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7 décembre 2012 5 07 /12 /décembre /2012 20:15

Dear readers,

 

Chers lecteurs,

 

My Christmas mantel is very, very simple. So you might wonder why I'm so extatic about it and so proud to show it on the blog.

 

J'ai choisi un décor de cheminée extrêmement simple pour ce mois de décembre... Et vous vous demandez sûrement pourquoi j'en suis si fière.

 

Well, this is how the wall looked like when I bought the house.

 

Eh, bien, petit voyage dans le temps. Voilà à quoi ressemblait ce mur quand j'ai acheté la maison!

 

IMGP3088

 

And the same wall tonight. Allow me a little "Tadaa!" moment.

 

Et aujourd'hui!

 

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I'm sorry about the awful quality of the picture. It's been raining for days and my very basic camera can't do better (to be fair, it's actually the best of a series of very bad pictures!).

 

IMGP4912

 

Après plusieurs jours de pluie, la lumière est affreuse et c'est le mieux que mon appareil un peu primitif pouvait faire. Finalement, c'est mieux à la lueur des bougies.

 

Anyway, I believe the mantel is to be seen by candle light.

 

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When we removed the dry wall, I discovered that the old stone mantel had been destroyed at some point of the house's history.

 

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I was very disappointed as I had been dreaming of having a mantel, like forever! So the wood one you can see here is an attic-sale find.

 

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I actually enjoyed decorating it, even if the rest of the house is a mess due to the renovation going on (and on, and on). It's part of the glass-hafl-full philosophy!

 

While I let you have a look at my silver collection, my cherubs and my jar of snow balls,

 

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Let me marvel at the house transformation that can be seen in the mantel mirror!

 

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like the beamed ceiling or the transom on the door, for instance.

 

J'ai adoré mettre en place ce petit décor, même en plein milieu d'une maison en pleine rénovation. Mais, finalement, ce que je préfère, c'est voir dans le miroir le reflet des transformations effectuées: les poutres du plafond, l'imposte sur la porte, le manteau de cheminée chiné en brocante...

 

The amaryllis was nice enough to bloom on time.

 

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The mantel gives a very serene atmosphere to the room, which is exactly what I need right now!

 

I'm sending you serene vibes all the way from a rainy Brittany.

 

Thanks for visiting!

 

Merci de votre visite!

 

Magali, from The Little White House xxx

 

 

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1 décembre 2012 6 01 /12 /décembre /2012 22:26

Dear readers,

 

Chers lecteurs,

 

I don't know about your corner of the world, but here in Brittany it's been pretty cold all week. It was usually around 6°C/43°F during the day, which is rather cold for that part of the world, so close to the sea.

 

IMGP4834.JPG

 

 

En cette semaine de premiers froids en Bretagne, vous vous dites peut-être que je suis lovée dans le canapé avec une bonne tasse de thé... Non, non, moi, j'ai choisi cette semaine pour détruire les fenêtres et la porte de la maison, futée, hein?

 

So what did you think I did? Cozied up on the sofa with a hot cup of tea?

 

IMGP4841Sorry about that blurry picture, taken seconds before the carpenters arrived...

 

No, not me! I decided to tear down the windows and the front door!

 

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Warning! This is a renovation post. There is not one staged pictures. Most of them were taken in a hurry right before going to work or right back from work...

 

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It might seem crazy, but I was really happy that phase 2 of the renovation of this old cottage finally began... Even happier when it was over, of course.

 

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Three reasons led to that phase 2:

1) security: the previous windows could have been opened with a mere pair of twizzers (what do you mean  by "who would open windows with twizzers?") -

2) Insulation: there was a nasty draft which made its way under the door and under the living-room window -

3) Decoration: since I got to change the windows, I decided to draw the windows I wanted.

 

IMGP4855.JPG

 

Euh, là, c'est le moment où c'est plus moche après qu'avant... Il y a toujours une phase comme ça dans les travaux!

 

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On that picture, you can see that the window on the right (the living-room) has been changed, but not the one on the left (the dining-room)... What do you think?

 

J'adore cette photo que j'ai réussi à prendre avant de partir travailler mardi matin: la fenêtre de droite avait été changée la veille, mais pas encore celle de gauche!

 

Full reveal to come... Stay tuned!

