With only 3 weeks left before we open our doors to Marcadis Gite we can do nothing but worry. When we first purchased our home we were allowing ourselves 2 years to get the gite up to the standard we wanted however after just a few weeks we decided that if we opened up a year sooner we could use that money to develop other things. Great idea until you come to put it in practice. We still have many sleepless nights thinking is it up to the standard we want and most of all what the guests expect.
The gite is a small building attached to our home that the owners allowed workmen to sleep in whilst they were at the property. It had the bones of what we needed such as a bathroom and a small Ikea unit that housed a hob, fridge and sink plus a mezzanine bedroom. Yes the building had what we needed but not to our standard for renting as a holiday home. The floor was nothing more than concrete painted with an orange garage floor paint and due to the whole building being closed over winter it had a strong smell of mould. The walls were white but had a tinge of brown due to the damp and the roof ceiling still had the dirty fingers prints of when it had been installed.
We decided to attack the gite first so we could open early 2017 and make some money to renovate our main house. This didn't exactly go to plan, however we are on track to open June 2017 with bookings from June - July already - more on that later.
The gite is an open plan gite with fabulous beams on show. We managed to get a tower unit from a neighbour so we could get up high into the beams. Our first job was to scrub the ceiling tiles before treating all of the beams. We did come across a few small issues - one being a rat hole where they had eaten the entire inside of one of the beams. After 2 weeks and lots of dark stain the ceiling and beams looked amazing. We then realised that all the concrete/plaster on the walls was loose due to damp. This was a job we didn't envisage doing but Darren set about removing it and then re applying which was a job in itself due to our limited French. We found a fabulous book called 'French English Bilingual Dictionary' which has proved to be a godsend. We still keep having a few hiccups such as buying Crepi by accident to plaster our walls but that is a completely different story for another day.
By this stage I had left France and headed back to the UK so it was all now down to Darren. We also had to think about what we could do with the floor to make it more homely. We do want to eventually tile it however we needed a short term fix so we could get it open. We decided on a fabulous grey laminate flooring which was horrific to lay due to the concrete uneven floor. After many sleepless nights it was finally down and despite the reluctance of buying it, it did look very nice and also was very warm to walk on. We know it wont last forever but it will allow us a window to get other things done until we get the cash together to tile throughout.
Thank fully the bathroom plumbing was satisfactory. We just needed to add some TLC and of course a floor. We managed to find some tiles in one of our barns so Darren set about tiling the floor and we also got a good deal on the wall tiles at a local supplier.
The Gite never had heating hence the issue we had with damp etc. We managed to find an old Log Burning stove which Darren repaired and brought back to working order. He is this week installing it into the gite so it will have a fabulous log burner as a main focal point. I am looking forward to trying this out when the nights get cooler. This didn't exactly go to plan when Darren cut through the roof to fit the pipe only to find it was exactly where the joist was. His exacts words I cannot repeat, however he did deal with it (no-idea how) but it does look great.
As you can see by the photos Darren has also spent a lot of time clearing and re building all of the walls around the gite mainly due to safety reasons. The gite now has a fabulous courtyard garden plus its own access via a new set of steps he has made. When we moved in we found a very large bag of Ochre in one of the barns which has been amazing. We just add a small amount to our white paint and it makes a great colour which matches the outside. We have found it to be cheaper if you buy white paint and add your own colour.
We still have a few things to do before arrival of our first guests such as install an oven and await the arrival of our outdoor table and chairs, but otherwise it is near ready. We have had family and friends stay in the Gite to give us their honest opinion plus try everything out. Put it this way they have returned so it cannot be to bad.
As I explained at the start of our blog, we want the gite to be perfect, so we have decided to open only until October when we will then close so we can continue. We are going to paint all of the mezzanine wood with a white and a tint of colour (not sure what colour yet). We have never liked the mezzanine wood colour however needed to decide what to do with it. We have also decided that the white walls are cold looking so we are going to add some colour. We are also going to take out the current Kitchen and modernise it by installing a dishwasher and fitted units.
You will find when you start to develop your Gite you will change your mind so many times. Darren always tells me that you have to live in a place for at least a year to see how it behaves and also what would suit it. He is so right. Don't rush into things as you will always change your mind, which may cost you in the end.
Once the Gite opens we will be moving onto the Island on the lake which needs lots and lots of clearing so we can get to the log cabin which we are making into a spotters cabin. More of that to come.
Thank you for listening. Have a great day and see you all soon.