Rolling up your sleeves 2: Makeovers

Written by Simon Renfrew

Not so many years ago, you could turn on the tele almost any night and watch hordes of stupidly dressed ‘designers’ mincing  through other peoples’ houses, dispensing pearls of wisdom on how they should be decorated (the houses that is, not the unsuspecting owners).

A brief trawl through the internal photos of most French houses will tell you that this type of TV is not hugely popular in these parts. There are some exquisitely presented exceptions, and these gems can command premiums over similarly sized properties. But as long as you don’t expect to find dozens of Farrow and Ball’d bijou pads and can overlook the ‘any colour as long as it’s brown’  decor,  you’ll have a much more productive time with your search.

On the plus side, it’s rewarding to peel back the layers and find the stonework and beams, long hidden from view.  As this isn’t a national pastime, there’s more opportunity to add value with a bit of graft and to make your home stand apart from the crowd.  Once you’ve found the right house - and if you can - bring your paint with you. Sounds daft, but it’s more than twice the price here and if it’s a sizeable property you’ll save a small fortune.  White goods are not dissimilar in price to the UK, so get these once you’ve arrived. 

Anything too bulky is obviously difficult and / or expensive to transport, but high value items like quality flat pack kitchens and sanitary ware are worth the bother.
Finally, don’t forget your puff sleeved cerise shirt, Homburg and wrap around shades. Essential.


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