Thursday, March 31, 2016

Renovating the kitchen floor - chez Anthony



Now that spring has officially sprung, I imagine that some of you are thinking towards what sprucing up projects might need attending to around your home. C'est dans l'air, n'est ce-pas?


As it has been a while since we have visited the amazing renovation project that my friend Anthony is undertaking with his partner, I thought that we could pay a little visit, all the better to reassure you that no matter what may be on your "à faire" list...


...I highly doubt that anything will be as daunting as bringing back to life a stone floor that was most likely set in around 1750...


...on top of other basic projects such as, oh, let's say, putting the electricity back in the walls where it belongs in these modern times...


...let alone plumbing and evacuation, rebuilding the window and doorframes, all of which will come later.


So, where to start? By calling an excellent team of artisans of course! Fortunately, there are many truly talented experts in Provence and Anthony - as I believe I have already mentioned - is a man who knows the best address for everything...toujours, c'est incroyable.

After his partner had single-handedly ripped down a non-supporting wall to open up the space (and then taken away the tons of déchets), the work could begin. First up, the most damaged of the stone blocks were removed and replaced if they could not be repaired. That so few needed to be attests to the quality of the craftsmanship from nearly three hundred years ago! Then, different techniques were tested for polishing off the indentations that heavily marked each piece (most likely from when additional flooring had been laid on top of it). The above photo was taken at this stage and if you look carefully at the flags in the bottom right, you can see that the essai was already having its effect.


So how did it all turn out? 

Ah, I am going to make you wait to see but will hint that I could skate across the smooth surface of the stones today. They are magnificent. But the work was not without a price. Despite the best efforts of the workmen, a thin veil of stone dust snaked through the rest of the house and covered each surface for weeks! If you ask Anthony, I do think he will tell you that it was worth it. 

This room will be a heart of the house and it is already quite transformed from when these photos were taken. Anthony has a lot on the burner that I am looking forward to sharing with you, not only in terms of the renovation. Let's just say that sometimes one good idea leads to another and another...and that some times you need to start from scratch to find it. 

There will be more to follow, in time...


****

PS. There has been a lot of fear and sadness amidst this promising season. I, like you, am horrified by the terrorist attacks in Brussels and in Pakistan. I wonder where we are going. Many of you have written, asking news of my friend Ellie, who has suffered a setback in her battle with ALS but is still fighting with her humor and elegance intact. That to me seems to be a way for all of us right now. I don't have answers for you but I have Love to give (and hopefully to receive) and am holding onto that for now as an antidote. Let's stay strong in this together, yes?
As always, thank you for being here,
Heather





48 comments:

  1. I can't imagine all of that dust, much less the work that renovation will take. Guess I am just too old. It will be beautiful though I am sure.

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    1. The dust was rather insane, Donna and yes it will be beautiful!

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  2. We just took out 1970's ceramic tile. Does that count? :) And..Worrying about Ellie. My how she has touched so many.

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    1. It totally counts BB. :) I know that you care for Ellie but something tells me that she would not want any of us to worry as we do...

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  3. I can only imagine who walked in through those doors back in 1750. And here we are. Looking forward. Looking up.

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    1. It is nice to see you here, Daniel, it has been a while. And yes, here we are...this project gives me a lot of hope. Or rather, their hope is rather infectious.

      In 1750, a gentleman might have well worn a topper similar to your own in those walls. La plus ça change...

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  4. I'm in both awe and exhaustion.

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    1. And yet they are fealessly bringing this beauty back to life!

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  5. This place is the fixer upper to end all fixer uppers!! And, oh how you tease us! It does look like back breaking work, but renovations can be daunting! But always rewarding! Yes, we receive your love always in your heart-filled posts and hope that you feel it coming back at you! Spring has sprung all right - I say, "bring it!!!". : )

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  6. I love following along in this renovation! Such beauty they are uncovering. What an undertaking, and what a mess has to be made in the process. I am tired just thinking about it!

