Saturday, July 6, 2013

Chambre Pt I

The rain will always be part of our memory of this trip to Montegut. After two months there had been less than two weeks of sun. Although we were not able to complete any major outdoor projects the cool weather did have an advantage while working indoors.

We had a pretty good idea of what was waiting behind the bedroom door. We'd taken lots of photos, measurements and copious notes. We'd read as many DIY books as we could find about repairing plaster walls. 

Yet we still were not prepared for what was behind this door into the bedroom. It's true, memory is fleeting. I realized I had focused on the size of the room - huge! The color of the walls - awful! And what to do with those floors. Not a particularly efficient use of those photos, measurements and notes!

It all seemed so, well, do-able, and then we began a closer inspection. It was immediately clear that my concerns would be addressed much further down the road.

Hmm, didn't remember how bad the plaster looked at the floor level. One quick tap on the plaster under the window frame and it was clear the water damage was extensive.

We knew there had been water damage many years ago from a serious roof leak. Eventually the roof was replaced but repairs to the interior had been deferred. That white patch above the beds is the attempt to repair the visible damage.

A few light taps on this section of the wall and the plaster just crumbled away from the adobe, leaving damaged sections  that would have to be reconstructed layer by layer. That dark spot at the top of the photo is a hole about 10" long by 5" deep into the wall. 

Here is the other side of the same beam, the damage was far more serious than it appeared initially. At some point cement was used to fill the spaces between those ceiling joists. The technique is not unheard of but not well executed.

As they say "In for a inch - in for a mile". We continue to explore the extent of the damage. We lost interest in the count of nails removed from the walls when we realized each one left a deep divot that would need a plaster patch!

Several boards were beyond rescue, this section of the ceiling next to the fireplace had been hidden inside the built-in cupboard. We thought only 4 boards were needed and by the time it was completed there where 8 new boards replaced and covered with new insulation.

We found not only water damage but questionable attempts at repairs tucked behind furniture. We were not able to discover the initial cause of this "repair" and perhaps that story is better left untold?

Up to this point we focused on uncovering the needed repairs and prioritizing the ever growing list.

The fireplace had been unused for many years an upholstered board kept problems hidden from view.  This looks worse than it was, primarily debris from the attic shaken loose during that long ago roof replacement.

Walls and ceiling sections were checked and double checked, cleaned and sanded in preparation for the plaster.

...and if you have thanks for reading


  1. Lots of work to be done Linda .... but it's do-able. What an adventure. The door into this chambre is gorgeous.

  2. LInda: Thanks so much for visiting and commenting...and I've been looking for a way to email you. Do you realize you are a "no-reply" blogger? One cannot reply to an email sent by you. You need to change that in your Blogger settings (if you want to!)
    What an incredible job you are doing with your house in France!!!! I read back for a few posts, but can't quite tell how long you have owned it? And how often, or for how long, do you go? Quite a trip from California. Are you French? I couldn't tell.
    I'll be back to read more!

    1. Thanks for the heads-up about the reply email being disabled... I changed it right away!

  3. Ciao Linda
    finally got back to following your adventures along with Mr Barry you both look like truly ONE FOOT in France for certain now: quite an amazing estate you have going on and love your progress reports and pictures
    Love and Light