With little practical experience, I took on a project to renovate a sad and neglected grande dame on the quayside at the beautiful port of Barfleur in Normandy. Learning traditional skills from scratch, I managed to transform her into a quirky seaside retreat within a reasonable budget, with a mix of good luck, hard work and the help of excellent workmen.
When I moved to Normandy in 2017, I had little intention of embarking on a renovation project. Having left a stressful job behind, my aim was to kick back and relax for a while, before easing my way into paid employment. But when I set eyes on a neglected fisherman’s house for sale in one of the prettiest villages in France, I knew I had to have her. This is my story of how I gave this sad old lady with spectacular views a new lease of life.
Once you’ve found your perfect lot of land in France, you’ve got your architect to help you put your dream home down into an actionable plan, it’s time to find a trustworthy builder or developer. Penny in Normandy investigates how to find the right builder for you, how much to expect costs to be and what you should look out for.
Those of us who enjoy browsing property websites, either because we’re moving house, or just dreaming of a new life abroad, have often come across the term “architect-designed’ home. This phrase conjures images of swooping ceilings and imaginatively designed kitchen and bathrooms, but what does this term really mean?
If you’re making a life-changing move to France, maybe you want to make it perfect. And one way to do that could be to build your own house. Think how thrilling that would be. We’ve all imagined it. What we would like, what our priorities would be, what it would be made of and most of all, what the outlook would be, from rolling fields, glittering seas, charming vineyards, to soaring mountain ranges….