 

I have to go back trying to get rid of tons of dust (not fairy dust!) before I can get any Christmas decorating done!

 

Si quelqu'un s'ennuie ce weekend, il y a beaucoup de poussière à nettoyer dans la Petite Maison!

 

Magali, from a dusty Little White House xxx


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27 novembre 2012 2 27 /11 /novembre /2012 21:26

Dear readers,

 

Chers lecteurs,

 

As I keep reading your posts about Christmas decorating, this is the current state of The Little White House.

 

Alors que tout le monde pense à ses décorations de Noël, moi je contemple un salon qui ressemble à ça...

 

IMGP4852

 

(Picture taken in a hurry right before going to work yesterday...)

 

I'm currently leaving with white dust covering everything... The house is going to need a good deal of dusting before any Christmas decorating can take place.

 

Je vis à nouveau avec mon amie la fine poussière blanche qui s'infiltre partout.

 

On the bright side, phase 2 of the renovation has finally begun!

 

Mais il faut voir le bon côté des choses, la rénovation reprend, après une longue pause.

 

You can read about the dreadful phase 1 here and there on the blog!

 

Can you guess what will have changed in The Little White House before Christmas?

 

Alors, vous devinez ce qui aura changé avant Noël dans la Petite Maison ?

 

If anyone needs some all torn drywall for their Christmas decorating, please email me, I'll be glad to help!

 

Si quelqu'un souhaite décorer sa maison avec des bouts de placo, contactez-moi, je serai heureuse de vous venir en aide!

 

Magali, from a very messy Little White House xxx

 

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10 novembre 2012 6 10 /11 /novembre /2012 17:51

Dear readers,

 

Chers lecteurs,

 

It's funny how really tiny things can throw a whole idea off.

 

A few months ago, I discovered that the first floor of my house had to be entirely redone.

 

 

So all the walls were torn done. I wasn't sad to get rid of the sliding door cupboard whose sliding doors only slide once a week... Always nice when you need a scarf in a hurry in the wee hours of the morning...

 

Il y a quelques mois, quand j'ai découvert qu'il fallait refaire tout le sol de ma maison et donc tomber toutes les cloisons, j'ai dit sans émotion au revoir à ce placard à portes coulissantes que je détestais et dont les portes n'avaient de coulissantes que le nom!

 

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At some point it looked like this...

 

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Yes, the cupboard used to be where the broom is. And, yes, I know it's completely useless to get your broom out when you're floor is this messy!

 

 

Mais, non le balai n'a pas l'air du tout ridicule dans tout ce bazar!

A ce moment-là, il a fallu refaire le plan avec les nouvelles cloisons, portes, prises, interrupteurs et autres appliques.

 

At that point I was asked to draw them a blueprint with the new walls and the new electricty system.

 

I took me a few sleepless nights to think of where it was usefull to have doors, sockets, switches...

 

And I remember very well I thought it would be convenient to have two scokets at the entrance of the house...

 

Je me rappelle très bien avoir prévu des prises dans l'entrée parce que j'imaginais bien une petite lampe sur un buffet. Sauf, que les ouvriers m'avaient oublié ces deux prises... La semaine dernière, j'ai craqué et j'ai fait revenir un éléctricien.

 

But the electrician forgot those two... So for a while, the wall that's on the left side of the front door looked like this...

 

mao 086

 

I meant left side when you come in... So obviously to the right on this picture...

 

It was already an improvement... which scared my "borrowed cat"!

 

But I really wanted a lamp on that sideboard. So last week I called an electrician and had the sockets redone.

 

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I took that picture in the evening so that the lamp seemed to have a meaning!

 

Now can you see that very French and very vintage handbag of mine? Have a closer look...

 

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If you like French and vintage handbag, don't forget to visit La Minuinette, a great etsy shop where you'll find what you're looking for.

 

The lamp was found by my mother on the side of the road... Some neighbours thought it was trash...

 

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But I thought it was like no other.

 

Cette lampe avait été jetée par des voisins de mes parents, mais ma maman a tout de suite pensé qu'il fallait la sauver. Merci Maman!

 

IMGP4785edited.jpg

 

I mean, look at the base!

 

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This is not a picture perfect before/after... It's more like a before/in between...

