First furniture piece from the French studio

Here we have the first furniture rescue project since we installed ourselves in France. This little console table has been sitting around waiting for repair and tlc for a few years but kept being sidelined for major house projects.

More details in our ChiqenAude etsy shop (see top right of blog)

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I Troc therefore I am- Carcassonne

It is true. I love to Troc. We were driving around the industrial estate behind Casino supermarket in Carcassonne looking for the Orange Boutique. Googlemaps said that we were virtually sitting in it; then Trev suddenly remembered that Phil had said it was inside the red gallery. Anway, on our third sweep we drove past a Troc. Probably just as well I wasn’t driving because I would have just done an emergency stop; instead I shrieked out the usual three expletives/commands/directions-

“TREV! TROC! STOP!” so he did, sensibly and without alarming other road users 

Great shop, packed with French gems too numerous to photograph; though I was a little bemused by this entire section right of what was obviously dark polished wood 30’s furniture all stripped back to raw? mmmm…

I thought of my fellow restoration  blog-nuts

Look at this achingly ancient and charming corner cupboard (I thought of JP’s authentic house )

Or this bed, which I imagined Osyth finding house room for whilst writing short but deeply layered  stories set in a snowy Moscow winter






But I think that Piece of the Day prize must go to this Chinoiserie cabinet that I could see in Poshbirdy’s Maison des Oiseaux


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Episode 156 – Bois patiné peint #1

Do you remember this post eons ago? doors post

In the interests of reusing and recycling where possible we repaired the hideous flush brown bedroom doors and frames and I got Trev to panel them in Languedocienne style. Then they got put back for a million other priorities, then we finally got back to them.

Also eons ago I posted about these four resin panels, moulded over the original hand carved wood that I bought in UK, guessing that they would fit the proportions of these two doors. They did. But they were really hard to attach.

I had to use a strong version of Trev’s magic mix and bake them off on the terrace in the high heat last week. Then we painted, clear waxed and antique waxed them. If you want details I will do a follow up post.


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Argeles-sur-Mer late spring cleaning, and another layer of the story #2 

Takes the biscuit really.Why, if all you had to do was lift the drop latch to close the shutters, would you hack at the latch assembly & surrounding wood with a butter knife instead? We have no idea, but at least two vandals (guests) have done this at Argeles. The original Vandals, of course, were an East-Germanic tribe marauding across Europe some centuries ago.

Guys, I am perilously close to web-camming the apartment. If it were not for the fact that most of our guests there are lovely, tidy, clean people with a brain, I would do just that.


Argeles has a sad backstory too, as far as the 20th century is concerned. You can read the Wikipedia version Wiki

Or you can check out this brief, but painful and powerfully moving overview here

European observation on memories

I have always been drawn to sad backstories and tales of injustice, inequality and prejudice; it’s magnetic. No wonder I carry  so much around in this head of mine.

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Argeles-sur-Mer late spring cleaning #1

One of the many benefits of living here at the French house is that we can actually spend time at, or even have a holiday at the Argeles apartment!

Many others have benefited, including family and friends, just NOT US.This will now change I assure you.

Though only 90mins from the village house, it’s vibe is totally different  and we love it for what it is; a seaside town that  has existed as a tourist spot only since the 1950s-60s when the beach area was developed.

Often overlooked in favour of it’s more famous and decorative neighbours Collioure (pretty, but you can’t park in summer and beach is vestigial) and Banyuls  (ditto, but slightly more spread out) Argeles has a spectacular 7km beach and a similar length promenade under umbrella pines. 

Trev, water boy, went off for a swim of course. An hour in the sea is one of his greatest pleasures and the main driver for buying here; I have long got used to his initially disturbing habit of swimming out a mile or more, which used to freak me out big time.

I did a change over (by choice) and decided to do a real deep clean – paintwork, windows, walls, tops of doors,  wash anything that isn’t nailed down. We had to buy new chairs for the balcony so in the spirit of neighbourliness I put the old ones by the bins. They disappeared very quickly. The new cushions went in. People do odd things to cushions as I have noted in previous posts…..

We are happy here too, in a different way. Even my little car is happy to be in France and you can’t see Madame B’s dent in above photo. When we came out of the Accountant’s office last week it was 48 degrees and the satnav announced that it was too hot to work, but my car copes just fine and has never overheated, even with ridiculous temperatures we have had for last few weeks.

Shots from balcony (great sunset)  left & right


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The door stalker

So, dear readers and loyal blog-buddies, you know that I like a bargain; and the bestest bargain is a freebie. Recycle, Re-use, Restore, Repurpose.

Just after we arrived in France last month we noticed these three doors/windows stacked against an empty  house in the impasse opposite. We also noticed a stack of old stuff heaped up at the end of the other impasse between us and the river. We had no idea who had dumped it, but our neighbour explained that on the first Tuesday of each month the Mayors’ boys pick up your bigger trash.

Yes , of course I rooted through the junk, but there was nothing of interest to me; I still kept passing these lonely, abandoned doors though and thinking what I could do if I got my hands on them. Then AFTER this month’s junk pick up, these suddenly appeared across the street on the dumping ground. I was on the way to the street bin at the time so I just yelled up at Trev in the salon “DOORS!!”. He had no idea (as usual) what I was squeaking about so I just grabbed them (boy are they heavy) and heaved them into the cave.

Lovely old, worn, distressed harwood. A picture was forming of potential deep new corner storage wardrobe in Tulip bedroom. Take out the glass and replace with light fabric, voile, muslin, lace etc….aiding air circulation in the steamy South of France

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Episode 155- Chez Nous le dimanche

The reality of being here in France, and not having to fill every waking day with work on the house because we go back to the UK tomorrow, is kicking in.

Little milestones (we will have been here a month on Thursday)  and the luxury of doing nothing on a Sunday.

Well Trev did nothing but teach himself Facebook  (I can now have video chats with my family) and lie on the terrace semi-snoozing. I can relax, but I am always thinking of stuff to do next so I got the sewing basket out and started on some hand sewing tasks.

These cushions probably epitomise my  mad mix and don’t match approach to my textile projects. The cushions are relatively new; I liked the striped linen but not the hideous motifs on the front panel.  So I sewed on these little heraldic style mats which are around 100 years old and are edged in  a classic gimp with a fine metallic thread woven through it.Great juxtaposition I think.

I have just opened a big box of vintage scraps of fabric and trimmings so the cushion cover production line will soon be up and running. Each will be entirely unique.

The dyed antique cotton lace was added a while back; the broken toe post for those of you who have actually been paying attention………..

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