March 2017

To Paint or Not To Paint

This house visit was not just the usual site meeting, it was a whole weekend. And the story of this house visit comes in two parts: The painting saga and the IKEA expedition. Read more…

Published March 2017

Bathroom Tiles Video

The tiler has laid the bathroom tiles and has begun on the external staircase. We start learning what is involved with painting the house. Watch now…

Published March 2017

Progress Week 57 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 55 and week 57. Watch now…

Published March 2017

Painting Doors Video

We begin painting but not the sliding doors. A change of plans means we end up painting other internal doors and, once more, we have to wait for the sliding doors to be ready. Watch now…

Published March 2017

The Painting Begins

We have started painting. There has been plenty of work for us to do throughout the house build process, but most of it has primarily involved designing and deciding. Painting is our first big get-your-hands-dirty task. Read more…

Published March 2017

Differences in Expectations Video

The build is coming to a close and this was our most intense meeting so far. The differences between our expectations and those of the French trades comes to the fore. Watch now…

Published April 2017

Progress Week 60 Video

Watch a short video showing the house progress between week 57 and week 60. Watch now…

Published April 2017

Time to Work

We are rapidly approaching the time when the builders' work will be done and our work will begin. So many of the finishings are going on now. Read more…

Published April 2017