    I find myself so stressed lately, these uncertain times. When I can't sleep, I think of all my favorite spots in France, the sounds I love, the scents and the tastes. And I try to breath. Sending you much love, and of course you know I am thinking of Ellie. xoxo

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    1. I do know. And I love your peace-finding technique. So much more interesting than counting sheep. I bet that you feel as if you are there if you do so long enough...you must be counting the days...

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  7. I don't comment often but I love your blog.

    I've been thinking a lot about Ellie today and hope she is comfortable.

    xxx

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    1. A very kind soul who saw her yesterday let me know that she is and is just her fine self, as her Sister mentioned. Made me so happy to hear.

      Thanks for the compliment, FF!

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  8. I was just about to ask where the wholes in the stone blocks came from or what they where good for until I read that they most likely came from a different layer on top of it. I have seen that already somewhere... don't remember where...

    It is really an admirable work your friend Anthony and his partner are doing and hey I would love, love to see that smooth stone surface. They really seem to have a lot of courage to work over such a spacious building. But it seems from what I saw about their other projects they have the experience and the passion for doing this.

    Sure, a building like this will be sold for a high price, but certain aspects of Anthonys work here are priceless. And can't be paid with money.

    So excited to see more and more of this place. (Oh, I already see a beautiful documentary publication of this work with your fotos right before my eyes...Sigh... Funds are always the problem...)

    Thank you for taking us along.
    Gros Bisous,Silke

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    1. I know that you have an amazing memory, so I wonder if you are thinking about a post I did a million years ago about our working on the walls of our last apartment? Let's see if I can find it...

      http://lostinarles.blogspot.fr/2011/07/revealing.html

      Hmmm, well, I didn't explain it there so that isn't it but I had fun looking for it. :)

      You know, they aren't in a hurry for this house, it is a life project - and I can't imagine that they will ever sell it! I really look forward to seeing the surprising things that they will do with the house in the long run. So far, so beautiful...

      Glad you like this. There are plenty more!
      Gros bisous à toi,
      h

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    2. Oh thats very reassuring that this renovation is a life project and even more admirable! :-)

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  9. An interesting project & cool photos. Particularly like the how that open door lets in the light...alluding to future possibilities.

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  10. This is amazing, and I bet the floor is magnificent. I have my fingers crossed that I'll see those white Bertoia chairs in the renovated house photos!

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    1. Oh, that I can promise you Mary. You are going to be over the moon for the project that Anthony is working on... :)

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  11. I can't even imagine taking on such an ancient property! Every little thing is a precious series of projects! Please show us the after soon, I have no patience :)

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    1. What? You having no patience?! heehee... And yes, everywhere you look there is work to be done, other things to be kept. Thank goodness that THEY have patience...

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  12. Renovation looks fun and hard work. Conceptual art to concrete art. The suspense is on.

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    1. And building...but it is going to be a long haul until the final curtain.

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  13. Thanks Heather. I've been wondering about these renovations. Out of the ashes and dry wall dust...the
    Phoenix will rise....maybe that's a metaphor for all of us....
    Ali x

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    1. Maybe it is, Ali...maybe it is.

      And this post was done with you in mind. I know that you like this series. :)

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  14. Hi Heather, I can only imagine the beauty of the renovations at Chez Anthony and hope we will get a peek soon. Prayer as always for Ellie and all of our friends who are going through such difficulties..

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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    1. Thank you, Karena - and also for extending that prayer far and wide.

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  15. Like that beautiful stone floor .. Love, Light, and Goodness will endure beyond the ravages of negativity and depravity. Your posts, Heather, are yet another gathering place for those who choose to bathe themselves in the warn spirit of Empathy and Compassion for our fellow beings. Where this light of humanity shines, darkness cannot dwell. Mahalo et Merci for your contributions!

    Bill

    www.kauai-to-paris.com

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    1. I am very moved by your beautiful words, Bill. If I can come even close to doing what you described I would be so grateful - as I am to all of you who spend precious time to visit and contribute.

      Much Mahalo to you in beautiful Hawaii...