 

This wall still needs:

  • painting! (it's not white, it's only primer!)
  • new baseboard
  • new or rather old sideboard (I'm browsing the Internet everyday, till I find THE ONE)
  • something above the sideboard... I have several ideas... Don't tell me this wall is blah for now, I know!
  • a blooming amaryllis! That would be better than those two green sticks...

Thanks for visiting my Little White House and come back later to check on the renovation and on the blooming of the amaryllis!

 

IMGP4783edited.jpg

 

Magali, from the Little White House xxx

 

 

PS: Yesterday at an attic sale, I found some old engraving that could be perfect above the sideboard...

 

 

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A Return To Loveliness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 octobre 2012 2 16 /10 /octobre /2012 21:37

Dear readers,

 

Chers lecteurs,

 

My name is Milo. I've always lived at The Little White House. That is, until my owners decided to sell it and move two streets away two years ago.

 

Je m'appelle Milo et j'ai toujours vécu à la Petite Maison. Mais mes maîtres ont décidé, il y a deux ans, de partir s'installer dans une bien plus grande maison située deux rues plus loin et je ne m'y suis jamais habitué.

 

IMGP4584.JPG


Granted their new house is twice as big as the old cottage and the garden is at least three times bigger... But I can't get used to it.

So I kept coming back to my old cottage, even though the new owner, who's a petite blonde with a way too high pitched voice, didn't feed me or let me in and brought me back to my rightful owners everytime I popped at her window...

 

Alors, j'ai pris l'habitude de revenir souvent voir mon ancienne maison, mais la Petite Blonde qui habite maintenant me rendait toujours à mes propriétaires. A croire qu'elle ne comprenait vraiment rien...


But I never stayed at the new house and I spent months "in the wild".

But, well, I'm not getting any younger so last summer I was really fed up of that life and decided to find my solution.

During the whole month of August, I sat at the living-room window sill every evening. I looked at the petite blonde straight in the eyes... because I know my amber eyes are the cutest thing. I also miaowed a lot. Except, I don't really know how, so it sounds more like "me, me, me"... What heart of steel wouldn't melt at that?

She didn't feed me, but it was ok: there are so many mice around here in August and I did manage to steal some "croquettes" (that word is so missing in English - it means dry food) in the neighbourhood.

I knew I had to be patient.

One evening, I could see in her eyes she was about to give up and she brought me some "croquettes".

 

Du coup, j'ai fugué et plus personne ne m'a vu pendant des mois, mais la vie d'errance est fatigante et j'ai décidé de trouver une fois pour toute une solution. Je suis revenu à la Petite Maison tous les soirs du mois d'Août. Petite Blonde refusait de me nourrir, mais je restais sur le rebord de la fenêtre à la fixer avec mes yeux d'ambre, histoire de la faire craquer... J'ai aussi tenté le miaou charmeur, ma spécialité: je ne prononce que la syllabe "mi", ça ferait fondre n'importe quel coeur de pierre.

 

Only a few days later she opened the door to me and there! By all my whiskers! The house was so changed I was as scared as a mouse and actually ran away!

I came back a while later... just to check on things...

Anybody would be surprised, don't you think?

 

Et quand elle a enfin cédé et m'a ouvert la porte... Par mes moustaches, la peur de ma vie, je n'ai rien reconnu et j'ai détalé en vitesse... Puis, poussé par la curiosité (ou mon goût pour la déco?), je suis revenu inspecter.


Entry as it looked when I left the house... L'entrée telle qu'elle était quand j'habitais là...

 

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What "Petite Blonde" did with the same wall... Et ce que Petite Blonde en a fait...

 

mao-086.jpg

 

I mean, wouldn't have you been surprised as well?

 

Vous n'auriez pas été surpris, vous?

 

Now, truth be told, if I've won over Petite Blonde, I'm not best friend with "the other"...

 

mao-080.jpg

 

Milo, back at The Little White House xxx

 

PS: I know your eyes will see that the walls are not painted yet, that the baseboard is crappy and needs to be changed and that the buffet is very shiny... But a cat doesn't see that and sees everything that has already been done... I love him for that!!! - Magali, aka Petite Blonde.

 

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1 mai 2012 2 01 /05 /mai /2012 18:35

Dear readers,

 

Today I'm here with a tale...

