Thursday, January 7, 2016

Village Des Bories

In 1977 the Village Des  Bories was classified as a Historical Monument. Located in Provence in the Luberon region just a short drive from Gordes. 

About 30 stone huts scattered in an oak tree studded area all constructed of dry stacked stones chipped from the local limestone. There are a number of buildings originally thought to house tools of peasants or to provide shelter for the shepherds and their flocks. At a later date larger huts were used for houses and stables.

The origin of the Bories have been dated as far back as the Bronze Age with newer additions and structures in this location from the 7th and 15th centuries.

Thankfully a cousin suggested we explore the area and we are so glad we took his advice! Enjoy some photos of our stop to explore these structures.

I hope these have peeked your interest in learning more about the Bories.

And if you have thanks for reading.

Au revior

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Antique Canopy

There just might be a blogger mandate that one must post a "before" photo! These might give you a idea of our starting point. Thus fulfilling said edict!

Here is the finished canopy. It was love at first sight with this unique antique.

The photo below is the bottom of the seat cushion. The canopy was built from 5 sections; Back, Sides (2), Cushion and Base.  The surface is a mirror grain Walnut veneer over centuries old hard wood. It is very heavy!

The heavy cotton twill was quite faded. As the TV ads say: But wait ... there's more!

The red twill came off to reveal another layer of upholstery a heavy weight blue and white linen. Once both layers of fabric were removed we discovered a series of tack/nail holes from even earlier covers. Hand tied coiled springs boxed with heavy webbing was sturdy all original and in great condition.

This interior frame is solid oak and the small rectangular pieces hold this section onto the base unit.

Below is a slightly different angle of the same side of the bottom cushion. Yes, those are square headed nails along with several other sizes and types of nails and tacks

 The canopy was disassembled and the next step was to thoroughly clean the wood. I used an age-old and universal recipe; boiled linseed oil and turpentine.

The first layer of dirt came off easily using a light touch and super-fine stainless steel.
The next photo shows just how much a little bit of cleaning accomplished. Another layer of "Old Age" came off quickly with a second pass with the same solution and a soft cloth.

Here you can see the structure of the side pieces. Layers of horse-hair filling and perhaps various other mammals were held in place by the stiff side pieces. I tried to puzzle out what the content might be with no luck - it was rigid and covered with hand spun linen or flax. The filling had sagged badly and we decided to make a fresh start.

The bottom cushion was covered with a section of batting then covered with fresh linen and stapled in place.

The bottom cushion was set onto the base to confirm that not too much padding had been added to the piece.  The sides are first attached to the base unit and the bottom cushion sits snugly between them The back section is attached separately and held in place with long posts that fit into slots.

Good fit! Now we take it apart once more to cover the linen with upholstery fabric.

The story of our upholstery fabric is an odd one, here is the short version.

Sometime in the 90's (!!) Rather than buy new furniture we decided to have it all reupholstered. Fast forward to 2010 when those same yards and yards of 4 different upholstery fabrics, having never made their way onto any of the original furniture pieces, were folded and stuffed into luggage to be used in Montegut!

The side pieces were re-stuffed with over sized down pillows in new cases and covered in linen prior to the upholstery fabric. Small lengths of foam were added to keep the down from shifting.

Here is the bottom cushion nearly finished. The chair in the background is another project... still a work in progress.

Next we were ready to move on to the back and side cushions. All three pieces, back and sides had cording to finish the visible edges.

Matching stripes proved to be only one of the challenges with this project! This photo shows how nicely those stripes all came together... whew!

And if you have thanks for reading!

Au revoir

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Our new Salon!

It is FINISHED! And we love this space. It's bright and clean with plenty of gathering room for friends and family. 

We have already enjoyed visits from Paul and Barbara then Tom and Tanya from California and Idaho respectively - so when will you book your trip? We are eagerly anticipating visits from 3 sets of friends in 2016. 

While Barry was plastering and painting I experimented with re-upholstering the canopy (sofa) you see below. Using stripes no less, not at all the best choice for a beginner! My next post will chronicle this and other upholstery challenges.

We moved the rugs from other rooms into the salon. Here are two Voltaire chairs, named for the famous author who - as the story is repeated- sat in this style chair as he wrote. I haven't tried it yet but perhaps I'll see if my writing improves.

We were invited to a private estate sale where we found the chairs as well as the sofa (above) and a few other pieces. The velvet on the chairs seem to be in good condition so I only had to polish the wood and vacuum the cushions.

We moved the table and chairs close to the windows to use as a multi-purpose table, so far it has been a dining table, game table and no-host bar!

You can also catch a glimpse of the armoire set in the alcove the to left of the fireplace. It was a perfect fit.

Say hello to our new coffee table, another of our "The Great Estate Sale Finds".... 1 euro! Serious cleaning and light sanding then a few coats of stain and our little pine and fir trunk now sporting bun feet becomes a member of the "family"

I particularly love the juxtaposition of formal furniture pieces with a bit of the unexpected element added - but it must be useful! This piece certainly fits that category.

This antique canopy was part of our estate find and it was love at first sight. We both walked into the room together and immediately went to this piece and sat down. At exactly the same time we both said "We'll take it!" Not that it was comfortable -it wasn't but that could be fixed, right? - but it was unique and the wood frame was gorgeous.

Several years ago we packed yards and yards of upholstery fabric and it has been perfect for many of our projects.

A slip-covered love seat completes the space. But naturally the room is a work in progress so stay tuned for changes!

And if you have thanks for reading

Au revoir!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Next Up; Windows and Doors!

The last bit of work to complete the salon would be to paint the window frames and interior side of the doors. At this point we decided to complete the re-do of the window at the upstairs landing.

The glass panes were in fair condition but the glazing compound was dry and crumbly. After sanding, replacing the glaze and priming the frames they were ready to paint! (Check the number of panes in this window - 4!)

We were feeling closer to a finished salon. 

Paint stations were set up and we were motivated to see the room completely finished!

Next came the interior side of the doors, we had attempted to remove the heavy oil based paint from the interior doors of the other bedroom upstairs with no luck. So again we opted to lightly sand the surface and apply a coat of paint.

When you see a man with a paint brush in each hand you have seen a Pro!

The temperature spiked (hence the shorts and bare feet!) which made the paint feel thicker and dry very fast. Day two found us beginning work much earlier in the morning.

Check back soon for the finished room photos.

And if you have thanks for reading.

Au revior!

Nearly finished with the Salon!

Barry has developed quite a successful technique for plastering. This is the 4th large room he has completed, not to mention the 30 foot high stairwell and it all looks great! 

What a difference a thin coat of plaster makes! The plastering was done on all 4 walls in just 3 days, then we waited a couple of days to make sure it was thoroughly dry prior to sanding.

But I don't want you to think it miraculously went from bad to good while we slept! The entire process is dirty and dusty from beginning to end, with a hefty dose of wet and sloppy.

Once the plaster dries the surface has to be sanded. Barry has tried both hand sanding and an orbital sander, so far the orbital sander produces the surface finish we like the best. But not without its problems!

I set up 2 oscillating fans in a feeble attempt to direct the plaster dust OUT the windows rather than into the other rooms. During this experiment a neighbor stopped for a visit and thought the house was on fire as it looked like smoke billowing out the windows. The dust won another round, finding its way into every room!

Now the primer coat of paint is applied! So fresh and clean, we love it and can't wait to move furniture into our new salon!

The window frames and this side of the doors can wait just a little longer.

And if you have thanks for reading!

Au revior