When I was 8 my parents purchased a plot of land in the southwest of France with the intention of building a house. It had been a dream of theirs for a few years to restore somewhere old, but after searching for some time, they were unable to find something suitable in their price range. They then moved onto the idea of building somewhere from scratch and began looking for plots of land.
The way my dad tells the story is that they looked at the price, looked at the incredible view, looked at each other and decided it was too good to say no to. They snapped it up in a few moments.
27 years later I remember that day as if it was yesterday. Whilst they talked details with the estate agent and admired the view over and over again, I walked around what seemed like a huge field, pulling out weeds the size of me and discarding them at the side of the land.
When my dad asked me what I was doing, I told him I was making a start on the weeding as I couldn’t play in a garden like that. I was quite disheartened when he told me the weeds would be twice the height by the time we returned.
For the next 12 years we travelled there for Easter and summer holidays to build my parent’s dream home, a home designed by my clever dad and just tweeked by an architect.
It was a family project. When I wasn’t entertaining my little brother, I mixed concrete, dug holes, planted trees, carried rocks, layed bricks and mortar and varnished all sorts of things. Once the exterior was complete, there was of course lots of interior projects to complete as well. I have always loved the orange and green theme chosen for the kitchen, so warm and it looks fantastic with the dark wood.
We were a team, led by my dad, the brains and skill behind this amazing project. A project we are all incredibly proud of.
When I was 21 my parents and younger brother moved to France to live. The view and the great red wine were calling.
It’s quite an incredible feeling to think that our little team built this house. We used to get asked all the time about it … “So when you say you are building a house, you mean someone is building it for you?” – Erm, no we are physically doing it ourselves, brick by painful brick.
In my early twenties I loved to watch programmes like Grand Designs and Build, Buy, Restore. I love the idea of building something to your own personal specification.
Have you ever had a desire to build your own home or restore something old?