Architect's diary
French Property News|November 2020
It’s all in a week’s work for France-based Neil Vesma
Neil Vesma
MONDAY

The diggers are here. It’s Day One of our new project renovating and extending a cottage overlooking the beautiful fortified village of Monpazier in the southern Dordogne. Our clients Nick and Yvonne were ahead of the game when they bought this little jewel just outside town a year ago; now everyone wants one. There’s space to breathe and work in safety, and it’s just a short bike ride – admittedly a steep one – from the centre of town.

They’re in need of more space for their growing family, so I’ve designed a living room/ kitchen extension with a glazed wall that opens out onto a covered balcony overlooking the town, and now it’s time to build.

The plan is to get the shell of the extension watertight before the bad weather hits in the new year, so that fitting out can continue whether it’s wet, freezing, blowing a gale or just mildly intemperate. With a bit of luck it will be ready for the summer, but for the time being it’s good to see the machines taking great gulps of soil out of the ground.

TUESDAY

Since the end of the summer I’ve been inundated with enquiries, and not only from Brits reassessing their priorities. There has also been a steady inflow of French clients, mostly city-dwellers, often wanting to do up a maison de campagne they’ve been left by an ageing relative.

One such couple is Alain and Sophie, who have a séchoir they want to convert. These old tobacco-drying barns dot the landscape round here. Their tall, narrow profile makes them ideal for conversion as there’s room for two full storeys and plenty of potential for getting light in.

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