Category Archives: Repair & Renovation

How to renovate and repair various things at home

How to Renovate a Run Down Pool Area

When we bought Chataigne, the whole place had been empty for about two years. It was early Spring, and we hoped that we could get the place ready for letting that summer.

The swimming pool had to be the crowning glory of the place. It is what attracts guests, and what sets the place apart from others. I knew it needed to be special, so I made it something of a priority.

Of course, we live in a normal house in the North of England, and before that we were in Scotland – swimming pools were not our area of expertise, so we knew we’d need some help and advice.

Chataigne House Pool Garden/Picnic area before renovation
Chataigne House Pool Garden/Picnic area before renovation
Debris in the pool and picnic area when we viewed it
Debris in the pool and picnic area when we viewed it

The surrounding area of the pool used to have decking, as the marketing photos testified. However, all that remained were piles of rotting wood by the side of the pool where the old decking had obviously been torn up, and a whole area of broken tiles and plant pots which looked like it might have been the start of hardcore for a patio. It was like a weedy, overgrown rubbish tip. Therefore, we had to start again with a paved patio area and a grassed area with picnic tables.

Chataigne House Pool Area – Before

We employed help here with the earth removal, levelling, and landscaping. We are really pleased with the results, and the work on the landscaping here continues, with some tree surgery, fencing, planting, and improving the pool verandah.

033
Earth moving equipment
Land cleared and levelled, ready for landscaping
Land cleared and levelled, ready for landscaping
074
Patio being laid, pool starting to improve too

The pool itself also needed work. I employed a pool expert and tried to learn as much as possible from him regarding chemicals and pool maintenance. It is important to keep the chemical balance right for safety as well as visual appeal, and pool maintenance, as we had been warned by other swimming pool owners, is a demanding and ongoing chore. I’ve written a separate post about the pool improvement and ongoing maintenance as it is a complex area.

Pool area with patio laid, picnic area laid, and grass seed down
Pool area with patio laid, picnic area laid, and grass seed down

The old paving slabs have now been cleaned too, to help them blend in with the new ones. We used a chemical cleaner (a bleach solution agitated in with a brush), then jet washed it off (away from the direction of the pool!)

Swimming pool area ready for visitors
Swimming pool area ready for visitors
Swimming pool illuminated beautifully for a spot of night swimming
Swimming pool illuminated beautifully for a spot of night swimming

The verandah has tables and chairs, bar stools and a beer fridge, plus an illuminated beer sign I picked up at a local brocante – my pride and joy!

I know, you want to dive right in! Me too. Here’s the link to our gites in France http://www.gitesenfrance.co.uk

Proud to be linking up with:

My Random MusingsPink Pear BearMonkey and MouseRun Jump Scrap!themumproject
Lou Messugo

Renovating In France – What We Bought

Chataigne Farmhouse in France, before renovation
Chataigne Farmhouse in France, before renovation

The decision to buy a property in France was a complex one, kind of made following a series of events including illness and redundancy. For a while, we even contemplated moving our family out to France, but as my job offer there was based on ‘commission only’, we decided it was too high risk in the end.

The France bug had bitten however! It is so tempting once you see how much your money can buy out there, and you imaging the idyllic scene of children running in fields and playing outside in the fresh air, cycling down country lanes and eating fresh fruit straight off the trees. We imagined sitting outside on the warm balmy evenings, sipping our wine, watching the stars and listening to the crickets chirp. Oh, yes, we’re dreamers alright!

Playing in Fields in the French Countryside
Playing in Fields in the French Countryside

We decided to look for a property with a gite, so that as well as giving us the chance to enjoy family holidays every year, we could have a modest income to help the property pay its way.

Imagine our delight when we found a place (almost) in budget, with not one, but three gites! Of course it needed work (don’t they all?), but we convinced ourselves that, even though it had been standing empty for several years, the work was manageable and we could have it up and running in no time!

Swimming Pool Area at Chataigne House before renovation
Swimming Pool Area at Chataigne House before renovation
Chataigne House Pool Garden/Picnic area before renovation
Chataigne House Pool Garden/Picnic area before renovation
Debris in the pool and picnic area when we viewed it
Debris in the pool and picnic area when we viewed it

Standing empty for a while might have been the least of our worries, as we found that the property had actually suffered from neglect or lack of investment for a considerable number of years.

And so begins our story…..