 

Once upon a time, a little (ok, she's not so little anymore) girl (ok, woman) wanted to choose the perfect tiles for her fairy-tale cottage... But in the middle of the wood (ie, in the alleys of the stores), she met the big bad wolf, aka the salesperson...

Here's how she managed to make it out of the wolf's claws...

 

Just in case you're considering changing your tiles, here are my little tips for you. Nothing from a designer's book, only experience stuff.

 

Rule #1. Be a b****.

That's the bottom rule.

Best example: ME!

 

Rule #2. New is not always better.

The salesperson is always trying to sell you what's trendy on the day you visit the store. It's not necessarily what you want for your house.
Best example: In France these days, everybody go nuts about extra-large tiles.

 

carrelage-comprendrechoisir-2.jpg

 

The salesperson almost convinced me that extra-large tiles made any room look larger. So I asked to be allowed to bring one home... "Not possible" was his first answer (that's how you know he was a French salesman...). I applied rule # 1 and he finally gave up and gave me a tile to bring home...
Let me tell you that if it was okay-ish in the living-room, it looked completely ridiculous in my very tiny dining-room!

That brings us to the obvious rule #3.

 

Rule #3. Bring it home!

Stick to rule # 1, so that rule #3 is possible. I don't know why but every time I asked if I could bring a sample home, people looked at me like I was crazy. Most of the time they didn't seem to have any sample at hand.

Again a little tip: nice make-up and short skirts seem to mellow even the French salesperson and I often ended up with the whole one-square-meter sample that's in the store in my car and I was usually allowed to keep it 24 hours at home to see how the different hours of the day played with its colour.

 

point p 8

 

On the plus side: once you've carried that big square sample to your car, then to your living-room, then back to your car, you won't forget you have a back for several days... And you know how it's easy to forget we have a back!

 

Best example: I had fallen head over heels for something that looked a bit like that:

 

09-dalle-a-cabochon.jpg

 

I was ready to sign the form to order it.... When I thought it would be nice to see it home first. Again, I batted my eyelashes (wish I could master the fake lashes thing...), and off I went with a sample of  it. I was feeling all cheerful, nearly sure I had at last found THE ONE. I kept watching at the sample on the back seat of the car every time I had to stop at a red light... And I arrived home! Hugh! It didn't look the same colour at all in my natural light as it had in the neon light in the store...

The next day, I brought the sample back and kept searching...

 

Rule #4. Listen to your house.

Somehow, if you listen carefully, I strongly believe that the house will whisper what it needs. As much as I love slate, it would have been wrong in the space I have and so would have been the very Versailles cabochon tiles I love so much.

 

Rule #5. Take your time.

I remember last year every body kept asking me "Have you chosen your tiles yet?" (said in a relaxed way in September and rather frantic way in April of the following year!). Yes, I really needed that much time...

 

But it was worth the wait, the worry, the back-achessss, and the futtering of my eyelashes to go from those three different and ugh-so-beautiful floors...

 

Trois-carrelages-2.JPG

 

 

to...

 

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Yes, the picture is taken from nearly the same spot, but as I changed the floor plan - more on that in a post that will be written when I have time (when will that be?) -  it's hard to figure it out... Also this picture was taken at the end of remodel-phase 1... You may notice there's no handle on the door.

 

 

IMGP3615.JPG

 

Do you  have any tips you could share?

 

Magali, from the Little White House xxx

 

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Making The World Cutter

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18 février 2012 6 18 /02 /février /2012 16:42

Dear readers,

 

Chers lecteurs,

 

Today, I wanted to share with a funny story... Or maybe not so funny...

 

Aujourd'hui, je vais vous raconter une histoire drôle, enfin, quand je dis drôle...

 

When I went to visit my grand mother, I had a few pictures to show her the transformations that had been going on at the Little White House. For those wondering at that point, she doesn't have the Internet.

 

Quand je suis allée voir ma grand-mère, j'avais préparé une petite compil' de photos des transformations de la petite maison.

 

Transformations in the garden, in the living-room, in the kitchen: she didn't say much while I showed her all those pictures.

 

Transformations du jardin, du salon, de la cuisine: elle a regardé sans trop commenter.

 

Then came the pictures of the loo, which I was so proud of as it was my first on-my-own job...

 

Puis, sont venues les photos des toilettes, petit coin dont j'étais tellement fière puisque j'avais tout fait toute seule, pour la première fois de ma vie...