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  16. ELLIE got ROSES TODAY.........NOT from me!I received a BOX yesterday with some items to sell at the show I am participating in a couple of weeks.One item is a VINTAGE 1970's CHANEL HANDBAG........the other circa 1910 white cotton dress made for a size O waist came from one of the FOUNDERS of USC.THis woman is a FOLLOWERS of our BLOGS..........and sent to me to get some $$

    for our MS.ELEANOR...........how's THAT for some LOVIN?She also threw in some bath salts she makes and a candle for MOI!!!PEOPLE CAN BE SO NICE AND WONDERFUL.I will do my best to sell sell sell............AS for CHEZ ANTHONY.............I AM SWOONING OVER HERE!!!!!
    AS for LOVE FOR YOU.................have YOU done YOUR HOMEWORK YET?YOU know what I mean........GET ON IT .........TONS Of PEOPLE have LOVE FOR YOU!!!XOXOX

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    1. And I am really so incredibly fortunate that is the case! As for Madame Decret, she deserves no less!!! I think that you should do a special post for those items on your blog where the highest bidder wins!! How wonderful that such things were sent in her name. That just made me so happy to know...

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    2. ALREADY thinking about HOW TO DO THAT!!!
      XO

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  17. LOVE renovation projects! Both exciting and a bit frightening. Exciting to bring a property back to its former glory (and perhaps add a little more glory). Frightening to think you might run out of money before your vision is realized.

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    1. That is why they are going really slow and doing the big things first - but not everything all at once. It would be impossible! I so appreciate their wisdom with this.

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  18. I visit your friend's website each day as a way of saying a prayer for her. I too am saddened by the madness that has gripped the world and seems to exhaust me.

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    1. Angie, I am sure those prayers are received and appreciated. Thank you for that. And I am sending you a warm hug. It has been a very hard past few weeks. Hold on.

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  19. Oh I love a good renovation. The work, the focus, the choices, and the constant decisions to be made.
    I've been working on my house for ages , and do a lot of the work myself. It saves money,but takes much more time. Your friends have fabulous taste, can't wait for more.
    Bernadette

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    1. Merci, Bernadette (well, I think that they both would say 'merci'!). And how fantastic that you are doing a lot of the work on your own. They are doing what they can and calling in experts for the rest.

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  20. Have you earlier posted a picture of Anthony's house as it was in the beginning? If so, afraid I missed it. I am impressed beyond words at what they seem to be taking on.

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    1. Emm, here are the previous posts:
      http://lostinarles.blogspot.fr/2015/12/an-amazing-home-renovation-project-in.html
      http://lostinarles.blogspot.fr/2015/12/the-blue-rooms-part-one.html
      http://lostinarles.blogspot.fr/2016/01/the-blue-rooms-part-deux.html
      http://lostinarles.blogspot.fr/2016/01/climbing-staircase-chez-anthony.html
      Hope you enjoy. :)

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  21. I look forward to the after shots of Anthony's kitchen renovation. I love that he and so many others are saving these wonderful places.
    I too can't believe what is happening in our world., and Ellie is constantly in my thoughts. Janey

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    1. Thank you Janey. Much Love and Happiness to you...

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  22. There seems to be so much in common between houses in Provence and houses of the same period in Malta. Lots and lots of stone seems to be a common factor. As for thin layers of dust - let's not go there. That particular by-product is always a nightmare of any renovation. I was very sad to hear about Ellie. My uncle has ALS and sometimes, i just can't read her blog, because it is so hard to read what they are both going through. We got back from France last Friday. Normandy was beyond beautiful Paris was, well, Paris.

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    1. Loree, if you had told me about your Uncle, I didn't remember and I am so sorry to hear that. I have such anger angainst this disease, as you must as well. Ellie is a beautiful woman inside and out, that has not changed despite such challenging circumstances.

      I am so glad to hear that your trip was a good one...at least I think that it was...your description of Paris could go either way in my mind! But I do agree that Normandy is exceptional...the greens in the grass must have been amazing at this time of year.

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