Looking back at our renovation works – the bedrooms on the ground floor.

Looking back at our renovation works - the bedrooms on the ground floor.

It’s already been eleven months since I unveiled our renovation project to you, thinking I’d be telling you about it very regularly after that, on the blog. It were necessary renovations to renew certain aspects of the house. And at the same we took the opportunity to redo the southwest configuration of the house, to bring light and sun into the living space.

But when it’s just dust, hammers and builders, even when renovations pregress, there’s not enough to tell (and show) to write a blogpost.
And then, with the Covid lockdown and summer after, it’s already the fall all over again. The perfect moment for me to give you a little summary of what has been done.

To do so, I’ve decided to take a working week to write 5 articles on our renovation and the results. One article for each part of the works, that means:  The bedrooms on the ground floor today, the new living room and entrance tomorrow, the dining room and fire place on Wednesday, the mezzanine on Thursday and I’ll conclude Friday with the outside of the house and all that remains to be done.
Are you still following?

Then let’s do this!


Looking back at our renovation works - the bedrooms on the ground floor.

Looking back at our renovation works - the bedrooms on the ground floor.
The guestroom during the renovation works. There was no foudation to this part of the house.


With my love and our two grown-up kids we live in a 19the century bastide that has been altered to a big family home in 1972.
Since, no big changes have been made to this house and so, after nearly 50 years, the house needed some serious updating and renovating. To enhance energy performance, we had already had a part of the roof isolated and we had solair panels installed for warm water. But our old patched up oil-fired boiler just couldn’t do anymore.

After researching the different possibilities to improve our heating, we decided to install thermal underfloor heating with an aerothermal heat pump. For budget reasons, underfloor heating was installed in all rooms on the ground floor, except in the kitchen but not upstairs.


The bedrooms of the ground floor

Our bedroom and the guest bedroom are on the ground floor. Even though we didn’t really need to renovate these rooms, renewing the heating got these rooms involved in the renovation works too.

When the works started, the builders divided the house in two. They closed up, with very large costal panels, bewteen the entrance and the living room. For almost 2 months they worked on the south side of the house (with the entrance, a small office and the small hallway leading to 2 bedrooms). On the other side of the house, we could continue to live in it, but since there was no more heating downstairs, we lived upstairs and a little bit in the kitchen of course.

In the bedrooms, the builders removed all tiling. Our room had been a small barn at the time of the small bastide and it had been redone much later. The tiling was therefore not original. But in the guest room there was a rather old tile and it was almost a shame to have to remove it … almost!
Surprisingly we discovered that in this room (and also in the small office, in fact the entire old bastide part) there was no foundation at all. The tiling had been done directly on the ground, just like that. It does explain why the ants came out of nowhere in that room.


Looking back at our renovation works - the bedrooms on the ground floor.


Also, by removing the tiles and digging a quite some centimeters (because with the underfloor heating it was necessary to go down at least 10 cm) the builders had to put something to support the 2 non-bearing walls because they just dangled in the void.
I have to admit that these are things that occur in renovation works that can really impress renovation newby’s, like us.

We took advantage of our builders’ presence to have them also remove a small piece of built-in furniture in our room. And in the guest room, they dressed two old stone walls with plasterboard, because we had had some trouble with humidity.


The floor

The real change in these 2 rooms, and their small corridor, was the floor!

Like I said, we decided to have the same floor applied everywhere on the ground floor (except for the kitchen). This floor which has the appearance of béton ciré is in fact an anhydrite poured screed.


What is an anhydrite screed ?

Anhydrite screeds are a mixture of screeding sand and binder. Anhydrite screeds are always manufactured as self-leveling mortars of liquid consistency. Liquid consistency ensures easy manual and machine application. Moreover, it provides perfectly leveled and even screed surface. Technically the anhydrite screed is a non-shrink material. This is an important feature in view of performing the expansion joints. When executing cement screed, the areas divided with expansion joints must not exceed 36 m2. This is due to significantly lower shrinkage of the anhydrite compounds during the bonding process.


Béton ciré?

The artists that we found to do our béton ciré finsih on the floor, recommended this type of concrete floor. It’s a better choice than a cement based screed. Seeing as we had a surface of nearly 110 m² to cover, the anhydrite screed will show less risk of cracks.

In February it was finally time!
The day(s) they could finally pour this screed.
Obviously, it was the end of all big renovation works (no more builders every day in and around the house) because this screed has to dry for at least 6 weeks.
It was a spectacular thing and above all, it was the beginning of the end.


Looking back at our renovation works - the bedrooms on the ground floor.
The guestroom with the new floor before the béton ciré finish (and photo on the right after painting)


Looking back at our renovation works - the bedrooms on the ground floor.
Guestroom, painted and with the floor finish. It only needs to be decorated now.


Lockdown and painting.

A few weeks after this great event, Covid and lockdown happened.
Everything came to a halt, so everything got pushed up.

We decided to take this time ‘stuck’ at home to do all the painting ourselves. With our student kids being at home (normally they are in Lyon and Munich) I realized it was so lucky to do all this work with them and not just the two of us. Even though lockdownmade it quite complicated to find the almost 60 liters of paint we needed.

In the 2 bedrooms we moved the ‘lockdown’ desk that we had installed on the unfinished floor from one room to another to get the 2 layers of white paint on the walls and ceilings.
What a difference, after all these months; finished walls, beautiful, white and all ‘new’.
Such a rewarding job.


Béton ciré finish, the work of artists.

The 6 weeks wait (because of the drying of the anhydrite screed) became 12 weeks and in May, finally, the floor finish was to be done.
After sanding it completely and puting a coat of filler, the two ladies who took care of it did a really meticulous job of colour patina. Together with them, we found the colour we were hoping for. It really is an artist’s work and we are so very delighted with the result!

They finished with a special varnish and after a few days of further drying, we then waxed these 107 m² (one more layer of protection).  FINALLY, we got to put our furniture back. And I’m not ashamed to say that it was our bed first!
What joy to finally be able to sleep in our room again, with this beautiful floor (heated, in addition).


Looking back at our renovation works - the bedrooms on the ground floor.
Béton ciré look – floor finsih on concrete floor. Done by hand!


Looking back at our renovation works - the bedrooms on the ground floor.
Our bedroom, painted and the floor finished. It only needs decorating now.

Since then in our bedroom, I painted two walls of our bedroom in a slightly khaki colour because I have a DIY plannend for the headboard. But it’s not yet done. Anyway, in terms of decoration the two rooms are still waiting. I have plenty of ideas, but I want to take my time, in the whole house and so also in these two rooms.

So, to be continued!


Looking back at our renovation works - the bedrooms on the ground floor.
The little corridor leading to the ground floorbedrooms. All painted and with the finished floor. We got the builders to create storage in the back but the door (we recuperated from the former office) hasn’t been installed yet. (and it hasn’t been decorated either)


So there you have it, the new downstairs bedrooms and where they’re at right now!

I’d love for you to comme back and read me tomorrow when I’ll explain what we had done to change everything to create the new living room. We remodeled a part of the house to get light and sun into our living space. And as a result we had to reinvent an entrance, as well
See you tomorrow?



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