 

Before: (Avant)

 

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After: (sorry about the lack of light, but there's no natural light in this tiny room)

 

Après (la photo est pas très nette, mais avec mon petit appareil, l'absence de lumière naturelle rend les choses très difficiles..)

 

IMGP3909.JPG

 

Grand-Ma: "Why did you change it? It looked better before!"

 

Ma grand-mère: "Bah, orange, c'était plus gai quand même!"

 

I tried not to look completely bummed when she turned to me... But I believe my wide-opened mouth gave me away...

 

J'ai essayé de cacher mon désespoir, mais je crois que le fait que ma bouche soit restée grand ouverte de longues secondes m'a probablement trahi!


 

So what do you think? Should I repaint all the fish and go pick up the outch-my-eye yellow seat that is still somewhere in the garage?

 

Alors, qu'est-ce que je fais? Je rachète un pot de peinture orange et je vais dénicher au garage l'abattant jaune?

 

 

 

 

 

Magali, from the Little White House xxx

 

 



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15 février 2012 3 15 /02 /février /2012 18:44

Show Off Your Cottage Monday

Dear readers,

 

Only a few month ago, this was what the Little White House living-room looked like...

 

IMGP3086

 

Then, you might remember this picture of the Little White House living-room from last November.

 

Peut-être vous souvenez-vous de ce à quoi ressemblait le salon au mois de Novembre dernier.

 

IMGP3877.JPG


 

Something new was delivered two days ago.

 

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J'ai tenté une amélioration de la cozy-tude de la pièce grâce à la période des soldes. Mais j'aurai dû me douter que cela serait un échec dès qu'un truc à poil s'est intéressé à la livraison...


I should have known there would be a problem from this point:

 

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And, tadaaaaaaaaaaa! Here's my collection of dictionaries! Euh, no, that wasn't it actually, can you focus on what's under the dictionaries?

 

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I feel so lucky I own so many dictionaries!

 

Les dictionnaires sont venus à ma rescousse pour venir à bout du tapis trop longtemps roulé sur lui-même...

 

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(Sorry about the computer replacing the usual lamp on the side table... I'm still sick - grrr - and it's now my favourite place to watch TV shows.)

 

Enjoy the picture as I believe the carpet won't last a month... Shadow thinks it's perfect to try his claws on... which leads to that kind of problems...

 

 

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Malheureusement, le chat trouve qu'en plein hiver, c'est super de faire ses griffes en intérieur... et je ne donne pas un mois d'existence à ce tapis! J'en aurais rêvé plus longtemps avant que profité après!!!

 

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Can you spot the torn fibers right in the middle? The war has begun... But I'm afraid the carpet has lost the first battle.

 

But I have to agree the very best part about having a wool rug is being able to walk bare feet in winter.

 

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Mais je comprends le chat, rien de tel que de retirer ses chaussures et de marcher pieds nus sur de la laine...

 

 

 

Magali, from the Little White House, a little cozier xxx

 

 

Bringing my new rug at:

Very Merry Vintage StyleSCCTTBadge.png125-button1.pngFeathered Nest Friday3038rqh.jpgShow Off Your Cottage Monday

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20 novembre 2011 7 20 /11 /novembre /2011 16:55

I must say I'm utterly amazed that I still have readers, though I haven't been a good blog-partier lately nor have I been much of a writer actually. So maybe it's time to tell you what's really happening at the Little White House.

 

This is not an easy post to write, so please pardon my English, which is not perfect when I get emotional. Corrections most welcomed in your comments!

 

IMGP3122

 

Last summer I discovered that the house was actually roting from all the water it was absorbing. There were various reasons for that and trying to think fast, I decided some major renovation was needed. It was a tough summer, but in September I thought the worst was behind me.

How naive I was!

 

The stone wall began to show sign of humidity as early as mid-September! I must say my first reaction was to panic and I seriously thought I'd better get rid of the house and that I was way over my head believing I could run the renovation of such an old house!

 

IMGP3684

 

Before completely loosing my mind with worry, I did what always works for me when the situation seems to get out of hand: studying. I spent lots of nights reading things on the Internet about humidity and how and why  water travels in old walls. I avoided forums as much as I could, because people are most of the time so negative on them... But I studied architecture sites. A big thanks has to be given here to the Canadian government : they have great pdf documents that really simplifies things and it was a great start for me. (I wasn't promised a Canadian citizenship to write this line!!!)

