After living in big cities such as London, Toronto and Edinburgh, we finally decided to leave safe jobs/careers behind to live closer to nature, trying hard to ignore the never ending fickle trends our consuming society seeks so hard to impose on us, to concentrate on much more positive projects such as protecting heritage, respecting our environment, designing gardens, promoting our region’s assets and welcoming likeminded visitors. The idea to create a gîte came with our move to France back in 1994 but it took us another 5 years to find the right village and the first historic house restoration project, followed by the second one, in the same village, 3 years later.. Our first restoration project was a very sad looking 16th century ruin, in desperate need of help (walls to be taken down and rebuilt, many stone lintels, mullions, to be replaced, the entire roof to be redone, no comfort, no heating, no electricity etc.). Luckily we had found a highly skilled and knowledgeable local stonemason/stone carver who, not only worked brilliantly but also taught us so much.. Our joint efforts were approved by the Architecte des Bâtiments de France who granted us the “Fondation du Patrimoine” label but we were even better rewarded by the building itself.. with the discovery of a superb and very rare 14th century paved floor featuring fleurs de lys, rosaces and diamonds in what is now a barn but once the grand hall of the château..
At the risk of being “untrendy” we have selected the greenest furniture around : Beautifully hand crafted solid wood antique furniture, produced by yet more highly skilled furniture makers, working in our region over a century ago, from locally grown oak or walnut trees, enhancing the French touch.. Most windows have been replaced with wooden double glazed windows and interior/exterior shutters have been kept where they were, adding extra insulation. The house is insulated to levels better than required and the thick stone walls keep the house beautifully cool during the hot summer months, no need for air conditioning at all..
All electrical appliances are at least, A rated, energy saving light bulbs have been fitted wherever possible as well as a power strip to switch off the TV, sat and DVD-player.. We have installed a compost bin to compost all organic waste and we provide a box for you to take plastic/glass bottles, metal tins/cans/paper/cardboard to the nearby recycle bins.. Locally grown wood is used in the newly installed, new, efficient woodstove. We recuperate rainwater in both our properties and only use organically approved garden products. Whilst we regularly cut the garden grass and try hard to weed manually, we allow wildlife to take over, during the Summer in the surrounding plots we own and were delighted to spot wild orchids (Ophrys Apifera) growing there, this year..
We have preserved the wild hedges around property and have planted new ones as well as many fruit trees and ornamental trees (which should help to reduce the carbon footprint of a good few holiday visitors!..). We love gardens and have planted many roses and other plants which attract bees, butterflies etc..