 

I even got in touch with a "humidity professor" (it does exist!) from an architecture school. He wasn't very pleased with me at first for having the guts to phone him... But after a few minutes, he thawed out when I told him that I had read his entire website and the page he had written on wikipedia... After an hour and a half (that's how long the phone call lasted!) he said that I had done my homework better than most his students!

 

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Knowledge made me stronger: I guess it's always true, whatever the subject is. I understand my house better, I realized that what people say about modern houses does not apply to my very old house and that the house and I will both find a way to figure things out only if I take the time to know it.

 

Good news now : as of mid-November, the walls are not as wet as they were in September and the humidity level in the house is correct for a seaside house. This means that a lot of the rampant humidity that I had in September was due to the new slab slowly drying and that the draining system I had done in the summer does work, at least a little! 

 

So here was my confession: it was hard to write as I always have a feeling that all of you meet only success when renovating your houses. But I guess it's kind of a relief to explain why there isn't much decorating going on in the Little White House right now... Though I have a few things up my sleeve to show you later.

 

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Thanks to all of you who come and visit the Little White House. Your visits and your comments make my day when times are rough!

 

Pictures (of very poor quality are they are not artistic pictures) are all of the same wall: 1) during the summer - 2) right after the renovation - 3) I removed the bookcase to be able to "study" the humdity in the wall - 4) taken tonight, the wall seems to be better. I guess you can't even see but the bottom inches of the wall are slightly darker...

 

 

Magali, from the Little White House

 

 

 

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18 septembre 2011 7 18 /09 /septembre /2011 20:56

Dear readers,

 

Chers lecteurs,

 

Good news: your comments about the remodeling going on at my Little White House have really lifted me up.

Bad news: there's a problem with over-blog lately and it's nearly impossible to comment... We're trying to fix the problem... Congratulations to the few people who managed to comment during the couple seconds a day when it's possible! Maybe you should play the lottery...

 

Bonne nouvelle: les commentaires récemment m'ont vraiment touché et fait chaud au coeur au milieu des difficultés que représentent les travaux.

Mauvaise nouvelle: over-blog connait visiblement un bug côté commentaires...

 

Good news: I've dreamed of a china cabinet for years now. And suddenly something looking exactly as I wanted my china cabinet to look like appeared on "Le Bon Coin" (something like Craig's List) and it wasn't even expensive! I contacted the seller and he said he could deliver it to me... Picture me here jumping all around the living-room... I may even have jumped on the sofa (I mean, since I didn't buy a new one, why not?)

Indeed my biggest problem when I find second-hand furniture is the delivery... I can't really lift sturdy furniture on my own nor fit it in my small European-sized car. That's when I think mariage could be useful...

 

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What are you saying? What's that smell? ... The seller was a fishmonger and he brought the china cabinet in his truck... Life on the seaside... It took a couple of days before the wood got rid of the smell...

 

I removed the curtains  the previous owner had added on the top doors, waxed the whole thing inside and out.

 

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And this is were you notice that something has (will have ) to be done with the table: the varnish on it make it way too orangey next to the waxed wood of the cabinet...  Also yes, I need to find wall lamps, but I can't find something I like enough to buy!

 

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The reason I wanted the cabinet to be light wood: I don't want to paint it because I love the way white china looks on it... Yes, believe me, it looks beautiful... even if the pictures are crappy because it's been raining for two days... My camera doesn't like that kind of light.

 

Now I should be the happiest cabinet owner in the whole world... Except for...

 

Bad news:

The drywall that makes the fireplace in the living-room (you may remember it from the previous post) must be torn down... I realized the workers "forgot" to support the old wall that's behind and that was in a piteous state... - Good news in the middle of the bad news: it's a good thing I realized it before the wall and therefore the house collapsed!

Still it means more dust...

 

More on that later...

 

 

 

 

Magali, from the Little White House

 

Partying at:

Making The World Cutter

 

 

 

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  • I've been looking for a house for some time now... And I think I found it! The thing is it needs a lot of work to be transformed from a house to "my" home. I've been looking for ideas on everybody's blogs, so i thought I could begin one of my own...

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